Put yourself into this scenario: Your company just completed a project on-time and on budget, a success from your perspective. Yet you hear through the grapevine that your customer isn’t necessarily happy. How can that be?
Don’t get me wrong. In construction, achieving planned budget and schedule milestones are biggies when it comes to customer satisfaction. However, if your client in any way found it difficult to work with you, then you may not see their business again.
Every interaction you have with a customer is part of their experience with your company. Confusing information on your website, miscommunications, difficulty resolving issues, even personality conflicts can overall add up to a bad experience. And today, with many people using social media to express their opinion, news of a bad experience can spread like wildfire. How do you assure your customers have the best experience possible?
- Start at the top. Developing an effective customer experience takes focus and some heavy lifting. Without support and direction from your executive team, the best intentions to improve your customer interactions can fall by the wayside.
- Create a companywide customer-focused culture. It’s easy to think that the customer experience is owned only by your service staff, project managers, sales team and others who have direct contact with potential and current customers. Not so. Whoever answers your phone, sends out your bills, markets your services, and backs up your field staff can make or break your relationship with customers. Show everyone the part they play in the customer experience and get their feedback on how to improve it.
- Map out your customers’ journey. You may be surprised at how many opportunities you have to make a good impression on current and future customers. Take the time to walk through how customers typically engage with your company, and why they are connecting with you. This serves as a valuable framework for creating your customer experience plan of action.
- Make customer information accessible to your team. When a customer calls into your company can anyone help them? Are your service technicians well-informed about the job when they are talking to clients in the field? Technology is making it much easier to centralize and share customer information with your entire team so your conversations with clients are personalized and helpful.
- Make a good customer experience easy to share. Encourage your most loyal customers to share their experience with others. A contractor I’ve used in the past sends me a chocolate bar every Christmas with a coupon for discounted services that I can use myself or share with friends. It’s a nice reminder (I love chocolate) of the great experience I had with the company. Think how powerful something similar would be if it encouraged your best customers to share their experience on social media.
Building a great experience for your customers isn’t easy. Today’s consumers are pickier than ever and have high expectations from the start. In my next post, I’ll cover how to tackle this challenge by focusing on the things that matter most to your customers.
This post is the second in a series of articles leading up to Customer Service Week, which starts October 2. If you missed my last post, read here how customer service is the one thing you need in your construction marketing toolkit.