We all know it as the proverbial golden rule of business: the customer is always right. The balancing act of providing quality customer service and appeasing a hunger for instant gratification has become a muted line with little to no boundaries.
How do we solve this problem? It’s simple: by setting clear and concise expectations and providing an overabundance of communication.
It didn’t used to be this way. When I was growing up, my dad would go to work, give it his all for eight hours, and then he’d come home. He didn’t get calls at 8:45 p.m. from a client asking for some pictures or receive a text from someone complaining that a cone on a jobsite fell over. Work was work and home was home. Today, work life and home life have blurred for many of us – even more so now that so many of us are working remotely from home during the COVID19 crisis. In our modern age, we are always working, and technology and customer expectations have made it that way.
Cell phones and texting are omnipresent in our daily lives. And it’s expected that you, the contractor, are on call 24 hours a day, seven days week, 365 days a year. If you don’t reply quickly enough to customers, you will most certainly hear about it – or perhaps see it on social media.
The best customer service you can provide is an inundation of information. The customer, theoretically, should never have to call you. What I mean by that is they expect you, the contractor, to over-communicate. If you tell them you’re three weeks out from a start date, it’s your responsibility to communicate each week prior. Even if you don’t have a specific date yet, remind them that you care and are thinking about them. In essence, it’s a lot of hand-holding but it makes a world of difference. If you don’t have information, simply tell them you don’t have it before they ask. Show the customer how much you care. Customers want to be treated like their job is the only job you have, and with consistent information this is attainable.
For many of us, our main communication method has become text messaging. Find a platform that gives your team members a way to text each customer from a single number so the entire staff can be in the loop and help out when needed. That way, everything is documented. Texts have a 98% read rate. Emails have a 67% read rate. Phone calls have a 56% answer
“For many of us, our main communication method has become text messaging… Texts have a 98% read rate. Emails have a 67% read rate. Phone calls have a 56% answer rate… With written communications, everyone’s on the same page.”
rate – and that conversation between the two of you cannot be documented. What did we discuss? What was promised? With written communication, everyone’s on the same page.”
By over-communicating with the customer – before, during and after the job
– you are eliminating the clients’ need to question or complain. You are being proactive versus reactive. Roofing is the same, but customer service is constantly evolving, and it’s your job to be ahead of the curve for the sake of your clients, employees and your reputation.