You were awakened last night from a sound sleep. In your dream, a disappointed customer posted a not too complimentary video. It went viral. There you were, all over the world on Facebook—millions of shares. Nightmares that could become true are the worst, aren’t they? Customer service is more important to the well-being of your business than ever before because consumers have a bigger voice.
A few years back, I was privileged to lead the service team of one of the top 50 home remodeling companies in America. This industry isn’t known for its customer service. Home remodeling is a 300 billion dollar per year industry in the USA. There are thousands of providers, and just as many stories of unhappy consumers. During my tenure, our team was recognized nationally, winning prestigious awards for our customer service. We were also the only Indiana company to ever win the BBB Torch award for ethics in business four consecutive years. Here’s how we did it.
1. We were honest. We didn’t make unrealistic promises to appease a consumer. If a part would take two weeks to procure, we told the customer 2-3 weeks. Our philosophy was under promise and over deliver.
2. We communicated. We didn’t wait for the customer to contact us. Our service people completed a signed written survey when service was finished, and our staff followed up calling every service person the next day.
3. We were prepared. We had the tools and training for every service contingency we might face.
4. We did great work. In the home remodeling industry, things can go wrong regardless how professionally it was installed. Glass windows break, bath connections leak, and siding doesn’t stand up to 120 MPH winds. There are enough potential service issues without sloppy unprofessional work.
You’re probably not in the home remodeling business, so what’s this got to do with you? Good basic customer service is the same in any industry, whether it’s B2B, B2C, or NFP. Although providing excellent customer service is hard work and it takes dedication, it’s not complicated. Be honest, communicate, come prepared, and do great work up front.
No matter what, you’ll have customer service challenges. Like I said, stuff breaks, but you can eliminate self-inflected service issues. And when you do, you’ll sleep better. Are you a master of customer service? Share with us what sets you apart.