Good customer service can make or break success in business. In a sector where the majority of work still comes through word-of-mouth recommendations, how can you create loyal relationships with customers to make sure they spread the word?
Try and see it through their eyes: if your customer is unhappy with your relationship with them, will your technical skills be enough to bring them back for more? In this competitive market, the answer will usually be no! You need to make sure your treatment of your customer is impeccable not just to ensure you win the work, but throughout and after the job has finished.
Follow our practical tips for customer service excellence.
– Easy contact
Show your customers they are valued by being easily contactable, and reply promptly to any messages. If you have multiple social media or email accounts, make sure you check them all regularly. If you begin to lose track, there are apps that will manage all your social media accounts in one place. Alternatively, consider cutting back: there is nothing more annoying than endlessly trying to reach someone with no avail!
– Build trust
Being absolutely clear on the brief before you start will eliminate disappointment further down the line. Your customer must trust you to do the job well, so listen to their needs, provide clear and relevant advice, and show them you are on the same page.
Take responsibility to resolve any problems efficiently and to their conclusion. Don’t be afraid to speak up; as long as customers are well informed and aware you are working hard towards a solution, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
– Clear communication
A lot of customer disatisfaction can come from misunderstanding. Customers often have a lot invested in the work you are carrying out, and if they feel something is wrong they will be worried. Patiently explain the technicalities of the job to clients in laymans terms.
– Leave the job tidy
It might be your work space, but it’s your customer’s home! Spending a few extra minutes making sure you leave their house as you found it will keep your customer happy, as well as showing you as the organised trader you are!
– Exceed expectations
Under quoting for work is a common problem for the inexperienced trader, and a guaranteed recipe for lost earnings and a disappointed customer. Remember, a cheap quote is not the only factor your customers will consider when deciding who to go with. In fact, many people are happier to pay that bit more for a job well done. So always under promise, over deliver!
– Follow up
When you have finished a job, ask the customer if they would mind if you sent them a follow up e-mail. For added value, you could add some useful information about the job for the customer’s reference; advice on getting the most out of an appliance, for example.
Getting back in touch after a job is finished provides an opportunity to check your customer is happy with your work. If they are, you can ask them to provide feedback – a testimonial for your website, a like or comment on Facebook or a rating on referral sites, such as Rated People.