By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
Photo taken by Dana McGrath
Even with the greatest of care you are bound to encounter a few glitches, missing parts, dings and scratches during your final installation. Like a stain on a new garment, they can detract from all your hard work and spoil your client’s enthusiasm for their new space. Don’t leave your project partially unfinished. You owe it to your client to give them a hundred percent.
It surprises me how many designers hurry to their next project without taking the time to finish the necessary repairs and touch-ups. Not only is it unprofessional and reflects badly on the rest of us, it’s bad for business. A client who finds a scratch on their new table, a chip in their new lamp, or leak from their new faucet is not going to give you a glowing referral. What’s more, they may refuse to pay the final invoice or other outstanding charges since in their eyes – and rightly so – the job is not finished yet.
When you do your final walkthrough ahead of meeting with the client, compile a punch list of all the little details that need attending to and then go over it with your team, delegating responsibility for each and every item. If the problem is one that cannot be remedied immediately, make arrangements so you can let the client know how and when it will be attended to. Then be sure that you or someone on your team follows up to make sure the matter is handled properly and promptly.
As a parting gift to your client, put together a binder with all the information they will need to repair or replace an item in the future, including customer service contact information, copies of all warranties and related receipts, and how to clean, care for and maintain their new products. You want your client to have a great experience, from start to finish, and to have complete confidence in your work. They should be thinking “wow!” not “oh, no!” If you’re going to leave a lasting impression, make sure it’s a good one – it can mean the difference between bad reviews or lots of referrals.