Google, Yelp, Facebook and Angie's List have made customer service and feedback more important than ever in the home services industry. Is your company doing what it can to inspire five-star reviews and better word-of-mouth?
It’s estimated that 90% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase now and that even one bad review can prevent a good chunk — nearly one fourth — of web users from pulling the trigger. If you own a home services business in 2017, you already know that customer feedback is a powerful double-edged sword. Glowing four and five-star reviews can turn your Yelp page into a persuasive advertisement for your company... and a one-star review can be a major turnoff.
Unfortunately, there are no reliable shortcuts to improving your company’s reputation (online and otherwise). Instead, business owners are advised to take a close look at their customer service practices and make sure that their company is doing what it can to meet — and surpass — its customers’ expectations.
Below, we take a look at four critical customer service tips that every home services business owner should gut check when receiving less-than-stellar customer feedback.
Intake, Intake, Intake
In the home services industry, it’s easy to become preoccupied with tech performance when evaluating customer service. However, too many businesses overlook the first point of contact most customers have with their company: Their customer service representatives.
When customers call your business, does someone pick up? Are they friendly with the customer? Accommodating? Do your customers hang up after calling your company feeling confident that they made the right choice? Bad calls happen, but if you find your CSRs regularly provide lackluster service, training or even new hires may be called for.
At Thorton & Grooms in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Director of Special Projects, IT and Training Jodie Theis believes that a lot of home services businesses don’t take the time to find and hire CSRs who have the personality and composure to handle customer calls. “To work for a people-oriented company, you have to love people,” Theis says. “You don't call a plumbing company because you wanna say, ‘Hi and how's your day?’ You call the plumbing company because you're having a problem. If that bothers you and angry people aren't your thing, it's probably not good for you to be a CSR.”
Your techs have only one chance to make a good first impression with your customers. Are they doing what they can to put your company’s best foot forward? Consider the various things you and your techs can do to show your customers they-ve chosen the right company.
Do your techs…?
- Greet each customer with a smile, a handshake and eye contact?
- Carry an extra shirt (or two) in their truck to stay presentable?
- Swear or use coarse language when speaking with customers?
- Use slip covers on their feet to prevent tracking in dirt?
- Keep paperwork organized and presentable to customers?
Some of these things may seem small but, cumulatively, they can add up to a comfortable experience for the customer that helps foster trust and loyalty.
Keep Customers in the Loop
No matter what kind of services your company provides, it’s a good bet that your customers do not have a firm grasp on the plumbing or HVAC issue they're facing. That is why it’s important for techs to keep their customers’ perspective in mind when explaining what the issue is. What is the layman’s way of explaining the issue? How common is the problem? What can be done to avoid similar issues in the future?
Making sure your customers understand their plumbing or HVAC issue is key to empowering them to make informed decisions about their property. Engaging with customers in this way also signals that your tech is approachable, knowledgeable, and not trumping up the service call with a bunch of obscure technical terms.
Always Follow Up
After your techs have successfully completed a job, what is your company doing to make sure expectations were met and encourage positive feedback? Do your customers receive a call or email the day after their service? Are they sent satisfaction surveys? Do they receive seasonal service reminders, newsletters, discounts and deals, or holiday greetings? Customers may not respond to every retention campaign effort, but they can appreciate the feeling that they’ve found a proactive company that cares about service and is ready to partner with them for any of their future plumbing or HVAC needs.
Growing your business can be difficult and the marketplace is always becoming more challenging. With the right strategies and technologies in hand, however, even small home service businesses can find the foothold they need to maintain an upward trajectory, expand their earnings and thrive in their community. Learn more with ServiceTitan's "How to Grow Your Business" blog series.