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Home Inspector Edition.
Successful Risk Management Strategies
By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop & Associates Ltd.
It is appropriate for this topic to start with a disclaimer. Writing technical articles is easy. There is research that can be done, and technical issues are anchored in physics and building science. Writing about complaints is more challenging. There is little authoritative material and we are dealing with the art of human relations rather than science. As a result, there are no definitive answers on the topic. Our goal here is to make you think. We encourage you to challenge everything presented in this article and to take away any of the pieces that work for you.
There is no right or wrong, but you should decide on your approach before you are in the midst of a complaint and emotion takes over.
kinds of issues
We find the white and black issues are straightforward to deal with. The difficult ones are the gray issues, because the inspector and client may feel strongly and very differently about an issue. We find that about 10 percent of our complaints are white issues, 10 percent are black issues and 80 percent are gray issues. Nobody said it was easy!
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Handling complaints – Important Skill
About two months later, we were surprised to get a phone call from the client’s attorney. He called to book a home inspection and said that the reason he chose Carson Dunlop was the prompt, professional and straightforward manner with which we handled his client’s complaint. That attorney has been a source of referral business ever since.
Most of us have seen what a hostile media can do to home inspectors. A dissatisfied client can be the catalyst for devastating news coverage and public humiliation on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Complaints are also a way to build your business by improving your service. We learn something from almost every complaint, whether or not we make a mistake. The secret is to apply the learning to future work. Everyone makes mistakes. Successful people do not repeat their mistakes.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Using Complaints to Build Business?
* 99 percent of clients who have a bad experience will not complain. This means that you don’t know about a problem and don’t have a chance to make it right.
* 91 percent of clients who have had a bad experience will neither use the firm again nor recommend it to others. This does not help in building your business by referral.
* The average dissatisfied customer tells ten (10) others about their unhappy experience.
* The average satisfied customer only tells two (2) others about their good experience.
* Nine out of ten clients (90%) will come back to use the firm again if the complaint is resolved to their satisfaction.
Perhaps more importantly, this same group will tell five (5) others, on average, about their good experience with the firm.
In a perverse way, you can create more positive feedback with clients who have had a problem resolved than with clients who were satisfied from the outset! We will stop short of advising you to generate complaints so you can resolve them, but this should help make you more enthusiastic about resolving them.
Other Results of Complaints
-Consume your time
-Change your attitude toward customer service
- Make you a more defensive home inspector
- Make it more difficult to get affordable insurance
- Increase your stress and reduce your satisfaction
We hope that we have convinced you of the benefits of handling complaints effectively. In future articles we will discuss avoiding complaints, receiving complaints, performing revisits and resolving complaints. The goal is to give readers suggestions for handling each of these steps of the process.
About the Author
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