How to do it… and how not to

We are going through a time where, unhappily, a number of things around the house are breaking down, requiring bringing people in to repair them.  Those repair people are, of course, part of small businesses if not the owners themselves.  How they handle not just the repair but also the interaction with the customer says a lot and can make or break a future relationship.  Here are two examples, one good and one bad.

The bad first.  One of the two air conditioners in the kennel has gone out.  It’s in the wall about seven feet off the floor.  We brought someone in to make sure that it wasn’t a loss of coolant, a bad thermostat or something relatively easy to take care of.  He told us 1) that the compressor was shot, 2) that only brand-authorized repairmen carried that compressor for that brand and 3) asked if it was under warranty.  We called the service number for the brand.  Yes, our AC was still under warranty and to call a local repair outfit, the phone number for which they provided. 

I called and asked for service the next day as early in the morning as possible.  “We’ll have someone there by noon,” they replied.  Not what I wanted, but it would have to do.  Noon rolls around and no one has called or shown up.  I call again to ask.  Soon, I am told.  At 4:30 a repairman shows up.  I take him out to see the corpus delecti.  He indifferently mumbles that the compressor is indeed out and it will take a few days to order a new one.  And, oh, we have to get the AC out of the cabinet; they won’t do it.  It’s seven feet off the floor and impossible to remove; we still don’t have it out.  Now, if I wanted to get a new air conditioner, or if I wanted service on the other one, am I going to call that business ever again?  Not on your nelly!

Now the good.  We get our water from a well and we were losing pressure.  Considering that 2011 was one of the worst years for drought, my instant concern was that our well had run dry.  It was 5:30 in the afternoon when I called a local water well service and the owner answered.  He told me first to cut the breaker to the pump, then to open up the box with the electrical connections and brush it out thoroughly.  That did the trick:  when I reset the breaker the pump started up and the tank filled.  I profusely thanked him and asked if he wouldn’t mind coming out anyway in the morning.

He arrived early, inspected the well head, carefully explained how it all worked, reassured me that the well wasn’t going to run dry, that no one’s had and that would take several years of drought upstate for that to happen.  He told me how to hook up a generator to the well head in case of a prolonged power outage and how large of one we’d need.  He checked the pressure swich and replaced it so that the gap between a low and a full tank was 20 psi instead of the 40 psi we now had.  Though he was a busy man – he was interrupted a number of times by calls – he took his time to make sure that everything was in good order.  In short and in sum, he left a satisfied and reassured customer.  Now, if we have any further problems with the well, am I going to call him for service?  Absolutely!

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