-No One Successful Ever
That quote is a joke.
Here’s a more serious thought, though: excellent customer service today brings in the customers of tomorrow.
And here’s another idea: excellent customer service now means happy customers now. (And happy customers mean no drama.) Do you have time for customer drama? Is that why you’re in business?
Below are ten ideas to improve your roofing company’s customer service.
Some of these suggestions will sit with you better than others. Fine. Go with those. Or tweak the ideas here to fit better with your style.
1. Tell the customer a daily start time for the job 20-30 minutes LATER than your actual planned start time.
When your team shows up a little early, your customers will either think you’re on time or you’re a little early. Either impression is good.
2. Give Starbucks cards
No, you probably shouldn’t invite your customer to go have a cup of coffee with you. (Unless you guys are getting along really well.)
Instead, give your customer a Starbucks gift card. This will immediately give the customer a positive impression of you.
Pretty much everybody likes Starbucks. (And if for some reason your customer doesn’t like Starbucks, they can pass the card onto one of their friends — making them look good.)
Have a reason for giving our customer the card. For example: “We wanted to thank you for a really positive project.” Or “Thanks for moving that outside furniture to get ready for us.” Just give a simple reason to justify the gift. (The real purpose here is to make the customer feel favorably about you, the job, and your company.)
Another idea: You could give the customer a gift card in exchange for three referrals. Or for writing a positive Yelp review. Those things are worth every penny you invest in the Starbucks card.
Starbucks cards can also be given to customers as a way of saying sorry for a problem with their job. This is a good idea, too — but hopefully you won’t need to say sorry very often.
Instead of Starbucks cards, you could also give Amazon cards, too. Those work for pretty much everyone.
3. Have your crew leave the job site extremely clean. Especially on the last day.
This may be a no-brainer. But customers will appreciate having their houses more clean with your guys around than without them.
Have your crew go out of their way to clean up. Sweep the driveway and front walk even if those areas are not really affected by the job.
Some companies offer window cleaning as part of a re-roof job. Consider doing that — or some other similar service — that you can add on top.
4. Be a “real person” with your customers
My dentist’s office sends out a newsletter every other month with a baking contest in it. His customers submit recipes. I’m personally not interested in baking at all, but this reglar feature makes me think of the dental staff as people, not just machines that do work on my teeth.
When I go to the dentist, the dessert contest always gives me something to chat about.
Be a person around your customers.
Give them reasons to remember and refer you. You’re not just a roofer — and you’re not just a robot with out a personality.
What is something about you that is interesting outside of your profession? It can be as straightforward as your family, your travel, your hobbies (boating, fishing, etc.)
Of course, don’t focus too much on this side stuff at the expense of the actual job. I’d get pretty annoyed pretty fast if my dentist wanted to talk about apple strudel instead of my teeth.
5. Attitude — Yours and Your Employees’
This one is kind of obvious, but encourage a positive, friendly attitude in your employees.
Have your employees treat every customer great. Have your employees think about each job as if it’s not just any customer’s roof, but a job for a celebrity or someone notable.
6. Have written rules about customer service for your employees
Make it a system. WRITE IT DOWN.
Come up with with ten rules or guidelines for your employees to follow. Show your employees. Put it up.
Some rules can be general, like: “Treat every customer like they’re our most important one.”
Other rules can be based on certain situations, such as: “If the customer is upset about anything, don’t argue with them. Listen to them politely, then call me and fill me in. Don’t get into arguments or discussions with our customers.”
7. Send holiday cards to your current and past customers
Oh, wait, maybe this is more an idea to get referrals.
Either way, it is a way to keep your company in customers’ minds.
Any holiday can work. You could send cards for Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Easter, etc.
8. Check in with the customer during the job
A good waiter stops by your table during the meal to ask how everything is going and whether you need anything else.
Of course, the waiter is trying to get a bigger tip. That’s okay. And just like a top-notch waiter, we provide superb service — and we get paid for it.
Before you reach out and ask about the job, talk to your foreman first. You don’t want to get blindsided by an angry customer if you can avoid it.
9. Hang tough when dealing with tough customers
We’ve all had them: the overly picky customer. The customer who needs more hand holding. The nervous customer who is quick to find something wrong.
A difficult customer is not an excuse to give up on customer service, though. They are tough to deal with — so you don’t try any more?
(Does that work in sports? Your team faces a tough competitor — so they just give up?)
Of course, there are limits to what is appropriate. There is such a thing as a too difficult, “bad” customer.
How do you provide a very difficult customer with good service? Well, you can try to listen more, go out of your way to communicate with them more. But if it’s getting to be too much — if they’re sucking up too much of your time and energy — then just “work” your customer service system. Follow your company’s policies (from #6 above).
Do what you normally do — and then don’t worry about it. Leave the job site extra clean, send them a Starbucks card, check in, and so forth. Do your “customer service” system — and then move on with your day.
10. Set yourself apart from your competitors in the customer service department
An example: consider using a mobile bathroom, so your employees don’t have to bother your customers.
Get creative. What other ideas can you come up with to provide excellent customer service — and to stand out from other companies in your area?
Please use these ideas. Ratchet up your customer service. Let us know how it goes.
In this economy and in this business, we all have to get and keep customers. Good customer service will help you do both.