Customer Service Matters

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No Booties - mud copyYes, you can air seal around a flue pipe with world-class quality. But that alone isn’t going to drive your business.

In California last week, I had the chance to talk to several consumers who’d recently had HVAC or home performance services. A few were happy. A few were very disappointed. Interestingly, none of the customers discussed the technical quality of the work delivered. All relayed stories about how well they felt taken care of during the improvement process.

Two contractors will be getting enthusiastic referrals. Two contractors won’t.

Customer service matters. With the low-bar set by Chuck-in-a-Truck, customer service is what sets you apart from the too-many contractors who scare homeowners.

This is even more important today when bad experience can quickly make their way to Yelp reviews or review hundreds or thousands of people on Facebook within minutes.

The good news is there are simple things you can do to be better than the rest.

Respond when customers reach out. Answer the phone. If you can’t, call the customer back when they leave a message. If they email you, get back to them.

Be prompt. If you say you going to be there Tuesday at 9am, be there Tuesday at 8:57am. Don’t be late. If something happens, and it looks like you will be late, call and let them know before the set time.

Dump the Jargon. Yeah, I know, I mention this a lot. But it’s important to use language your customers will understand.

Take care of the customer’s home. Don’t track in dirt or dog poop. Don’t smoke on the property. Clean up after yourself. Every time.

Set clear, mutual expectations. If dense packing the walls is going to make holes in the stucco, let the customer know what’s going to happen, what you’re going to take care, whether they have to take care of anything, and what the end result will be.

Check back with a happy call. A few days out, is everything working well? Is the customer happy? So few contractors check. You can. Call and ask. It’s also a good time to measure, “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how likely are you to refer us to your friends, family, and neighbors.” Anything other than a 9 or a 10, you should find out why and what you can do to fix it. (Those 9s and 10s…they’re primed to actually give you that referral and review now!)

These are just a few ways to do better than the other guy. There are plenty more. If you remember to make things easier for you customers, take care of them and their property, and meet or exceed expectations you’ve set every time, you’ll stand out as someone homeowners what to do business with.

Oh yeah, you still do need to know how to air seal around that flue properly, too.

What do you do to be a customer service champion?

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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