This special issue of R&R covers CAT work from every angle. Or so I thought, until I was traveling back from Insights in Grapevine, Tex., last month.

It was then, in the flurry of activity in a busy airport and trying to get a plane boarded on time, I realized we missed something: talking about customer service.

Perhaps the courtesy of our industry is a dying breed. Today, people are more direct when delivering their messages. This can be a good thing, unless the directness turns into an excuse for sheer rudeness.

I encountered two frustrating situations during my trip to and from Dallas that could have easily gone the other way had the airline employees simply been nicer, or communicated better. On the way there, we boarded the plane - but then had to wait an hour and a half before taking off, with little explanation, and no communication or apology from the crew for any (even slight) inconvenience. On the trip home, I encountered another employee who was snarky and sarcastic when I asked a simple question. The instances, even though small, can taint someone’s judgment of a company as a whole very easily!

This industry is rooted in fantastic customer service and being courteous - almost to a fault at times. So you don’t need a lecture on customer service, right? Right! But do you train your crews on communication and customer service or just expect them to “get it”? My guess is some of the encounters on my recent trip had to do with lack of training.

Kindness and compassion become even more important during a CAT loss. A smile from you, clear and open communication from your team, and even just letting them know you’ve got their back will go a long, long way! Something as simple as great service can greatly ease tensions during a CAT, and encourage your customers to be more patient and understanding throughout the whole process because they trust you.

It is very likely during a CAT that you and your team will be stressed and running on steam at times. But I also believe I know you... and the heart of the best restorers... and no matter the level of anxiety and stress you feel on the inside (see page 39), you will be smiling on the outside.

You already know kindness and great service can make ALL the difference with your customers... and that, in turn, helps with ratings for program work, referrals, and repeat customers. Just from being nice and communicating. And as a side note, smiling and being kind to your team goes a long way too! I believe that is a philosophy 100% embraced by PHC Restoration. You can read more about their business, and recent CAT experience on page 19.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the RIA International Restoration Convention & Industry Expo!