WHY CUSTOMER SERVICE MATTERS TO SEALED, LLC
As a small owner-operated business, we believe that one of the key predictors of success is our ability to be seen as a company which offers consistently excellent customer service. And here is how we define it: Customer service excellence is the perception by each customer that they have received the right solution, administered with quality, completed in a timely manner and priced at a good value.
Note that we frame it as a perception by others. All of us may believe that we go to great lengths to offer outstanding service, but ultimately customer service is defined by how you, the customer feel.
Great customer service has many other attributes. It includes respecting each customer, paying attention to their needs and requests, and offering sufficient information so that there are clear expectations.
Since many of our clients are also business people, we would like to share five keys elements we follow to ensure the best possible service to homeowners who have residential poured foundation issues that we may be able to solve:
ARE WE A MATCH? – In our first conversation or visit with you, we must identify what you need and what we offer. SEALED fixes cracks in poured foundations using expanding polyurethane and carbon fiber products. If we cannot solve your problem or offer a particular service you seek, we are better off helping direct you to contractors that can. We may not get the job, but if we provide referrals to others better suited for the work, you will remember us for our honesty, and over time we will receive referrals as well. Trying to fit our round solution into someone’s square problem almost always results in disappointment. In whatever business you are a part of, if you try to land every job, you will spend more time, have more warranty calls, and you will not enhance your reputation in the marketplace, And if you are a local business, believe me, the word will spread.
As an example, At SEALED our techniques and products are designed to address leaks and cracks in poured foundations. We could try and patch a leak in a cinder-block or stone foundation, but we and you are better off if we send you to people who make that work their specialty.
BE HONEST – Don’t over-promise and attempt to minimize either how long the work will take or what the cost will be. If there are obvious complications, such as cracks located directly behind a stud, a furnace or the water heater, we address them at the outset with why the job will involve additional preparation and how that will affect the cost. We have found that homeowners respect honesty, perhaps because they don’t always experience it from others they have done business with. And we are clear about any work we don’t do. Getting the scope of the project clearly identified is essential.
LISTEN ACTIVELY – Homeowners have a tendency to downplay the situation. When we hear that someone has “a simple, two-foot long crack”, our ears perk up as there is at least a 50:50 chance that we will find a significantly larger project. SEALED will always ask you if all wall coverings have been removed or if items have been removed from shelves that may block the view. We may ask for you to send pictures or we may decide to make a visit before talking about solutions and scope. In your business, pay attention and probe to get all the information you require at the front end of every project.
UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE – Sometimes we work with folks who like to hang out, watch us work, and ask questions. That’s fine, but we also have many clients who will just let us work uninterrupted. You may be busy with other tasks, leave for a long stretch or give us access to an unoccupied home. When we do see you, or you call, we explain what we have done and what the next steps are. And if something new or unexpected has arisen – and it will – we contact you and explain how that will affect the work and potentially our bid. No surprises is our motto.
BE RESPONSIVE – It can be tough when you doing the actual work, handling inbound queries or requests for inspections and bids and trying to get to a home when you said you would.
For a business you are involved with, develop a system that gives you an opportunity to return calls, emails, and texts in a timely fashion. At SEALED we don’t try to book appointments with just the minimal time for travel between appointments. We build in a cushion so that if we need to get gas, grab a bite, or return several calls, we can do that and still have time to arrive on-time for the next client. And if we are going to be more than 5 minutes late, we will call and advise you. That’s right, 5 minutes.
Develop a customer service excellence plan for your company. Commit it to paper and revise the plan as you gain experience and encounter difficult situations. And be sure that every employee knows and understands what your company stands for. You cannot discuss this topic too often with the people you work with.
None of us can improve our financial results by staring at costs and gross profit figures all day long. But I do know that a strong and continuous commitment to customer service excellence will improve our bottom line. And yours.