3 Benefits of Customers Declining Work


Steve Kiernan
Co-Founder & CEO
February 28, 2018
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. Offer Opinions - If you believe it will be better for the customer to get a replacement, and you don’t feel comfortable with just a fix, let them know. You are allowed to be proud of every job you complete, and you can give customers the ultimatum that you won’t do the quick fix they ask.
  2. Keep Notes - Make sure you know which customers declined work from you. If you know the quick fix they’ll get the next guy to do won’t last more than 6 months, you’ll want to remember what you specifically offered.
  3. Follow Up - You remember the work the customer declined, and you can call them up and ask if they would like another quote. This will show initiative, and this time you can do the job right, once they’re ready.

Nobody likes to hear "No" from a customer.

When you've made a significant investment of time and effort to explain and present great options only to have the customer tell you that they just want the quick and inexpensive fix, it can be easy to take the work you've done, crumple it up and "circular file" it.

A better option is to get your customers and prospects to actively decline work you've suggested. Here are three reasons why.

1. Let the Customer Know your Opinion

You're a professional and your opinion counts. Nobody wants to feel pressured into a sale, but asking a customer to actively decline work means you are asking them to acknowledge your expertise and their decision to ignore it.

It also affords you the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the issue and may get the homeowner to think about the bigger picture. At the very least, it should help your team develop a stronger relationship with your customers.

2. Generate Sales During the Slow Season

If you've recorded declined work, you always have a qualified lead list available to you. When business slows down, start by reviewing work where no work was done and follow-up with these customers to find out if they made another decision or are open to reconsidering.

Then, look at jobs where you did the quick fix and reach out to see how it's working out and if the customer would be interested in having you put in long-term replacement to prevent another emergency visit in the next year. In either case, you can use the incentive of a discount to get your workers on a job generating revenue.

3. Tracking Declined Work is an Insurance Policy

When a customer says "No" to a recommended option, getting acknowledgement that they've rejected the option can come in handy later on if the customer is unsatisfied with the outcome of the work. We all understand that budget constraints sometimes mean that a customer can't make "the best" decision.

We also know that no matter how well we believe we've set expectations with a customer, there is always room for confusion and a few customers will try and take advantage of that when something goes wrong. Having a signature on a clearly defined proposal that you can put back in front of the customer puts the odds in your favor.

When used properly, recording that a customer declined recommended work can be a powerful tool. It can be used to strengthen customer relationships, as a way to generate leads and as a insurance policy in the event of customer dissatisfaction.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

Pass Along these Points

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