The worst customer service ever.
I recently sent out an email to numerous building inspectors in the Perth area with basic questions about their qualifications, general pricing and if they had insurance, etc. This allowed me to sort through who was suitable for our needs before providing a site address or any plans.
One particular inspector, [name removed] (pcmconcepts.com.au), replied with what seemed a genuine response and quickly moved to the top of our selection list. My only concern was that he said he was away in China doing the work-arounds, so I emailed him asking if he had many travel plans booked for the next 12 months as my concern was that he may not be around to complete our contract or be available if we required his services. His response was to say the very least, rude and unprofessional. I would say to anyone who is wanting to acquire his services be very careful. Make sure you call him, never email him; I would be mindful of his overseas commitments as it seemed to be a very touchy subject, hence I think he is not in Perth as much as he probably needs to be if he is taking on new home building inspections. His emails are below:
Email 1: Everyone has to take time off at some stage; I assume that even you occasionally are not in Perth. I do not advise people of my travel plans and I would not ask the same of you. To be honest, if you are asking these sorts of questions, you obviously have concerns about engagement of my company and perhaps it is better that you seek the services of another. I have always felt that a certain amount of trust needs to exist between my clients and myself. I am not seeing that here as the passage of information is very one-sided. I still have not seen plans, I do not have contact details other than an e-mail address and I do not even know what suburb the property is located.
People come to me because they do not want a ‘pretend’ service. I am more than suitably qualified, I have a vast amount of experience and I produce reports that are detailed and informative. To top it all off, my pricing is at the same amount or lower than others that do provide a ‘pretend’ service. I do not make a significant amount of money on these things. The effort that is required and the level of reporting undertaken over the top of high insurance premiums means that I make little more than a tradesman with a few years’ experience. I do these inspections because I am financially secure, I have other interests and have a passion about building.
My response: That is not a very professional email at all and to be honest, very rude. If I am employing someone to conduct work on my behalf I think I am entitled to know if they are going to be around to complete the job, not just half of it. The only reason why I asked about your travel is because you said you were in China doing the work rounds which tells me you have business commitments overseas and may not be around when we need you. I never talked about leave, and I do agree with time off that is not an issue. In relation to my plans, I am not sure what naive person would email their plans around to various companies before they have made a decision on what company they wanted to use, as the documents hold personal and secure information. We are not looking for a pretend building inspector. We are looking for one that is qualified, insured, knows what they are doing, one that can complete the job and most importantly has a grasp of professional communication and customer service. On the face of it you were going to be our choice but not now. I don't know if your rude reply was because you are jet lagged. I suggest you let another person read it to see what their thoughts are.
[name removed]'s email: No, that’s me. I am not jet lagged and I actually trimmed back what I was going to say. It wasn’t rude, but then that is always an opinion formed by the recipient. Sending e-mails only rather than even calling to see who I am is impersonal. It may be OK for buying a dishwasher or some other appliance on line, but it is not the way business is conducted if you want someone to assist you in ensuring their few hundred thousand dollar house is built correctly. I form a basis of trust with people if I cannot talk to them. In fact, you would only be one of about five (or less) people I have told I do not want to do their job in the last ten years. All of my other clients are courteous enough to call after an introductory e-mail. The only mistake I have made was explaining to you why I would not do your job. I should have just told you I was not available and to go get someone else. How can you even think that a person can give a definitive price when their potential client is so secretive about the job. It is not ‘naïve’ to send the plans; it is common practice. When it comes to information; consider printing the information and scrubbing out personal details before scanning and sending it out. Pretty basic really. How can I possibly operate without plans. How can I possibly price without knowing how long it will take me to travel or what I have to look at. You never ever told me a location or the configuration of the house. Don’t you think that this very basic information may be necessary. With respect to my communication, I would suggest you get someone else to read what I have written and see if I have been reasonable from the start. If you had picked up the phone and called me from the start, you would have received a different response.
My email response to that was colourful so it has been left out. Basically I explained that the initial email was a general one sent out to get a rough idea of who we would want to employ then the specifics would follow. The reason for me not calling him was that he said he was in China.
I don't know who you are meant to feel comfortable about a company that communicated like such over the most basic or requests. I could not imagine if problems or concerns were raised during the construction process. I think building is stressful enough and I don't believe anybody needs further stress added by a rude and pushy employee as that is what you are hiring.
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