Dealing with the general public, and businesses protecting themselves against the rogue element of them seems to be the hot topic this week. Earlier on today a friend of mine messaged me privately in pure frustration after being asked one of the most ridiculous things I have heard from a home owner in a very long time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whoever came up with the phrase “the customer is always right” needs a firm shaking!

Get rid of my data

This afternoon (Thursday 22nd August 2019 for those reading this later) a friend of mine messaged me to say that a home owner had asked him to remove all the data he had on them under GDPR rules. Problem was, this home owner had just placed an order for a door, which hadn’t even gone into production yet! It was explained to them that without the most basic information, such as address and telephone number, installing their door would be a struggle.

Bizarre is the most polite word to describe this. Who would order something, and then before the product is even made, ask for all your information to be deleted? Imagine ringing up a takeaway and asking for it to be delivered, and then saying to the restaurant to delete their phone number and address. How is the delivery driver going to know where to take it? Madness.

I said to my friend that if the home owner is being this difficult now, its better to cancel the order altogether before its even gone into product and save himself the stress. If they’re behaving like this now, imagine what they will be like during installation or after.

This is why I am running this poll on Twitter right now:

It should not be this hard in dealing with the general public. Yet, year after year it seems to get more and more difficult. When I joined this industry 14 years ago, it never seemed this hard to deal with the public. 14 years later, my mind boggles at the amount of safeguarding and protection we have to include in our contracts just to make sure any dodgy home owners can’t find a loophole to take advantage of. What a sad state of affairs.

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Rating a customer

I have brought up this idea before, but after hearing today’s story, I think its time to bring it up again. For those of you who have used Uber, you’ll know that as well as being able to rate your driver, your driver can rate you. This system allows customers to avoid drivers they might not get on with, and drivers to avoid customers they don’t fancy picking up. I think thats pretty fair, if one side can be rated, then its only fair the other side should be rated as well.

We don’t have that kind of system yet across other commercial industries, but I think given the power of the online review and rating system, its about time that changed. All online review platforms, Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor etc are all far too heavily weighted in favour of the consumer, with little to no protection for the business. We’re all aware, for example, of the number of fake reviews on sites like Amazon. How is this system fair to all sides?

I strongly believe that across all review systems, businesses should be able to rate customers. If companies could do such a thing, home owners might think again before being unreasonable or difficult for no reason, for fear of other companies seeing these reviews and refusing to deal with them in the future.

Right now we cannot rely on the appeals process from some of the biggest online review platforms. The process takes too long, its clunky and companies don’t always get the result the deserve in the end. That is why a mutual review system, where each side can review the other, will help balance the field and help prevent would-be rogue home owners from being a plain old pain in the backside!

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