Welcome to the start of a new mini-series of posts in which I will tell the tales of nightmare customers that I have had the pleasure in dealing with during my 14 years in the window and door industry.
It has been inspired purely through frustration at what seems to be a rising number of home owners who seem perfectly happy screwing over good installation companies for little to no reason.
So this is my way of making light of these frustrations, by turning them into little stories for you to enjoy and perhaps empathise with. I also want you to chip in with your own stories. You can either do this via the comments section, or, if you want your story featured in this series, please email me. I’ll explain more at the end.
“I have leaves in my gutter”
A few years back I sold new roofline products to a home owner. New soffits and fascias, new gutters, downpipes etc. Not a huge job, 3 bed semi-detached in a nice area. I got on well with the customer, the job went smooth enough, they paid, and that was the end of that. Job well done I thought.
A couple of years went by, until we were phoned by that customer to be told: “I have leaves and other stuff in my gutters, things are growing out of it and they’re blocked. What are you going to do about it?” For context, it wasn’t a particularly wooded part of the world. There were some trees fairly close by, but nothing significant.
You can imagine we raised an eyebrow at such a request. In as polite a way as I could, I said: “with respect, we’re going to do absolutely nothing.”
It had been a bit of a day, so perhaps such a blunt response wasn’t the best idea. But I was taken aback at what was a request to actually come clean their gutters.
They asked again if we were going to do anything about it. I said: “I’m sorry but we’re not responsible for the cleaning of your gutters. If you have a problem like a downpipe falling away, or gutters coming off, dry verge caps breaking, then of course we’d come out and sort it. But we’re not responsible for cleaning your gutters, so you’re going to have to do it yourself. Or hire the services of a professional company.”
I put the phone down. Was I really just asked if we were going to go and clean someone’g gutters because they couldn’t be arsed to do it themselves? Yes!
Imagine going into a supermarket and buying your food for the week, then ringing up that supermarket and saying “right, I’ve bought the food, when are you coming over to come and cook it for me?” Or you buy a car, and then take it back to the dealership after driving it for a few hundred miles to complain that its got dirty and that they should be cleaning it for you. It seems ludicrous to think that, but this was the case for me and my customer over the phone. It was the tone that struck me as well. I think they assumed that if they asked in the manner in which they did, we would drop everything that we’re doing and go and de-clog their mossy mess from the gutters.
Thats the bit that frustrates me. A certain portion of home owners think its OK to speak in a demanding, patronising tone to businesses when they believe they have a problem. It seems an odd way to start a conversation, considering you want help from that company. Naturally, if there is something genuinely wrong with products a company has installed, then that company should be going out to sort it. But there are on many occasions times where problems are not problems at all, such as this one, and home owners need to be put straight if they’re being out of order.
Now, to be fair, the example I have just given is pretty tame. I have some absolute belters up my sleeve for you in the run up to Christmas! But this is a taste of the kind of mini-series I am going to be doing. Its meant as a bit of fun at the end of the year. A chance for me to get off my chest some of the most absolutely ridiculous dealings with customers we have had at our place.
I also want you guys to be a part of this. I know a lot of you who read this are installers, and may well have similar stories to share with the DGB readership. So, this is how you can be part of this series.
You can either leave your thought and opinions on this or future stories via the comments section below. You can also leave your own stories in the comments section, but they may be lost in threads and timelines as more content gets published.
So, I welcome you to share your own stories via email. That way I can feature them on here as their own dedicated posts. If you’re going to share stories, I ask that you do not mention names, addresses, companies, or any other personal details. Simply tell me your story and how you dealt with the matter and I’ll post it within this mini-series.
Enjoy the therapy!
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