For a little over 15 years I was working as a PC technician, and while work was fine I had a friend that had way more work than I did. And while I was happy for him I didn’t understand how I was not working as much. My clients loved me and I was getting references from most of them I hardly needed to advertise but I was nowhere near as booked as he was.
When I asked him how he has so much work he explained that he fixes only 70% of the problem. He told me that he would only fix the exact problem the client complains about, that way he knew the clients will call him back again.
Most people are not tech savvy and when they explain the issue they use broad terms. When this friend got to a client’s location he would fix the issue in question and deliberately miss the main problems causing it. His clients were always arguing with him and it seems that he was going to have a stroke most of the time.
I wish I could say he was the only one who works in that manner, but it turns out this is common practice in many fields. Companies expect their products to fail so they can charge you for fixing them. While my clients needed me once or twice a year, my friend’s clients were calling him every two weeks.
The sad thing is that his clients were willing to pay him just to make the problem go away, while most of my clients were trying to hold off repairs until the issues were too annoying. This is a classic chicken and egg problem. While the clients complain that they are taken advantage of they put the professional in a position where he has to implement bad practices to survive. While This mindset is allowed to exist we will see products and services constantly degrading.
How do we stop this downward spiral?
We stop cutting corners. If we feel a client needs something we have to point it out if he decides that he wants to rip off the band-aid so be it. He will have no one to complain to if he had all the information. As for the clients, you should accept the fact that there are professionals you can trust. Find them and keep them for as long as you can. I have clients that I still fix computers for even though I stopped five years ago. Why do I do it? They respect me and need my help. I’m not going to let them down, and I’m sure your plumber, carpenter, CPA will do the same if you just pay them for the service they provide you.
Give before you ever expect to get anything back.