“Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed” – plastered on just about every product, website and advertisement and yet very few actually embody this practice.
How often do we really experience, “the best customer service around”? Do we actually understand the meaning of customer satisfaction, or is it simply a cliché standard slapped on every business model- reputable and otherwise? Are businesses really willing to go the extra mile to provide it?
These questions rack my brain as the bitter taste of bad experience after bad experience lay fresh on my mind.
Over the past year, my wife and I have struggled to locate a General Contractor in our area actually capable of quality work AND quality customer service. After several failed attempts to solidify a contractor, we gave up completely.
Are my expectations too high? Maybe it wasn’t completely their fault. Perhaps, I should learn to take “customer satisfaction” with a grain of salt. Perhaps, it’s not chivalry that’s dead, neigh customer service!
Now, before you start to think of me as a pessimist, it is important to note, I’ve had great customer service when it comes my home. There are many who seem to intuitively manage customer satisfaction through great communication and soft skills, however, they are few and far between.
As you begin evaluating your own customer service skills, try applying these 5 tips into your day-to-day operations.
1. Build Real Relationships
First impressions last a long time. You need to make sure you are always prepared, organized, and on time with all of your customers. If you respect their time by being prepared, organized, and prompt, they will begin to respect you.
Customers enjoy hearing their name. Therefore, use it in greetings, conversations, and farewells.
Treat customers as individuals. Any type of home construction is a big deal for homeowners. Learn to be sincere and honest with your customers. Remember, their subway tiled kitchen is your next paycheck!
2. Hire Great People
You’ve always heard your employees are your biggest asset and it’s TRUE! They are a reflection of your business so make it a goal to hire the best.
Coach your team members. The only way they will care about their work is if they see YOU caring about your work. It has to start from the top down; so make it a priority.
Share customer satisfaction reports with your team members
Develop customer service activities that must be done with every customer (i.e., personal welcome letter, determined number of project status updates, etc.).
Provide your employees access to books and classes on customer service
3. Communication is King
Be a good listener. It lets your customers know you care.
Smile. This is actually easier said than done.
Respond, respond, respond to everything, ASAP! The longer a customer has to wait for a response, the more time they have to find another company who will respond. In addition, the promptness or lackadaisical nature of your response will immediately frame your customer’s opinion of you and your company.
Understand your customer’s communication preferences from the beginning. This will help you to understand the customer’s expectations throughout the entirety of the project.
Try sticking to one preferred medium of communication. Using multiple platforms can result in confusion, delayed response and ultimately, missed expectations.
4. Be Proactive
Being proactive. In today’s day and age you can’t afford not to be. You need to be the first one to initiate updates or communicate to a customer when a deadline will not be met. Try to anticipate the questions your customer will ask. For instance, if a customer is remodeling their kitchen, a common question may be, ‘Will I have access to my stove, refrigerator, microwave, etc.? If not, how long should I anticipate being without?’ Answering these questions up front will put your customer at ease knowing this is not your first rodeo. Even if it is your first rodeo! This intuitive response shows your customer you are in tune to their concerns.
Go the Extra Mile. Not because you have to but because your customers mean that much to you! It doesn’t have to be anything big but using the example above of the kitchen remodel, going the extra mile may look like providing them with a gift certificate or coupon to a local restaurant or fast food chain to ease the discomfort of being without their kitchen. A simple gesture such as this will set you apart from the competition and help to build rapport.
5. The Bottom Line – Do whatever you can to make your customers feel important!
Did you find these tips helpful?
Which of these tips you are most motivated to implement into your daily operations?
What methods do you currently use to increase customer satisfaction?
If you know someone who could use a boost in the customer service department, pass this newsletter on!
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Thanks for reading,
- Posted by John Cope
- On August 23, 2017
- 0 Comments