When a family has a fire or flood in their homes, it may seem to them that everyone suddenly has authority over them. Fire officials get to decide when (and even if) they get to go back inside.
Adjusters are telling them how things work and requesting files, receipts, photographs, etc.
The structural workers remove floors, walls, ceilings and more (to some, it appears that their house is being brutalized and that they are “in the way”).
Then, the contents pros arrive and things start to change. Often the pros bring small courtesy baskets of comfort food or flowers (usually giving the credit for the packages to the homeowner’s insurance agent – even including his/her business card along with the items).
The insureds are invited to tell the story of what happened (they get to be heard). And (perhaps for the first time) they are given the chance to tell what important to them as it relates to their most valued items. We show we care about what is being shared.
We take pictures of all articles of concern. We clean, we label, we fold, we pack everything with care and demonstrated expertise. In short, we show that what is important to the owner is important to us.
Whenever possible we give the homeowner a sense of empowerment. “Charlie, we’d like to get the smoke odors out of the children’s bedroom first, but the master bedroom will need the same treatment, where would you prefer we start?
We don’t actually need the owner’s input, but it costs us nothing to let our clients feel as if they are participating in the restoration process – after all, it is their home and we are their unanticipated guests.
And an empowered owner will speak up if something isn’t going to plan (rather than to wait a month after the job is finished to complain about a minor detail that could easily have been remedied the moment it is first noticed).