A Great Restoration Job with Bad Customer Service is A Bad Restoration Job
It's impossible to understate the importance of customer service - it plays the biggest role in how a customer views the work your business has conducted. As Phil Rosebrook of Business Mentors says, “Over 80% of how a customer determines whether a restoration contractor did a good job or not is based on their relationship with the people performing the work, and not the actual work”. That may be a punch to the gut for a lot of business owners, but if you think about it, it makes sense: you can have the most talented CEO on the planet, but if your frontline staff can’t make a customer feel comfortable and confident, you’ll be eaten alive by your competitors - and their reviews.
At some point in every restoration business owner’s career, they are going to wake up and smell the coffee: you need 5-star customer service as that’s what takes one customer, and turns it into five referrals. Fortunately, after analyzing over 1,000 1-star reviews left for restoration companies on Google (you can download the full e-book for free here), we did the heavy lifting for you and came up with the simplest ways you can start improving your customer service today.
The Three A's
Phil Rosebrook suggests utilizing the three A’s as a core business practice for improving customer service, something you should have hovering at the back of your mind every time you, or any employee in your organization, touches base with a customer. What are the three A’s?
- Appearance: Before speaking with a customer in potentially tense situations, ask yourself, “how will the next 5 minutes affect my business's reputation?” Your goal should always be to appear professional and sincere in the eyes of your customer.
- Attitude: This one is gold when it comes to customer service. Many times, employees' attitudes go unchecked after long days, or from having to deal with particularly difficult customers. This is fuel to the fire for customers, and if they feel the slightest bit of attitude from an employee, you can bet they will be heading straight to Google reviews.
- Actions: It’s vital to remember that your customers are paying attention to workers when work is being conducted in their home. It might feel like you have privacy and the space to say or do whatever you want, but that is rarely the case. Remember that respect and courtesy go a long way in the eyes of your customers.
How to put this into practice will vary from company to company. The important thing to remember is nurture a culture within your business that has The Three A’s on a pedestal. Drive this point so deep into the minds of your employees that they are subconsciously running these bases everytime they interact with a customer.
When things go wrong at any point during the process of completing a job, it can be a headache. Getting defensive about it however, does no one any good. A great mentality to start fostering in your business is that of “customer partnering”.
A reflex for a lot of employees when things go wrong and the customer is hurling accusations and finger pointing is to get defensive. Bad news: reacting this way is a one-way ticket to a 1-star review. What a “customer partnering” mentality does is take away the “you against me” defensive approach. It teaches employees that rather than immediately trying to cover their own asses, do what they can to try and salvage a good customer experience. Simply apologizing for the mistake, and working with the customer to figure out a solution to get the job done will reap benefits via 5-star customer reviews.
At the end of the day, you and your customer are on the same team. You both want to see a job completed. Just like on a football team, everyone has different jobs and positions and reasons for wanting to succeed, but they’re all on the same team with the same end goal, and they work together to get there. Make your customers your teammates, your partners, and you will see an increase in customer service ratings.
The customer service experience often takes a dive when your accounts receivable team has to pull out the big guns at the end of the project and use demanding collection practices. This could make the customer feel bullied and embarrassed, and will likely lead to a poor representation of your company overall. In reality, a variety of reasons could be behind a delinquent payment, so it’s important not to jump to conclusions.
The way to avoid uncertainty from day one is to be upfront about what the final price could look like, and how it will be paid for. Many people feel awkward having conversations like this with their clients because, let’s face it, talking about money and being clear with what you expect is a touchy subject, especially with a client whose property was just destroyed. With that being said, having those conversations from the get-go will prove beneficial in the long run when your customers are consistently paying on time and not feeling bullied or pressured because they know exactly what to expect.
Hungry for More?
If you want to learn more about how you can immediately start improving your customer service, and increase your online ratings, we have you covered.
We recently published a FREE e-book where we analyzed over 1,000 bad online reviews left online for Restoration companies. We wanted to find out exactly why customers were complaining, and exactly what Restoration business owners can do to avoid the mistakes of their competitors. The result is a tangible, easy to follow, one-of-a-kind read that will help take your online reviews to the next level. Head over to https://www.fivestarrestorer.com/ and download your copy for free!