I had a customer in tears because of one of my subcontractors. He made promises he didn’t keep. He wouldn’t show up on the days he was supposed to work; and the days that he did work, he never started at the times he scheduled with her. And to make matters worse, he never called her or returned her calls when all of this was happening. This makes me look really bad because I recommended him to her. I resent it because I don’t do business this way and I can’t afford to lose any of my customers, but I’m afraid to turn him loose because he does very fine work and you never know what you’re going to get when you hire a new person. I’d like to knock him upside the head, but I have several other remodels he’s assisting me with. How do you think I should handle this?
Dear Subcontractor woes:
I understand the importance of having a subcontractor that does high quality work, but this guy’s unprofessional behavior significantly dilutes the power of that. Bottom line, his competence does not excuse what he did to your customer. And as you realize, his bad behavior is not only a negative reflection on himself but on you as well since you recommended him. It could easily cost you future business with this customer and any referrals she may have intended to make. I suggest you have a no nonsense conversation with this subcontractor. Let him know in no uncertain terms your expectations. If he does not change his ways after this discussion, cut your losses and find a new subcontractor. Before hiring anyone else, not only check out their work but ask for customer and prime contractor references. Best of luck!
There are twelve of us in our office. Although each of has our own phone, we don’t have our own unique numbers. We have one main number for people to call in order to reach any of us. We have an administrative person whose main duty is to answer the phone among other things, and we have a person who serves as her back-up. But, inevitably, there are times when neither of them can answer it, so the rest of us are supposed to pick it up. I don’t have a problem with our system, even though I’d love to have my own line. What burns me up and my colleagues are the handful of people who refuse to pick up the phone. They think it’s beneath them to carry out this administrative task.
Even more aggravating are the times when it’s obvious (Caller-ID) that a call is for one of these people and they still refuse to answer it. Our Executive Director typically keeps her head in the sand; she loathes having to deal with any conflict. And these people are incredibly unapproachable; otherwise, I would have already handled it.
Just pick up the phone
Dear Just pick up the phone:
Such arrogant, inconsiderate behavior can have a significant impact on a small office. I suggest you and at least a couple of your like-minded colleagues have a frank but respectful discussion with the Executive Director, requesting that she address the issue. Without making it personal, be sure to explain how your colleagues’ behavior is affecting the office’s morale and productivity. In such a small office, the ED has the ability to improve this situation by letting it be known what will and will not be tolerated.
© 2011 Rozanne R. Worrell