19 Feb 4 Ways to Improve Customer Service at Your Trade Company
Customer service isn’t just about making your customers feel good; in a very real and direct way, it can have an impact on your bottom line. For example, one of the key cash flow problems plumbing, HVAC, and other service trade companies experience is meeting the needs of their existing customers; acquiring new customers can be costly, but good customer service encourages loyalty—and thus, recurring revenues.
With all that said, it can be challenging to know how best to improve your customer service, beyond simply coaching technicians to be courteous and mannerly. That’s certainly important, but there are further steps you can take to ensure your customer service standards are sky-high.
Ensure a Live Customer Service Agent During Normal & Extended Business Hours
This may sound obvious, yet it’s amazing how many service trade companies allow incoming calls to go straight to a voicemail box or an automated system.
The bottom line is that, when a homeowner calls your plumbing or electrical or HVAC repair company, it’s probably because he or she is experiencing a problem and needs it to be resolved quickly. In some cases, it may be a true emergency.
A live operator can offer assurances that the problem will be addressed quickly, and even provide a specific time when the technician can be expected. Voicemail boxes cannot do this and might simply encourage the customer to call your competition.
Make sure you’ve got a real person answering phones, or outsource to a call center service that can act on behalf of your office and have access to the customer database.
Offer Incentives for Returning Customers
An easy way to show that you value customer loyalty? Offer coupons and discounts for existing clients.
You can provide them on invoices and receipts, or mail them out through your email list. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be much; even something like a five percent off coupon can make a customer much more likely to trust you for future service needs.
Be Transparent in Your Pricing
It’s difficult to quote customers the exact amount you’re going to charge, especially when it’s unclear how long the repairs will take or how much the needed parts will cost you.
What you can do is provide a basic framework—some up-front estimates for your time and labor, and some set prices for standard diagnostic fees or tune-ups on equipment.
It’s especially helpful to have a pamphlet or some other visual aid to show customers your consistent pricing.
Do Some Follow-Up
A final tip: Build customer loyalty into the culture of your business. Assign the customer loyalty to each employee’s job roles and responsibilities. Designate a person to have the job of making outbound calls to follow up with customers after a job is completed, ensuring the problem was fully resolved. Also ask if the technicians left the house tidy, if they treated the customer courteously, etc. Create a 10-point customer loyalty questionnaire to be used during these calls or to send out in an email survey.
Show that you’re invested in seeing the problem fully resolved—not just in getting paid and then moving on. That’s ultimately how you win customer loyalty in the long term.
And again, that’s something that can have a meaningful effect on your revenues and your cash flow—so it’s certainly something to take seriously. If you’re ready to step up your customer service offerings, we’re ready to lend a hand. Contact Contractor in Charge today, and ask us about assistance with taking phone calls, scheduling, or other customer service musts!