Move the Toilet!
by Mark Fordice
A seemingly tiny water leak in our master bathroom led us down the road to a full bathroom remodel. We hoped a simple repair would do the trick, but no, the whole shower floor needed to be pulled apart. And if you rip the floor apart, you might as well redo all the tiles in the shower. And of course, if you do that, you might as well replace the rest of the flooring to match. Why don’t we replace the faucets and lights, too, since we are already here? That’s how it goes on most bathroom remodels, I understand.
We saved up for these changes and the great news is that I found a talented contractor who has been working hard on the project for the last week. His crew is conscientious and kind. They are on time and clean up the hallway and stairs at the end of the day. The contractor feels like the project is going well, without any unexpected costs or problems, and he is on schedule.
But, there’s one growing problem. He set the old toilet in our master bedroom. The toilet has to come out of the bathroom to remove the vinyl flooring. He wrapped the base with a black garbage sack, so it’s not a health hazard or anything, but it’s sitting out in front of my wife’s dresser.
And there it has been. For five days.
A new toilet has been delivered, and it’s boxed up in the garage. The new shower trim and faucets are also awaiting their debut. The glossy white subway tiles are cautiously being installed with careful alignment and precise saw cuts.
But that toilet is in our master bedroom! It’s sort of looking at us while we sleep. I’m torn between thinking it’s either humorous or disgusting.
I could have mentioned it to the contractor. I really should have. He’s probably just forgotten about it. He’s not on the job right now; his crew is busily working away and they may have overlooked the toilet’s new home. They don’t sleep in the room at night. They don’t bump into it in the mornings.
I’ve decided not to call him. How can they have forgotten this for five days? I’ve realized that the toilet squatting in my master bedroom has become the primary way I’m going to judge this remodel. Isn’t that crazy?
The price of the project is fabulous. The guys are doing a great job. The bathroom is going to look great and the crew seems to be on schedule. I should be completely satisfied, and ready to recommend. But I’m not; each day the toilet stays in our master bedroom, my overall favorable opinion and satisfaction is dropping. I won’t be able to talk about this contractor without telling the toilet story.
Customer service is sometimes like that. You can nail it on all other aspects of the project, but one silly, forgetful, or superfluous mistake can make all the difference in what your customer thinks and says about you. As Sam Walton once said, “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.”
Legendary service in this case would include seeing the project through the homeowner’s eyes. That toilet wouldn’t have stayed in the master bedroom for one minute had they been oriented in that manner.
For your customers, what sort of small details become huge if left unattended? How can you look through your customer’s eyes in a new way? At the end of a project, or even part way through, have you stopped to ask your customer how you are doing?
What toilet do you need to move today?