Angie's List: Be a Better Customer

Published 12/31 2013 12:36PM

Updated 12/31 2013 06:36PM

The service providers on Angie’s List who earn A reports get the basics right: They return calls and emails promptly, show up to appointments on time, do what they say they will, communicate clearly and listen well.

But there are two sides to every relationship.

At Angie’s List, we read stories all the time about how hard it is to find someone who gives good customer service, being a good customer is your responsibility.

The best customers are:
Willing to take suggestions
Excited about their project
Aware of what they want
Know their budget
Keeping communication open and asking good questions

Are you a conscientious consumer? Angie’s List says ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. Are you responsive? When you’re evaluating several companies before selecting one, make sure to inform everyone about where you are in the hiring process. At the very least, let the unsuccessful bidders know when you’ve made your choice. Don’t worry that you’re offending them. It’s much more polite to give service providers the information they need to move on and not waste time in the belief they’re still in the running for a job. Consider also providing them details they could use to improve their odds of getting the next project.
2. Do you clearly state your expectations? Service providers aren’t mind readers. If there are things you want, or rules you want followed, say so. Do you want workers to use a particular bathroom and not another? Do you want your driveway left clear? Being specific at the start of a project reduces the odds that you’ll have to have awkward conversations later.
3. Do you know that change orders have consequences? A detailed contract creates satisfying contractor-customer relationships. Even the best laid plans change, however. If you want to alter the original agreement, be sure to discuss it with your service provider and get a clear understanding of how job changes affect timeframe and cost.
4. Do you mind your manners? The interaction between contractors and consumers is, in many ways, a negotiation. After all, there’s often a lot at stake. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be cordial. If you hire top-rated pros but find that you repeatedly experience a lot of conflict, examine whether you’re treating them the way you’d like to be treated. If you haven’t always practiced the Golden Rule, this is your golden opportunity to make a New Year’s resolution to show courtesy and all those other virtues you learned in kindergarten.
5. Do you give praise when it’s due? Around the holiday season, many people provide gifts or cash tips to service providers they regularly use, such as housecleaners, handymen and hair stylists. These treats have their place, but their impact may pale when compared to the power a positive online review can have on a company’s ability to build and maintain clientele. If a particular employee impressed you, considering naming them in your review, or sending a letter about them to the company.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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