Most tradies I know underestimate the value of client service, often resulting in low revenue and difficulty in handling customer problems. In my own personal experience, I found that the #1 thing I can do to create client loyalty is to deliver MASSIVE value to my clients as quickly as possible.
Well, that doesn’t sound so easy. Unless you have vast experience dealing with numerous clients, finding out what they really want from you involves trial and error. You simply can’t afford to make a mistake and risk losing customers.
When it comes to dealing with customers, the only real standard is the old mantra: “the customer is always right.” In your trades business, you will encounter customers with more extreme personalities than in your personal life. If you want to grow your customer base and maximize revenue generation, try incorporating these 10 Commandments of Customer Service. Follow them, and you’ll have clients eating out of your hands:
1. Don’t expect your clients to tolerate service mistakes.
2. Always do what you say you will, when you say you will do it.
3. Never, ever make a promise that you’re not absolutely sure you can keep—promise-breaking is the same as lying.
4. Always write down your promises rather than just trying to remember them.
5. Remember that unacknowledged communication is the most profound from of disrespect.
6. Reply to every inbound email or phone call within half the time your clients expect you to reply.
7. Review your task list before the end of the day to make sure you haven’t broken any promises.
8. If it appears that you won’t be able to keep a promise, re-negotiate before the deadline.
9. Always use auto-responders and voice mail messages to communicate your absence so you don’t appear non-responsive.
10. Communication technology problems are never acceptable excuses for breaking promises, so make sure your computers and phones are working correctly.
Although you can usually prevent conflict and discord by following the 10 Commandments, there will inevitably be some clients who are exceedingly difficult to work with and impossible to please. That’s when you have a decision to make: Is the money they’re paying me worth the hassles they’re creating?
Every once in a while, I have to fire a client. It’s rare, but it happens. So remember: If someone just isn’t jiving with you, or if they’re abusive or otherwise causing you undue emotional distress, it’s okay to pull the plug. Just keep in mind that if you find yourself doing this a lot, the problem may have something to do with you.