Customer Relations

Customer relations can make or break a business, and mean the difference between more peaceful days/nights or more headaches.  We are here to help improve your customer relations, to make for an easy job well done at the end.

First Contact - Phone or Internet

First Contact - Phone or Internet

This is pretty easy and straightforward.  You'll need to get some basic info:

  • Customer name

  • Phone number

  • Address 

  • Email address especially if you email quotes

  • Short description of the project to be completed

  • Optional: ask for a budget if known-could make mention to get a budget in mind for estimate meeting

Try being friendly and informed because this is the first impression after all.  

Handyman on the Phone

Estimate or Consultation Meeting

 
Paying Customer

      Estimates, consultations, quotes, meetings, or whatever you refer to them as.  The focus is to collect as much info about the project and the customer too

Information like:

  • dimensions

  • access to the work area

  • an idea of colors and product selection

  • problems to solve

  • goals to accomplish

  • Utilities marked for outside work

You'll need this info (possibly more depending on your profession) to create an estimate whether that's in your head on the spot or done later on a computer.   

  • Try not to give your customers to many options when suggesting products- makes for harder decisions and leads to customer fizzling out.

  • Budget- getting a customer's budget during this meeting is crucial and can save you both time.  If their budget is not matching your price then there is no need to move forward.  Unless there can be changes made to the project to meet the budget.

  • The quicker the better- but don't make mistakes.  If you can quote on the spot; perfect, close the deal, and move on.  If it's a more involved project, it's best to work on the quotes ASAP while the info is fresh in your head.

  • Bring a notebook for notes or a tablet with a stylus.  Titled note pages make it easy to go back and search for clients as well as have the project pictures on the same device.

Design Meeting

 

      More complex or design-oriented projects might require a design meeting, maybe two.  Proposing design and product choices can be tricky.  Giving customers too many options or missing their vision can make or break the sale at this point.  Professions like

  • remodelers

  • custom home builders

  • architects

  • landscape designers/architects

  • painters

and others would be some of the few to most likely have design meetings.  

     

     Design meetings take the info gathered from the estimate and create a proposal to fit the customers

  • needs or wants

  • problems to solve

  • goals to accomplish

     

      Typically a graphic design, drawing, and/or  3-D rendering is presented which helps customers see their

  • vision

  • easier to make notes and changes

  • ensure designer & customer are on the same page  

  • professional- aids in selling the job

 

      More complicated projects or picky customers may require multiple meetings to narrow down their vision.  For that reason, some companies choose to charge for meetings.  This makes the customers a little more decisive during the estimate and designing stage.  

     Charging for your meetings may eliminate the number of potential customers (tire kickers) but, you're more likely to win projects that you charge for the initial meeting.  This shows the customer is serious about their project and not just shopping around for quotes.

Communication

 
Financial Consultation
Mobile Phone

A simple reminder such as a text, email, or phone call can go a long way to keep customers happy and informed.

        Communication is a very important part of the business.  Not only communication with customers but employees, suppliers, product representatives, and anybody else for that matter.  It can make or break a company if all the pieces aren't communicating well.  

        Communicating with your customers should be easy and routine.  Simple texts to update them are great

  • Running late

  • Behind in the office

  • Emailed that over

  • Be by next week

  • The crew is on the way.

  • etc.

These simple reminders or calls can go a long way in improving customer satisfaction.  

      Don't overpromise and under-deliver:  If you think you'll be done tomorrow tell them the following day just in case.  Now if you do take longer its no problem and if you finish when you thought, its early to your customer which is great.

    Things happen and go wrong quite often; when they do it's best to notify the customer as soon as possible.  Even if you can take care of it quickly or not.  Just letting them know what's going on and how it is going to be handled will give them peace of mind.  This also goes a long way in establishing trust with your customers. 

 

 

Scheduling 

 

       Scheduling can be tough depending on the profession: for instance, landscapers have to work around weather conditions, while remodelers can generally work regardless of weather conditions.  Meanwhile, project timelines, employee call-offs, material delivery setbacks, and other unforeseen issues can push your project timelines back even further.  

       Scheduling projects with some cushion time in between helps to cut down on project back up,  Eliminate having to call customers or tell them they are being moved back a couple of days or week.  If your average job is a day, then less cushion time would be needed compared to project timelines of weeks or more-longer projects can get behind more.  Projects are prolonged due to a few things like:

  • Add on- during projects, customers make changes and additions which add to the original timeline

  • Materials- late deliveries, mishandled products, wrong colors, etc.

  • Weather- contractors working outside may have to work around weather conditions

  • Workforce- employee call-offs, quitting, personal issues to deal with

      If you can try to schedule material deliveries as far in advance as possible.  This will cut down on issues and improve profit.  Having the materials on-site beforehand is another great benefit you get to 

  • inspect products

  • make adjustments if needed

  • get customer approval if needed

  • crews aren't going to be waiting for materials

 

       It's always a good idea to call about a product you are not familiar with.  Sometimes things can be discontinued, special order, quantity specific, and other certain requirements that can add to your cost.  For instance, if you need 50 square feet of product A but it only comes in 100 square feet increments then you should charge your customer the full amount, or hopefully, you can use it somewhere else.

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