Let me start this post with a simple example:
Contractor A is remodeling a home and tells the owners early on that they are not to call his cell phone after 5:00 pm unless it is an emergency. He adds that if they have questions when they come home from work and see the day’s progress, they should send an email and he will respond the next morning.
Contractor B is remodeling another home down the road. On the first project meeting with owners, he gives them his cell number, email, and work phone number. He also asks if they have a preference on how and when they want to communicate with him.
Which approach do you feel provides a better customer experience? Contractor B would have my vote. Why? Because Contractor B is more concerned about his customers’ convenience than his own.
Experts stress that if you’re truly serious about improving your customer service, give your customers what they want, not what you want. But how do you know what is most important to them? Here are a few tips on how to find out:
- Ask and watch your customers. Definitely talk to your customers about their preferences and how you can provide better service. But don’t stop there. Often, customers don’t necessarily communicate what they truly want. Identify situations when customers became frustrated or were particularly pleased about something that you did. Many times customer actions will give you a much better idea of what they value.
- Look at prequalification questions. If you are a subcontractor and have to complete pre-qualification checklists, look for common requirements that are service oriented. These checklist, along with subcontractor grading systems used by some GCs, can give you a clue to the customer service areas you should focus on.
- Watch the trends. Stay up on overall service trends by following news sources such as customerthink.com. To get you started, check out my recent post on three trends service contractors should be aware of.
- Pay attention to generational differences. Millennials, for example, may prefer to interact with your company through texting or social media channels, whereas many baby boomers still prefer a phone call or face-to-face meetings.
Your company doesn’t necessarily have to excel in everything in order to gain loyal customers. By making your customers’ priorities your priorities, however, you can determine what you need to be extremely good at, and what areas it’s okay to just offer the basics.
About the Author
Deb Carpenter-Beck is a writer and marketer with more than 25 years of experience in the construction and real estate industries. She often writes about technology and best practices and is passionate about helping contractors and real estate professionals achieve their business goals. You can follow her on Twitter @DebCBConstruct.