have wrote about this is the past, but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s so critical to the success of your business. Excellent customer service starts from within. Keeping your team happy is the golden rule to keeping your customers happy. A well trained staff makes for a great customer experience. You could have the best sales team in the world, bringing in 20 new customers a month, but if the back door is open you will never be able to build a solid business.
The thing about a great customer experience is finding the right people to get the job done. The business owner is more than likely not the best candidate for the job. You might have the best intentions but you just may not deliver the best experience. For instance, I know what I want my customers experience to be, but I have a hard time executing it. So I went out and put the right people in place to deliver that experience.
It’s a challenge to deliver excellent customer service, so here are 7 things that will help guide the way
1) Answer your phone
If you find that you are out in the field and don’t have someone back at the office to answer the phone, then have your lines forwarded to your cell phone. Better yet find a GREAT answering service to answer the phone for you and take appointments. When someone is calling a plumber they want to talk to a real person, having an answering machine pick up, is a recipe for disaster. You are in the emergency business, since 8 of 10 businesses don’t return calls, potential customers do not like to leave messages.
2) Deal with complaints
An unhappy customer is just looking for a solution, the customer that takes the time to complain is just looking for a fix. Some angry customers just leave and don’t give you the opportunity to fix the problem. The best way to deal with customer complaints is to drop everything and fix the problem, or schedule a time to fix it. Don’t let the problem linger, lingering problems create negative situations and provide added stress you and the customer don’t need.
3) Shut your mouth and listen
You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, take the time to listen. Let your customer tell their story and explain their situation. Often we are quick to jump in and talk or worse defend ourselves. Take the time to listen and turn a negative into a positive.
4) Don’t make promises you can’t keep
It’s easy to tell someone you will arrive between 9 and 10, but showing up at 11:15 is a bad thing. Be respectful of peoples time. Don’t make a promise you know you can’t keep. If you say you are going to do something, then make sure it gets done. People judge you on what you say you are going to do. It’s better to under promise and over deliver. With that said, if you say you will be there at 9, be there at 9 not 8:45. You can’t over deliver on time unless someone says “if you can make it here by 8:45 that would help me out a lot”.
5) Be helpful even if you don’t make a buck doing it
You may find that you are out at a job, you just installed a new toilet. Then you notice that the customers faucet is spraying sideways because it needs a washer. Jump in and replace it for free, it takes you a minute and costs nothing. But to the customer it’s huge. When they need a plumber next time, who are they going to call the nickle and dimer or you?
6) Train you staff
Nothing drives me crazier than when I call a company and no one can answer the simplest of questions. Or you explain the entire problem and they transfer you to another person and don’t take the time to explain the situation so you have to tell the whole story again. Train your staff. It engages people to be better and helps your customers.
7) Throw in something extra
I bet you’re saying “oh here we go, give away something free”. NO. Something extra could be a smile and handshake, paper booties over your shoes to keep your clients home clean. We appreciate your business written on your work order. A tip or two how to avoid a problem you are fixing. That little something extra is really big in the customers eyes.
There is a lot of competition in the plumbing industry, but there are very few who do the little things, and it’s the little things that make a difference between a sale or a lost customer.