"As far as customers are concerned you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back - perhaps even to make or break the company." - Unknown
As the owner of a construction company, I often heard negative comments about the industry and contractors in general. One comment I heard over and over again and still hear, even in another part of the country, is, "No one will call us back." Or they tell me, "When we do find someone do to the work, they don't show up when they say they will or they don't follow-through." These negative comments affect our entire industry and they affect each one of us as owners.
The best part about these negative comments and the image many customers have of our industry is that we can change it. We can create and grow companies that strive to develop excellent customer service and follow-through. My mission for our company was to provide quality craftsmanship and detailed project communication and follow-through every time. I built my company with a commitment to being the type of company that followed-through every time and that made every effort to DELIGHT my customers in order to keep them coming back. We can only be as successful as our follow-through and our commitment to DELIGHTING! our clients.
In today's business world, there are many choices. Customers can pick and choose who they want to do business with and who they will refer to their friends. There are many companies to choose from and if we don't stop and take a look at why a customer should do business with us or what they want from a contractor - we may lose them to someone who takes the time to figure it out.
Being in business is not easy - it's work - hard work. Yet it can be the most rewarding thing in the world. But in order for us to grow and to reap the rewards of our risks, we need to put our customers first. The secret to success is to treat all customers as if your world revolves around them. And it should revolve around them because without them you don't have a business.
Some Ways to Delight Your Clients and Keep Them Coming Back:
- Return all phone calls and e-mails within 24 hours. Customers want to know you are responsive to their needs. If you are away, leave it on your voicemail.
- Get to know your customers. Customers want to know you care. Be interested in them, ask questions and get to know them. You are dealing with something very important to them - their home. Treat them as friends you care about and let them know you appreciate them.
- Deal with problems immediately. Customers don't expect us to be perfect. They just want to know that we'll fix problems in a timely manner when they arise. Ignoring or putting off dealing with an issue only makes it bigger. It also annoys and frustrates the customer. Angry customers are not good for the bottom line. Be proactive when it comes to problems or mistakes - your clients will be delighted that you did.
- Say thank you. Write thank you cards, send a gift at the end of the project or find another way to let your clients know you appreciate them. They are important.
- Ask your clients what they need. We sat down with clients at the beginning of a project and asked them what their needs were. Often we can delight our clients by doing very simple things - all we need to know is what those things are.
- Have fun. Being in business for your self should be fun. If we are having fun and loving what we do - our clients feel it and it's contagious.
As you work in your business this month, look for new ways to DELIGHT your customers.