When Customers Call

This week’s post is taken from Thad Plumley’s EDITOR’S NOTE in this month’s edition of NGWA’s Water Well Journal. 
As a business owner, there’s no doubt that you can’t be everything to everybody. But as Thad reminds us, there’s a right way to handle those situations and a wrong way. 

When Customers Call, Show Off What You Do Best

I knew the life of my hot water tank was near its end when it began operating more like a mildly warm water tank.

I decided to call the company that installed it and jotted down the phone number from the sticker slapped on the tank by the installer 16 years ago.

That’s when things got strange.

I told the employee answering the phone that I was interested in getting information on the replacement of a hot water tank. His reply?

“We don’t do those this time of year.”

I paused because while I knew it was “air conditioner season” I assumed more detail had to be coming. And it was.


That was it. You’re not a big ticket, sir, see you later.

I know not all jobs are created equal, but c’mon! I was essentially told, “Call when it’s convenient for us.” Do people really act that way? In this economy?

Customer service is more critical than ever today. Phones don’t ring like they used to and e-mail inboxes don’t contain quote requests like a few years ago. So it’s a must that every time you’re contacted by a potential customer, you take it as an opportunity to show off what you and your company do best.

My call could have been handled so much better in so many ways.

For starters, the company could have gladly taken my business. I know, I know, crazy talk. But I was on the phone ready to spend money. Granted it was not air conditioner money, but a customer ready to write a check is a customer ready to write a check.

The company could have asked if I was a past customer. They could have a no-tank policy for cold calls while asking everyone if they are someone they have already done business with. When hearing I was a past customer, they could have worked me into their schedule. A “past customer is a customer for life policy” is a sound one.

I could have been referred to another company that the business has a friendly relationship with. Not all jobs are right for all companies, so from time to time a firm should work with another one on referrals—we’ll send ABC job calls your way if you send others to us for XYZ jobs.

Any of those options is whole lot better than “Sorry.”

Customer service can’t be taken for granted. Even if you seem busy today, you really don’t know when the next call is coming. Take every interaction with a customer as a chance to blow them away with great service so they will not think twice about calling you again.

Oh, and allow the calls to come any time of year.

One thought on “When Customers Call

  1. If he was an employee he should be fired. I would never stand for that kind of attitude what so ever.
    Big ticket or not the word spreads like fire.

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