Customers often do not seem to understand, or do not want to understand that repairers run a business, not a charity. We go to work, just as they do, to earn a wage and we earn that wage by being paid for our services by the manufacturer, insurance company, work provider or by the end user themselves.
All too often though this a fact ignored by customers and they are not aware of the conditions that we and, the industry at large, work to and therefore the customer expectations exceed the realities of the service provision by a huge margin.
I was recently shocked when I explained to a customer, on her asking about getting an extra visit to repair a minor problem whilst we were awaiting spares from Germany, that we could not do an extra call as we only got paid on completion of the one call. The poor woman was aghast at the fact that we were not paid per visit and was going to complain to the manufacturer in question that she could not get the level of service she expected or required because of this fact. But that is how this industry works, engineers are not paid on a per-visit basis, they are paid on completion of the call.
In general the independent service agent will be paid less that £45, in most cases a lot less as many manufacturers pay less than £30 a call, to repair an appliance irrespective of the number of visits needed, the time it takes in actual engineering and/or administration and for any potential recalls be it to fit spares or otherwise. Bear in mind that is to get an engineer to your door, spend the time repairing the appliance and call back with spares if required. Some contracts even expect for that the entire appliance to be guaranteed for 28 days after we call, so irrespective of the fault, if the appliance fails again the agent may well be footing the bill for the repair. Out of this we have to pay wages, fund offices, IT, vehicles, insurance, training and all the other aspects of the business. Doesn't really seem fair when you put it like that does it?
This just highlights the fact and poses some questions I often wish I could ask customers like, given what we get paid just what level of service do you expect? For a £200 appliance, just what level of in-home service do you think you will get provided with?
The thing I find is that customer's perceive repairers as beneath them in some way, or that they are they solely to rip them off, we're not. If anyone gets a raw deal from the industry it's the repairers as we cannot, for the money we get paid in many cases, offer the level of service that many customers require or expect.
Even when the customer is paying for a repair themselves I do so wish that sometimes they would stop and ask themselves what it is that they are actually buying. Consumer goods are, generaly, a tangible asset as you walk into a shop, pay for the goods and walk out with your purchase, service from the likes of the repairers is a different kettle of fish. You have already paid for the goods and there is no benefit to what we sell to the the customer other than mending the goods they have already bought so it's often seen as paying out money for nothing and yet that couldn't be further from the truth.
To be blunt, you get what you pay for with most things in life and service is no exception to that rule in my opinion. If you go for the "Free Callout" from a man with dubious or no qualifications then seriously, what do you expect? If you use a proper company that does have the qualifications and expertise to repair your appliance properly then you will get the job done properly, they may well not call out at 6.30pm but then it is a proper business that runs in normal trading hours and, as demonstrated earlier you can perhaps see that they can hardly afford to finance shift patterns, weekend and bank holiday working.
Why can't we all offer out-of-hours service, bank holidays etc., simple no-one wants to pay for service, not the manufacturers, insurance companies or even the end user, that's why!