I recently returned from a sales summit targeted towards the home improvement industry. The audience, which ranged from owners to sales representatives and other personnel, received rapid-fire information from all angles for three days. I came away with dozens of insights for companies that have anything to do with consumer sales. Let’s face it, that’s what you’re doing. A customer could choose you or any large chain across town. You want them to choose you—you’re selling them on your service.
What it all comes down to once the service has been provided is this: Customer experience.
“Enhance your customer experience,” says Caleb Nelson, president/owner, Destination Motivation. “This has taken over price and product as the key brand differentiator.”
That’s quite a statement if you ask me and one that is spot on. Just think back on positive interactions you’ve had with companies. It’s likely been constant communication throughout the process. Did a windshield not come in because your supplier’s website was down for a week? Tell them. Most people will understand. What will drive them nuts is leaving them wondering where they stand on your job list.
Speaking of relaying information, Mark Highbaugh, CEO of Malimar Interactive, stresses the importance of a comprehensive messaging approach that includes text messages. Highbaugh reported that 95% of every text message sent is read, while more than 50% of calls go unanswered, and an increasing amount of emails sit unread.
He has a point. Anyone can say they have the best product or provide superior customer service. But what will get those customers to come back the next time they need a windshield replacement? What will make them tell their friends about you? Or post it on social media? Or leave you a review?
“Deliver a great customer experience. That’s how you get a great customer review,” says Brian Kaskavalciyan, co-owner of gFour marketing.
But how do you recover from a negative review? You head it off before it happens. At one home improvement company, every customer gets an email after the job with a letter from the CEO. It states: “If for any reason you weren’t thrilled, I want to know.” The company simply does not get negative feedback posted about them by employing this method.
Notice the email doesn’t say pleased. It says thrilled. And that response goes right to the CEO. That’s quite the pledge. But if you come out and make this bold promise, make sure you can deliver.
You know the company down the street that you hate? Research their process and find out how they treat the vehicle owner from start to finish. What are they doing to smoothen the process for customers?
Ask your customers what you can do better. That will go a long way proving you’re a company that listens and wants to improve.