It’s too easy to deprioritize customer service when you’re overworked and you don’t have a large enough team to step in and help. And given today’s market, when the jobs are rolling in with little effort, it’s hardly motivating to put extra work into a part of your business that isn’t production.
But, the really important, really overlooked fact is that your customers are buying more than new countertops when they sign up with you. They are paying for a whole heap of things: your expertise, their peace of mind, a smooth experience from start to finish, quality products, feeling like they aren’t being ripped off, the list goes on and on.
The experience you provide will determine if that customer writes a good review, refers you to new customers, and/or books you for future jobs. By offering a less than stellar experience, you’re really only hurting yourself in the long run.
On the other hand, you can choose to provide an amazing experience for your customers and leave them so thrilled they can’t help but refer you to everyone they know looking for new countertops. You’ll reap many rewards, my friends. Like more customers, more money, and less complaints! Let’s discuss some areas for improvement.
The first impression
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we’re definitely living in a digital age. First impressions are no longer limited to your first in-person meeting. Think wider and bigger here. Do you have a website? Social media? Reviews? Even better, try to think of how you make buying decisions.
Me? When I’m going to spend my hard-earned precious money, you better believe that I check out the website, the reviews, pictures of the product from other everyday folks like me. And then I want to know what to expect when I do purchase. Is it complicated to sign up? Will I have to wait a month? Is customer service helpful? I’m full of questions and I’d bet my hard-earned precious money that your customers are too. I find these answers during my first interactions with the company, usually well before I speak with an actual person.
The point is, it’s good to have a process in place for all the ways you can make a first impression. Figure out what you want your shop’s tone to be and create a process that guarantees that language consistently. Whether it’s a showroom walk-in, a first time caller, or a website visitor, you’ll want to come across as helpful, friendly, and professional at the very least.
Sometimes the templator is the face of your business. Sorry sales folks, we all know you’re trying to sell us something! The templator, however, is not a salesperson. Recently, at one of the ISFA Mixers, this topic came up and it was really great to hear. The fabricators shared that customers are more likely to trust the templator’s opinion. They are the experts after all!
The fabricators in the discussion also made some insightful suggestions about utilizing this situation. Arm your templator with the skills to talk (or upsell) with homeowners easily and professionally. This will put your customers at ease and leave them better prepared for the rest of the process.
Communication is key
Ideally, you have a pretty great process in place for your fabrication. Do you have customer communication steps at every part of that process? There are obvious ones like letting them know when you will template and install. But, think about expanding that to more details during the fab process. This kind of transparent communication instills trust and confidence, and most importantly, sets the right expectations.
It’s safe to say that your average customer knows absolutely nothing about stone fabrication. Without you to educate them or keep them updated with the steps, they are left to uncertainty and their own expectations. This leads to impatience, irritation, and a higher likelihood that there will be complaints about the final install.
Avoid the painful costs of reworks and time wasted comforting upset customers by adding simple steps to your process. Communicate clearly throughout the entire job to create happy customers who will gladly leave you a review when you ask.
Install is not the last step
Countertops in, customer paid. Time to move on, right? Wrong! This is an amazing time to set up a checklist for following up. Your customer finally has the beautiful countertops they were dreaming of when they first contacted you. Ideally, they are happy.
It could be as simple as reaching out a few days later to ask how their experience was, asking for a review on whatever platform you prefer, or letting them know about your referral program. Get creative with this easy opportunity to get new customers just by reaching out.
Better customer service means more money
Hopefully by now, it’s clear that spending a little time developing your customer service can improve not only your customers’ experience but also your growth. Taking care of your customers will organically result in referrals and more sales. With a little extra effort, you can get great reviews for a further reach. It’s the closest to free marketing that you will ever get.