This website isn’t really supposed to be about professionalism, work, career, etc. but today I’m going to write a bit about it anyhow. I encourage you to read on, because I promise you that you will learn a thing or two if you weren’t already aware of these very valuable facts of professional life.
I am a landlord, but I also rent the home I live in. I rent a home because I am still unable to sell my old house compliments of the housing crash in 2009 and the poor location of my house. My new house is considerably larger, nicer and more expensive than the house I now rent out. You’d think with the nicer digs and higher price tag, you’d get better service. That hasn’t proven to be the case thus far.
When my tenants have an issue, I perform all the maintenance and tend to their needs personally. I’ve worked hard to build rapport and trust with my tenants in hope that they’ll repay my superb service by keeping my house in great shape and paying me in a timely manner.
My new home is managed by a real estate company. I treat this house as if it were my own, but I also recognize that it isn’t my responsibility or even right to fix many things when problems arise. I or my wife call for service only to have maintenance men show up unannounced, late or not at all and even have phone calls not returned from time to time.
Today I blew up a little on the apartment manager after being disappointed in their level of service one time too many. I called her and made my case, pointing out that I had to fix the toilet myself, on my dime, that our attic ladder has been broken for a few weeks now (discovered when moving old boxes of Christmas ornaments to and from the attic) and now we had a dead florescent light fixture in our very dark laundry room.
My problem is not that issues arise, it is that when we request service and appointments are made, they aren’t honored often times. This leads me to one of the golden rules of business and the lesson I want to share.
Respect your customer’s time at all costs!
Of all the things in the world, time is the one thing we most definitely cannot get more of. Each of us get 24 short hours a day to fit all our affairs into. When you tell someone you are going to be somewhere at some time, BE THERE. Not being on time, not communicating effectively when you are unable to meet your commitments and not being respectful of your commitments is blatant disrespect of the person you’re dealing with in my view. This counts in both professional and casual circumstances.
Yes, we all trip up from time to time. Things happen, life gets in the way. But to be a habitual offender and not apologize each time you are unable to make a commitment or appointment is inexcusable to me.
If you personally have issues with being on time, compensate for it. Deal with it. Get a grip with it. If you can, I promise you that you will gain more support from your peers, be viewed in a better light and go further both personally and professionally.
You will be seen as someone vastly more trustworthy and reliable.