How to be a better customer

Many people say the customer is always right, but how you behave as a customer can impact the customer service you receive.

Like the tango, it takes two to make any business interaction a good one. If you want great customer service, take responsibility and be a good customer.

“Over the years, the one thing I know is that companies aren’t mind readers,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “The key to a great company–consumer relationship is communication, and that requires great communication from the consumer side, too. Be sure to tell them what you are looking for, what you like, and what you don’t like. Be considerate, but be great communicators.”

Angie’s List says the best customers are aware of what they want, understand their budget and are willing to take suggestions.

“I think the best trait of our favorable customers are the ones that completely trust in the vision and the guidance and the design,” remodeling contractor Jon Guy said. “Any high rated company didn’t become a high rated company by chance. They became highly rated because they looked out for the client’s best interest.”

“I know not everyone is comfortable speaking up in a situation,” said Hicks. “You know, sometimes I’m not. But it’s important that you understand what you are looking for and take it from a fact position, instead of getting emotional. Explain here are the rules. Set things out in the beginning of the situation, in the beginning of the project so you have guidelines. It will make the communication much easier.”

“It’s okay to change something, just try to understand the ramification of that and it’s likely to cost more money. Not always, but a lot of times a change mid–stream, a contractor has already bought materials, he’s already got guys scheduled and lined up, and you throw a wrench into that and there’s a cost into that,” said remodeling contractor Jeffrey Morgan.

Angie’s List says it’s important to be open and honest with contractors during the hiring process. Keep them updated and let unsuccessful bidders know when you’ve made your final choice. Don’t worry that you’re offending them. It’s much more polite to give service providers the information they need to move on.