What is about the industries that supply our construction and home improvement needs?

How can they persistently flout the golden rule of business and not only survive in business but even thrive?

Perhaps it’s the laws of supply and demand, but how can they deliver such poor service? It boggles the mind.

I realise I’m tarring vast swathes of society with the same brush, but, taken together, these folks commit so many don’t dos it’s unbelievable. They don’t return calls. They don’t come by when they say they will. They don’t send in a quote when they say they will. They deliver stuff that’s at variance with what they quoted. And they never, ever finish the job when the say they will, preferring to keep a number of jobs on the go at the same time and underdelivering to all their exasperated customers in one go.

The golden rule of business is always respect your customer. Always. If the relationship turns out to be grossly unequal and they are totally unreasonable, then by all means sack them as a customer, but otherwise they deserve your respect and your fullest attention.

They’re four times more likely to buy from you again – even if they provide something you only need a few times a lifetime, so you do the math. And if you give crap service, they’re three times more likely to tell people about it. And, with online customer reviews so easy to give on suppliers’ sites or via customer review platforms like Trustpilot it’s going to get ugly for you really early.

Companies that don’t respect the customer usually get found out. Maybe it’s the fact that for us home dwellers we’re served by fragmented industries full of sole operators, but these guys collectively show no signs of being found out. We don’t have the time to go and get certified to do our own complex DIY projects. Instead, we concentrate all our efforts along with all the other customers on the tiny majority that are trustworthy.

If I came back as one of these people in another life, my competitive strategy would be simple:

We always call back.

We turn up when we say we will.

We are on time, on brief, and on quote.

Customers will always pay a modest premium for that kind of service. Easy. And just think of the schadenfreude you would get wiping out the competition, or forcing them to participate in a race to the bottom or else making them improve how they treat their customers.