Cliff's Plumbing & Heating
Heating and Cooling • PlumbingIs this your business?
This company came when nobody else would. I called 5 plumbers in 2 weeks, nobody else bothered to return my calls. Cliff’s showed up and did a great job. They get my vote and they will continue to get my business. Thank you and Merry Christmas to all the staff here!
Great company, easy to work with and very honest approach to repairs to the cottage plumbing. Highly recommend.
Customer relations is a complicated thing. People aren't numbers or monetary resources to be added to a balance sheet - if you want to grow a customer base for a small local business, it is done through a thousand personal relationships. Repeat business is worth more than a single billing cycle. I called Cliff's because my water heater was full of mineral scale, they hooked up a shop-vac to it and emptied out the scale and I paid my bill - however immediately after that it started to leak. I called them back a little while later and asked about the leak. They sent around the same guy and what looked like a trainee. They were here for like 3 minutes and put a cap on the heater drain. Now, we had spoken of them installing a new hot water heater for me, and I figured they were interested in that kind of repeat business because it would be a lot of money. But no, the bill came. $90 for the call, $4.55 for the hose cap - and an extra $25 for the kid who stood there and did nothing for the couple minutes it took them to walk into and then out of my house. It's that last charge that sealed it for me. I have been in customer relations for most of my professional career, and I've never seen a bill so ridiculous. "I fixed your thing in like 90 seconds, pay me, and oh, throw $25 to Bob over there..." Many of the most successful businesses these days are ones that give something away for free. It's a way to get a customer through the door in order for you to establish a business relationship with them and sell them your products. One of the easiest things to give away is a few minutes of your time - it costs very little, and is an investment into a future relationship. My local garage knows this, as when I bring my car in for something very small that only takes them a few minutes - loosening a wheel nut, for instance - they do it for free... because they know that I will come back when I need a job that will cost many hundreds of dollars. Customer relations is really about becoming another person in your customer's lives that they can trust for your specialty. I give the most money to these types of businesses. They give me a hand or do a small job for me here or there, and then when I need a $600+ repair, I hand over my card. If Cliff's had said, "hey, since it only took us a couple minutes, why not just give us $20 for the call, and then make a date for the new hot water heater install..." I would have done it. I didn't know how to do the install myself, and have a bad back anyway... and even though I would have been paying double by having them do it, they could have sold me. Not only would they have made hugely more money from me, but they would have established a basis for future business with me. As it was, they only agreed to remove the extra $25 charge from my bill after a bit of yelling on the phone from me. I paid the bill and then moved on. So they got a hundred out of me instead of a thousand, and no more future business. And they had the gall to tell me that they know how this sort of business is done. On the bright side, you can learn almost any plumbing related thing on Youtube! So thanks for that, I guess. With a bit of help from family, we were able to install our own hot water heater and save a ton of money. It's hard to learn your client's names and be a part of their lives. It's also hard to communicate effectively. It's a bit of a gamble to give a little away for free now in order to invest in a future return. It's easier to just treat everyone like "customer 1" and "customer 2" and bill everyone a flat rate... But nobody said it would be easy, and dealing with people gets exasperating. In my experience, not many have a natural gift of communication and professional relationship building - in those instances, perhaps hire an office manager who does; and that person can help with PR. Reputations are won and lost in the community through an aggregate of subjective customer experiences. Treat customers like friends, and they'll come back - and they'll even pay you more than the competition.