An Email String from an Audience Member: Helping to Solve a Problem with a Client

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to give the Keynote presentation at the Michigan Green Industry Association Meeting.  It was an absolute blast, and I’ve been able to keep in contact with some of the folks in my audience during that presentation.

Two months after the event, I received the following email from a landscape contractor in the audience:

HI Jason, 

I have a design/build I am involved in and the job has dragged along
because the mason subcontractor has yet (according to them) to get in
the bluestone that needed to be special ordered. Meanwhile my client
has had to live with construction looking site for 2 weeks longer than
they (and I) had thought they would. Today on during the phone
conversation the client asked us how we were going to make this up to
them. ( I can’t think of the word). I was kind of caught off guard by
the suggestion. I was planning on presenting them with a $100 gift
cert to a nice restaurant when the job is complete as my way to say
thank you for putting up with the delay, which I will still do, but
what would you do to make it up to them? How responsible are we for
circumstances beyond our control.

I appreciate any time and advice in advance if you are able/willing to
share.

After I got the email, I realized this was a classic example of a client having unclear expectations, and unclear communication about potential construction delays.  AND, after talking with this audience member on the phone, it was clearly not his issue, but actually an issue with the stone the CLIENT picked out.  The delay was expected, but they took some advantage of the situation (common) to get something for nothing.  After a short telephone call, and offering several solutions to resolve at the least possible cost, I asked the audience member to let me know how it turned out once he decided what to do, had the conversation with his client, and finished up on the job.  This was his reply this past week:

Hi Jason,

I hope you are well!

You gave me some advice on how to handle this situation and once the job was completed you asked me to update you on the results.

Your advice was spot on. Thank you! I upsized several plants and even gave them a couple of extra plants in the back. That coupled with our ability to complete a nice install helped us save face with this homeowner. They were completely appreciative of us going the extra lengths to make sure their project turned out very well. They paid in full, said they were appreciative with how we handled their concerns, said they would refer us and just recently signed up for $2000 of extras a few weeks after we were done and gone.

I appreciate your time and willingness to help me out on this. I can’t express how much it means to me that without even knowing me you took the time to help, thank you!!!!!

I wish you well as you continue to do the good work that you do. Not only will I take this lesson with me moving forward but I will also remember to use my knowledge and abilities to help someone when I have the opportunity.

Sincere Thanks and all the best!

Honestly, it’s email questions and then replies like this that put fuel in my tank.  I love helping people, and this audience member was no different.  His problem was HUGE to him, and relatively easy to navigate through, and he got $2,000 worth of extra work – well done!!!

What client situation are you put into that you don’t know the roadmap to get out of?

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