Satisfaction is what the end-user is looking for, and Gary Kloth is determined to take the reader there.

Satisfaction is what end-users look for, and installers play a vital role in delivering it to them. For customers, the worst struggle is over when they’ve made the purchase. They have found what they wanted, parted with the money, and the only step left is taking ownership. For them to do this, we must do our job and get the materials installed. After all, plying our skills is how we make a living.

As installers, we tend to think technically. The job is viewed in terms of the best way to trim the seams, or where to start the stretch. All this is important, but not to the customer.

Think of your own buying experiences, such as getting a new serpentine belt installed on your truck. You schedule an appointment and drop off the vehicle. You want it fixed and ready at the time it was promised. The fact that the mechanic is ASE certified may help you decide which service department to take your truck to; but like your customers, you just want to take ownership. When that is done, you're satisfied.

As installers, how we conduct ourselves during customer contact is something we need to be aware of. Arriving at the scheduled time is important. If you are going to be late, make sure a telephone call is placed as far in advance as possible to keep the customer updated. No one likes to wait around without knowing what is going on.

Always arrive at the door with a smile and an introduction. Be friendly, but always avoid commentary about the customer or their belongings, e.g. clothing, hairstyle, home style or furnishings. Observing, "That's a nice pink-and-orange-plaid sofa," is not going to be taken as a compliment when the customer responds, "That was my mother-in-law’s and I've always hated it."

It is better to concentrate on common courtesies. Say “please” and “thank you.” Don't slam the doors. Handle furniture carefully. We represent the last tangible link the customer has to the purchasing process. As human nature dictates, customers want to like us. It is the little things like vacuuming, taking care of trash and waste, and checking over the finished work that make the difference between apathy and appreciation.

When the new belt was being put on your truck, it doesn't matter to you if a bolt was seized and had to be cut off, or if the service shop was overbooked and the mechanic had to work through lunch. The same is true when you reach the jobsite. Customers are only concerned with what is going on in their lives, so don't burden them with other problems. That time is about that customer. Period.

Give them your full attention. Listen to your customers, because signals are being sent. If a customer mentions they would like to get new vinyl in the kitchen next, offer to measure it for them and forward the information on to the salesperson.

As sub-contractors, the retailer or general contractor is our customer, but their end-user is the one they need us to satisfy. The general buying public can be difficult to predict; some people act like saints, while others are just the opposite. Children, pets and Mrs. Consumer's bad day all add to the mix. Accept the challenge to overcome these obstacles.

I think installers want to see the customer satisfied. We actually get a big boost when our job is done and the customer is praising our work. When it happens, you need to have them let the salesperson know how they feel. Don't let the opportunity pass by. Using my cell phone, I've called the store under the guise of checking in and put the customer and salesperson together right there and then.

Hey, it's the best way to make sure that feeling of satisfaction is shared with everyone!