So this is my new work truck, wave if you see me. Up until yesterday it was just a black Toyota Tacoma, now it is part of the Alair fleet. I made an appointment to have the decals applied at 9:00 am and arrived promptly at 8:58 am.
I talked briefly with the company owner and he assured me my truck would look great. I asked how long it would take, he tells me two and half hours. My good friend picks me up and we go for breakfast and proceed to meet with some potential suppliers. She drops me off at 12:38 pm, a full 3 hours and 40 minutes, gave them an extra hour. I am all excited to see my new decked out Alair truck all shiny and ready to proudly parade around Langley.
Sigh, I discover my truck, sitting in the lot, still looking like any other black Tacoma. So I go in and kindly ask what is the deal? The owner is not there, and the guy that is, is an making some excuse about the file being wrong, that I don’t understand or really care about. The guy says he will start now and goes about dropping another client’s work to do mine. I ask how long he will be and he says 90 minutes. My ride has left and I have to pick my kids up from school just after 2:00. So I grab my keys and walk out. He chases me down and asks if I can bring the truck back later…
Most any service business can fair pretty well if things go according to plan. Businesses and I would say people in general, are defined by the way they handle adversity. This company was not doing well. Alair Homes sells franchises, I too was sceptical at first, but obviously they convinced me. What isn’t told is roughly 1 in 300 get through their screening process before they are offered the opportunity to buy a franchise. Alair is serious about client service and as such all Alair partners are pro in client service. This, at least in my case, makes me sensitive to others lapses in that regard.
So as I drive away I am thinking, why didn’t they call me,? Why are they telling me their problems? Do they not even understand how badly they dropped the ball?
I will spare you all the details, I am a forgiving type and when the owner offered to come over to my house in the evening and knock $100 off the price. I accepted. I suggested he check out the following technique that I have used for years and was delighted when our company president Blair suggested in training: LATTE (there are a few variations) and the order must be followed.
L is for listen, listen to how the clients perceives the situation.
A is for acknowledge, acknowledge and validate their feelings and show that you
have heard their concerns and completely understand them.
T is take action, turn the negative into a positive for the client.
T is for thanking the client, mistakes are always learning opportunities and their
pain is (if you learn the lesson) your long term gain, be grateful and thank them with sincerity for that. You can even explain your take away from the situation if you have figured it out.
E is for explain, this is where people often start, this is where the vehicle wrap
employee started. I often only give an explanation if they ask for it. The client may or may not care.
At Alair we have used the vast experience of our partners and the industry ‘learning opportunities’ to shape our practices. We have the plan to make the process of renovation or custom building to proceed in as smoothly as we can, and we are constantly embracing any new ‘learning opportunities’ that come up and adjust our system as needed. Living better starts here.