When people ask me what I consider to be the best marketing tool for construction companies, hands down my response is good customer service. Why? Because it leads to repeat business. It also generates positive word of mouth about your company. And according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising.
Many companies claim to have great customer service. But as far as customers are concerned, actions speak way louder than words. How do you make sure that your customer service is much more than just lip services?
- Make sure your marketing includes a customer satisfaction plan. Designate a part of your marketing dollars specifically to delighting your customers. Perhaps you surprise your clients with a few extras, such as free design consulting. Or send them a hand written thank you note, with a small gift at the end of a project. Promising 100 percent, while delivering 110 percent is the key. Read a few more ideas to get your brainstorming started in my previous post “Does your marketing include a customer satisfaction plan.”
- Get employees on board. Each of your employees is an ambassador for your company. How they interact with your clients will paint the public’s image of your business—good or bad. As writer and speaker Mark Matteson illustrated it at a Sage-sponsored webinar for HVAC contractors: “We are all vice presidents of first impression.”
- View customer complaints as a listening and learning opportunity. No matter how great your company’s intentions, mistakes and misunderstandings happen that can cause unhappy customers. When a complaint comes in, take time to listen to your customer and show him or her that you genuinely care. It’s how you respond to these tough situations that can turn an unhappy customer into one of your most loyal. For tips on how to handle customer complaints, check out my post “Turning customer complaints into future referrals.”
- Learn from other contractors. The best way to improve your customer service is to see what works with other contractors and make it your own. Modern Niagara is a good example of a company that is laser focused on customer service. See how they are using technology to take customer service to its highest level.
Good customer service is vital to your business. In construction, it’s also a major way that you can differentiate yourself. Give people a positive reason to talk about you by providing great customer service. It’s the best marketing you can buy.
Customer service week starts Oct. 3. Leading up to that event, I will continue to explore other aspects of customer service from a construction perspective.