It’s About Time

Sometimes I reflect about what life must have been like for our forefathers who lived in an era before automobiles, airplanes, telephones and all the other technological wonders that we take for granted. Journeys that we measure in hours took them days, what takes us days took them weeks or even months. If you traveled even a few hundred miles from your home, months could go by without hearing about news of loved ones. You couldn’t even know if persons close to you were alive or dead, and it was common to return from a long trip to learn that a parent, sibling or friend had passed away. People back then must have had a different perception of time than we do nowadays, because everything moved slower.

Fast forward to today. Life has never been more hectic. Despite so many labor- and time-saving devices, we seem busier than ever. No matter how fast we move and how productive we are, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to do all that we need or want to get done. That’s why various plumbing industry surveys have shown that one of the things home owners dislike most about service companies is not knowing when someone will show up – or even whether they will show up.

A century ago most plumbers made their calls in horse-drawn wagons. Most days they could not handle more than one or two jobs. Of course, back then a lot of homes still did not have indoor plumbing, so that was probably sufficient. All I know is that today’s home owners demand a lot faster service than the plumbers of yesteryear could provide, or even most plumbing companies of today.

I don’t blame today’s home owners for being impatient. If you are working people, a plumber’s visit may require taking time off from work and for some of you that means losing pay. Even stay-at-homes have busy schedules and hate to sit around for hours waiting for the doorbell to ring. A common practice among home repair companies is to promise the service within a 4-hour window, either morning or afternoon. Even that timetable often gets violated.

Dutton Plumbing doesn’t have a magical solution to this problem. Our technicians get caught up in traffic jams and delays just like everyone else. Sometimes they run into complicated repairs that take an entire day to complete.

Nonetheless, thanks to our large fleet of service vehicles, highly capable technicians and a sophisticated computerized dispatching system, we are able to get a technician to your door within an hour on 90% of our service calls. This isn’t easy to do, and 10% of the time we find it impossible. When we do get delayed beyond an hour our customer service staff will call you with an updated estimate of arrival time. It should be noted that our Family Plan service agreement customers get priority when it comes to scheduling. Their chances of being serviced quickly are better than that of customers who are not part of our Family Plan.

In contrast with plumbing companies that charge by the hour, Dutton’s job pricing means that quick service is just as much in our interest as yours. We lose money if we waste time lingering on a job or take a lot of time traveling between jobs. Fast service is a win-win for us and for you.

Another reason we are able to respond quicker than most service companies is that our customer service representatives, dispatchers and other inside staffers are trained to operate efficiently with written instructions for various routine procedures. Without written procedures, a lot of time gets wasted trying to figure out what to do when certain situations arise.

We also stress eliminating mistakes. Mistakes are the biggest time killer of all. One industry study that I’m familiar with found that a mistake anywhere in the order process generated an average of seven phone calls trying to get things straightened out. Think of how long it takes to complete seven phone calls. Think of how much time you have wasted throughout your life arguing with companies over mistakes they made. That is time completely wasted.

Like many of you, sometimes I wish life would slow down to a more relaxed pace. Instead, the modern world seems to constantly speed things up. So we will continue to try to accommodate you with technologies and techniques that waste as little time as possible.

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