Over the years as technology has taken over, I think we have become lazier. We are inclined to send texts and Whatsapp messages instead of calling. Sometimes it’s convenient; sometimes it’s not.

I am guilty of this and feel that in some instances, we hide behind the text instead of speaking. This week I wanted to follow up with a prospective client and was going to send a text but at the last minute, decided to call him. I wanted to send a text because it was more comfortable, and I was unsure of their decision.

Onto my story: with our family property, we needed an electrical certificate which is a legal requirement since July 2020.

An electrician was recommended to me by one of the Estate Agents. He visited on the 3rd August and said it had failed the tests and needed some remedial work to be done and he would send an estimate. Since then, silence.

I called on the 18th – fifteen days later, and he said he has been busy with builders at his own home (of which I was not interested) and that he would get the estimate to me by the following morning.

True to his word, he did – by text. “Apologies for the delay. To complete the job and to issue the certification will cost £350.00. This includes parts and labour.

When I asked for evidence of the failure certificate, which is why he went there in the first place, he said, “to keep costs down; I haven’t done a failure certificate if you require one it will cost £100.00.”

I’m not sure who sent him the memo to say I wanted to keep my costs down and for him to make that decision, but this was not going to end well.

Is this the new standard in the level of service that is acceptable, where a text replaces a quote?

Admittedly, there are instances where a quote by text is sufficient. We have a family plumber/handyman who has been with the family for more 25 years, and a quick text is adequate.

But the point is this how can we deliver a service that is respectful and builds a long term relationship based on respect and value?

I thought of a few:
1) Go the extra mile and let the customer see and feel it.
2) Be transparent in all that you do.
3) Don’t make assumptions about what your client can and cannot afford – let them decide.
4) Be professional and don’t provide shortcuts, as this can be a reflection of the standard of your work.
5) Don’t make excuses.
6) Respect the referrals you receive. He did not have to do any marketing to get this lead, and as we know word of mouth is the best and most effective way to promote business, but his attitude has destroyed the lifetime value of a new customer.

Until we meet.