Like any other small business, at REE-Construction we believe we not only talk the talk of providing our customers with the best product available in our market area, we also like to believe we walk the walk as well. And like any other small business we have to be careful that we don’t just listen to the comments we want to hear and be seduced into believing our own propaganda rather than getting honest feedback about what our client’s experience is really like.
Damage restoration is an interesting choice of vocations in a number of ways. Its great when we are viewed as the heroes as we show up at the scene and start to restore order to chaos. Each day that goes by between the day the disaster happened and we made our triumphant entry until that last piece of trim or the last bric-a-brac is on the newly cleaned shelf is one more day that disruption from the the unplanned remodel intrudes on a client’s lifestyle. We have to work hard to make sure the big “S” on our chests that stood for Superman on the first day doesn’t morph into a big a “S” for Scorned over time. To accomplish this we strive to be quick, competent, appropriate and complete in all we do at all times.
We have recently teamed up with a group called Guild Quality to help keep us on the straight and narrow of quality work and customer service. After a project is complete Guild contacts our clients by email, regular mail and telephone and asks them to “debrief” about their experience with us. They ask for the good, the bad and the ugly. We find that when a third party asks, we may get a little more candid response than if we ask ourselves. This is probably because our clients are too polite to tell us directly about what we might have done that didn’t meet their expectations.
We have accepted the fact that there may be bumps in the road on projects from time to time. We review these responses to look for areas where we can improve our performance and continue to make molehills out of mountains.
We post comments on our webpages (look to the left) as well as out Twitter account (@wehot) as they come in and give access to anyone visiting the page a chance to look at our overall customer satisfaction rate by clicking on the Guild Quality link. Giving anyone a chance to look at what our customers really think keeps us on our toes. We hope that translates into added confidence in our ability to come to your rescue, just in case you need a Superman to stop by sometime.
Haven’t stirred the pot lately, so I think I’ll take a chance on some commentary today, rather than technical stuff about restoring damaged property.
A few years ago my daughter was involved in a fender bender out of state. I went to my local agent of many years and told him/her that I wanted to file a claim and the response they gave me was “call the 800 number”. I explained that I didn’t really want to “call the 800 number”-but after repeated requests I was told in no uncertain terms to “call the 800 number, it will just be a lot easier”. Each time the phrase “call the 800 number” left his/her lips, he/she could just as easily have said “call the 800-I don’t give a damn number”. I would have felt much the same way about our relationship.
We changed policies and companies and agents the next renewal.
I can’t understand why any agent would ever tell one of their customers to “call the 800 number”. Insurance companies that train their customers to “call the 800″ number for a claim are just training them to “call the 800 number” to buy a policy. Some insurers are even becoming schizophrenic, establishing a separate “call the 800 number” company to purchase insurance while still maintaining their agent network (for just a little a while longer?) How on earth does an insurer spin that as we care about our agents at the company picnic?
A claim is when an agent gets to shine. They get to hold their client’s hand, they get to touch their client, they get to show they care, they get to recommend a local service company (auto repair or maybe restoration contractor) that proves their knowledge and value as a trusted advisor. Even if their involvement is really only symbolic it gives them a chance to connect with their bread and butter. I think if I were an agent, I’d try and get the settlement check(s) sent to me so I could put it in my client’s hand.
A claim is not only an opportunity to cement the renewal. It should also signal open season on referrals with no bag limit.
Or it can be the opportunity to look up from playing games on the computer and tell their clients to “call the 800 number,’cuz its just easier.”
A water damage that originates from a clean water source doesn’t just happen. The damage is a progressive and opportunities exist in the first few minutes, the first few hours and other opportunities exist in the first few days to limit the extent of the damage.
Depending on the temperature, the materials that have gotten wet and the other factors like the remnants from a previous water damage; sometime about the second day the typical water damage will start to take a turn for the worse if not addressed correctly. This isn’t just a matter of building materials and personal property swelling and coming apart from water acting as a solvent. Now we start to see the effects of little microbial critters that are always present in the environment as they start to do their own dirty work; reproducing and beginning to break down the organic material. Don’t blame them, it’s their job.
Of course, various molds can begin to grow. Aspergillus and penicillium are two common molds that begin to develop colonies in 24-48 hours. Environmental bacteria can also multiply in a wet environment in about the same amount time. When that wet [carpet, sheetrock, clothing, etc.] starts to smell, it means that the little nasties are partying hard; eating, reproducing and giving off microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC’s) into the air . (Microbes are notoriously ill mannered-even with no finger to pull).
A “simple” water damage can turn into a much more complicated matter when allowed to ripen without being addressed. Deciding that the swollen laminate floor comes up and is replaced is much easy to agree on rather than sorting out whether there is coverage to address the microbial growth, what affect it might have on the building occupants, what needs to be done, how it will be done, how it will be verified and what the ramifications are if it isn’t done . Reasonably prompt and appropriate action makes all those molehills go away before they become mountains.
The building doesn’t have to be dry to limit a microbial rave from happening, it just needs to be drying at a pace sufficient to inhibit microbial party goers from getting out of hand. A competent restorer can insure that happens-if they are called in to start the process in a timely manner.