Think back to the last time you had a service company over at your home to do work. I’ll bet you’re like most people I talk with who seem overjoyed to talk through the fiery details about their hellacious contractor experiences where hopes for good services are incinerated by severely, underwhelming contractors who still somehow render work for top dollar.
Unfortunately, many of us have similar stories to share when it comes to less than stellar service experiences. Our dismal experience with service provides can be boiled down to a lack of two characteristics: passion and care. In my most humble of opinions the reason why we experience poor service is because those providing it fall short in the areas of being passionate about what they do and caring to deliver a great experience. I thought I would forever be in the service abyss until two guys from a mobile window screen company completely changed my perspective on what’s possible.
My wife and I recently decided to finally deal with some house repairs we’ve been putting off for a couple years and without a referral went online to find some help. I, my typical skeptical self, wasn’t expecting anything special. Frankly, I just hoped they would actually show up and not break anything in the process. Yes, we’ve experienced much of this in the past. Were we doomed to be saddled with lackluster help? I certainly thought so.
Until these two guys showed up!
Tony and Saul of T&S Mobile Screen Services arrived on the scene ready to up the ante and deliver a service I’m still trying to comprehend in all of its majestic glory. I’m writing this article because it needs to be said and perhaps recognized that good service DOES still exist in the world. I also own a services business myself that was started primarily because of this very issue – there seem to be endless companies offering bleak services which fall short of delivering a ‘Wow Factor’. That said, as a quick disclaimer, I’m not an employee of T&S, this isn’t a paid advertisement nor was I asked to write this. I’m simply just a happy customer wanting to share a good word about a great small business.
So, what did T&S Mobile Screen Services do which made such a phenomenal impact on us? Let’s go through the experience start to finish:
The guys at T&S Mobile Screen Service put on a class on how to run a business that produces both great results and customer experiences. These guys should get a freakin Emmy Award for their performance!
As the day went on I couldn’t stop thinking about the experience. For Tony and Saul it may have just been another job and another satisfied customer but for me it was something altogether quite different. It changed my entire mindset about what’s possible. Now that I’ve experienced this type of service, something akin to a Nordstrom’s experience – maybe even better, I now know this type of experience with contractors and service professionals is possible. What it really comes down to is being passionate about what you do (whatever that may be) and caring enough to put in a great effort. Since then I’ve probably told a half dozen people this story, my father and I have now done a podcast on it and I’m writing this article you’re reading now. If that doesn’t tell you the power of good service I don’t know what to say other than this…
I would happily pay good money to have more experiences like this with service providers and contractors who are passionate about their craft and care to leave a positive lasting impression. Thanks again to Tony and Saul from T&S Mobile Screen Services, you guys made me a customer for life.
“They gave us world class, but all we needed was the basics.”
Last week I was speaking with a VP of Quality at a small medical device company at which point he politely complained to me about a recent experience he had with a consultant their company brought onboard. The company was implementing a new online quality management system (QMS) and was utilizing this consultant to get it up and running.
The VP shared with me his irritation about how the consultant came in and took on the project as an expert in the field. The consultant had done many QMS implementations prior and came with good recommendations of his work. As the conversation went on the VP share further irritation about his experience working with the consultant. He brought in an expert to do a job that was rather straight forward yet that’s not what the company got in the end. Unfortunately, the consultant failed to understand one of the most important aspects of his job – understand the needs of the customer and implement accordingly.
“We’re a small company, we don’t need all the bells and whistles right now [from a QMS system]. We just need a system that keeps us in compliance while making things easier from a process flow standpoint.”
The VP was sharing with me a painful experience he was having as a result of someone doing work for him and not understanding what was actually needed in the moment to be successful on that project.
Sometimes what’s needed is the basics, not world class. The key is knowing when each of these is appropriate.
All to often we show up to a project or work with the idea we’re going to dress up the proverbial pig ready for a fancy night out on the town. This pig of ours is going to look amazing, amazing because of the work we did to get it there. However, we end up missing the mark because we don’t bother to ask the right questions along the way. If we had bothered to ask the right questions to understand what was truly needed by the company and the key stakeholders we may find out the ‘pig’ just needs a new pair of shoes, not a whole wardrobe change.
Here’s how this played out in the scenario above with my client and VP…
Here’s the rub on the situation.
If the consultant had bothered to ask the vital question of their client upfront “What does ‘success’ looks like at the end of the project?” he would have found out the client needed a practical QMS which met the basic needs of their product and regulatory requirements yet did not need a lot of the fancy bells and whistles larger companies utilize with their QMS.
Basically, this small medical device company needed a QMS that was straightforward, basic yet allowed them to upgrade their company to meet the regulatory requirements for their product. The client wanted a no frills, basic system yet what they got was a world class system they’ll probably never fully utilize.
Don’t assume your work or project requires you to put forth world class service. Sometimes ‘good enough’ is all that’s needed. Knowing the different between ‘good enough’ and world class work outputs is a vital skill to develop and implement in your career.
Before you begin your next project at work think to yourself “what’s really needed here? The basics or something more?”. Then actually go ask the key stakeholder in charge. Doing this shows an ability to think big picture with an appreciation for what’s best for the company, not what’s best to make you look good as a result of the work you can do.
About the Author
Travis Smith is the founder and managing director of Square-1 Engineering, a life sciences consulting firm, providing end to end technical project services to companies which design, develop and or manufacture products in Southern California. He successfully served the life sciences marketplace in SoCal for over 15 years specializing in engineering services, consulting, project outsourcing and leadership development. In 2019 he was recognized as a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce as a top leader in Orange County, CA.