Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Taking Notes From a Plumber

I just had a great experience with. . .a plumber! Yes, that is right, a plumber. And I paid $680. How is that. Well, I took notes. Not on his plumbing technique, but on how the business was run. Terrific from first contact to last. Let me tell you about.

We have a leaky pipe in the basement of our house. Though we have a contract with a plumbing service for our boiler and AC, I forgot their name and did not feel like looking it up. Plus, this pipe would not be a "covered" service anyway. As I was about to blow off the whole thing for another day, my wife handed me my 5 month old and a flier from a plumbing company. I get tons of these things, but timing is everything, right. I looked at it and liked the message: on-time service, up-front pricing, no surprise or hidden costs, all credit cards accepted, all work guaranteed in writing for 1 year (that's hell of a global), and a coupon. On the bottom of the flier was their phone number, clearly visible. I called—7:15AM—and, voila, they answered. Sold!

Over the phone, the receptionist had a friendly voice and she offered me a number of scheduling options, that day, or any other day. She had one of those great phone voiced that makes you feel like she is on your side. I should have offered her a job. Anyway, I took an appointment for the following morning, between 8 and 10AM.

At 8:30AM, the plumber arrived. He parked his truck so to not block my car, and when he entered the house, he had his own door mat with him. Nice: makes for good style points. I showed him the problem, along with several others that have been lingering, and after an inspection he came up with a solution, a guaranteed price, and the 1 year guarantee on the work. Plus, he turned off some pipes to the outside, gratis, and wore shoe covers so he would not dirty the rug. Again, nice style points and demonstrated that he was on my side and cared about details.

The work was completed quickly, but not too quickly. He made a soft up-sell on some biological cleaner, and I declined, and here's the kicker: when it came time for payment, we completed the transaction with a mobile, cellular credit card processor. Payment to him guaranteed. No accounts receivable. Not only relatively painless to me, a technological talking point.

Lessons for the doctor.

1: Answer the phones.

2: Hire excellent phone personnel and train them well.

3: Make the patient know that we are on their side.

4: Embrace technological advancements, especially when it comes to accounts receivable.

5: Attend to the details. They really matter.

Anyway, thanks for listening and if you want their number, send me an email.

The IU.