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Customer service ?????

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2023 12:07 pm
by CBarrett
I had a talk with a potential client today (Orange County). Came to me via "Find a surveyor" CLSA page.

Started with an email asking for a topographical survey for an address.
I emailed back asking if they can give me more detail about what triggered the need, so I can tailor my service to what they need.

At first they were a bit stumped, and as we started talking I asked questions which then explained what it is they need.
(I will not go into identifying details here)

Then the potential customer shared with me... that makes so much sense. I was wondering why I was getting quotes ranging from $1000 to $7000 dollars.
I asked how many quotes they got, the customer said 5 different surveyors. I asked, how many surveyors actually asked you what the survey is for so they can recommend the right prices and cost.

Potential Client (PC) answers: None.
ME: "Well no wonder it was a wild range of numbers"
PC: "Seriously! - What is your phone number again?"

This is a very concerning state of affairs.
We always talk about "educating the public about how to hire Land surveying services. It should like we also need to educate the surveyors a bit better too. Even most plumbers seem to have better customer service approach.

FIVE QUOTES from five different surveyors without anyone bothering to have a 5 minute conversation with the client.

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2023 4:08 pm
by hellsangle
LOL! Five minutes!? You got off easy!

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2023 8:24 am
by CBarrett
hellsangle wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 4:08 pm LOL! Five minutes!? You got off easy!
Hopefully this attitude doesn't cross over into your client service.

Harping about clients in a public forum accessible to clients, probably not a good idea.
I used to repeat this in that crazy facebook group for few years too before I gave up moderting it.
Group owners insisted that harping on clients, posting drug and sex paraphernalia and similar shenanigans were fun in a largest public group of surveyors online.

I wonder who their 'esteemed' mentors were?

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2023 9:31 am
by Mike Mueller
I think the topics covered in "E Myth" ( ... 0887307280) helps explain the reason why most surveyors are not the best at selling/customer service. Basic idea is that the best technician/worker of a company generally thinks " Hey, I do all the work, I get paid X and the company bills me at 3X, I should start a company and get that 3X!!!"

So most small businesses are started by folks who have no actual concept of how to run a business. IE making widgets is not the same skillset as hiring good widget makers, accounting, advertising etc. IIRC that book either started or made popular the phrase "if you working IN your business, your not working ON your business".

Couple that mechanism with the fact that very few clients can determine if our service is good or bad, so a bad service can last a long time. If the plumber doesn't stop the leak, its pretty easy for the client to know. If the surveyor messes up the boundary on the ROS, it is generally years (if ever) that the poor quality is discovered, and even longer before the financial consequences are felt. The feedback loop is too long for the market to winnow out the bad apples itself. For what its worth, that is why I think some regulation of our profession is necessary, especially in the long timeframe feedback loops like boundaries and records of survey, but regulations are not needed as much for topo maps or staking since the quality checks will come faster and impact the bottom line.

It is a hard position I find myself in sometimes, since for example I support lowering the review cost of a RoS to $750 while at the same time I wish most county surveyors felt more empowered to write notes about crappy surveyors or send shoddy work to the board or a PPC. Finding the balance that lets us maintain standards in our profession while not getting over regulated and over priced is something that I think we will struggle with as long as we are a profession...

As an example of that balance, what if a CS was allowed to write the following comment on a RoS? I think it would help shorten the timeframe of the feedback loop on poor boundary surveys:
"Due to insufficiencies noted below any contract that included performing a boundary survey should not be considered complete based on this map.
1. Reason
2. Reason etc"

That would let the client go after the surveyor in small claims, or not pay them until they do it right. I can hear the "But what about that horrible CS that demands I change my font!!" comments and I guess I just trust in the honor of the vast majority of public servants more than I worry about a particular petty tyrant.... Call me naive.

Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County

PS Connie I would bet you know more about sorts of ideas than me :)

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2023 1:38 pm
by hellsangle
Harping about clients in a public forum accessible to clients, probably not a good idea.
I wish it was a client, Connie.

At times I spend half an hour trying to educate a potential client.

Thus my reply was an attempt at levity.
LOL! Five minutes!? You got off easy!
Yeah, Bat excrement Crazy Phil

Life's too short to constantly be wearing a frown.

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2023 1:50 pm
by Warren Smith
We public sector surveyors don't have that luxury - we have to deal (pleasantly) with everyone who 'comes in the door'!

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2023 8:43 am
by PLS7393
hellsangle wrote: Fri Nov 17, 2023 1:38 pm
LOL! Five minutes!? You got off easy!
- Agreed!

It's called "Ethics" or the need for "Continuing Education" to those who don't give basic customer service.

I include an hour to all new clients knowing I need to educate them on land surveying, and minimal customer service.
Customer service is just another issue to call yourself a Professional Land Surveyor.

Now back to my regularly scheduled work (to make money).

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2023 11:05 pm
by Ca.PLS8200
I regularly tell public customers to talk to 3-5 different surveyors and be VERY CLEAR with their needs so the surveyor doesn't (have to) make any assumptions. "I need a lot survey" or "I need a boundary survey" will yield wildly different results (cost estimates), while "I need my south boundary located and property corners set on my hilly, 5-acre parcel so I can put up a fence to keep my neighbor off the property he thinks is his" will yield more consistent results.

Their next question is frequently "...Do I have to tell them all of that?"

Re: Customer service ?????

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2023 7:19 am
by Jim Frame
I tell prospective clients that asking "How much to survey my property?" is like asking a surgeon "How much for an operation?" The answer in both cases being "it depends..."