Building trust in your customers
Building trust in your customers
Consumers seem to have an persistent mistrust when it comes to tradespeople. Those in the business know it is not always easy to convince customers that quality work will get done on time and on budget.
Part of this stems from the fact that when people call in a contractor it is because they are unable to fix the problem themselves and likely lack the expertise to know what is wrong. This puts them in a vulnerable position as they have no way to verify if what they are being told is the truth.
However, establishing trust in customers is not as difficult as it sounds. And a little trust can go a long way to building loyalty and, in turn, growing your business.
Characteristics of good tradesperson
Forbes states that contractors should focus on service, consistency and transparency.
The business publication looks at great service as a combination of responsiveness, timeliness and exceeding expectations. Basically, it comes down to the Golden Rule: treat the customer as you would like to be treated.
While it is easy to ensure that you are being consistent with your work, it is also important that any contractors you hire are dependable in their level of professional service. You should set standards for your company and any contractors you hire. By doing the job right the first time you won’t have to try to make up for botched work.
The third factor is transparency, which is not always easy particularly when it means you need to be honest about a mistake you made. However, you are more likely to gain a customer’s trust if you are upfront about the issue right away rather than trying to hide the problem. Transparency can also apply to the work you are going to do. Let the customer know what the problem is and how you are going to fix it. By keeping them fully informed of the process you will earn their trust.
If possible, give the consumer the power of choice. If there are a few different ways to tackle the problem let them know. Providing them options will help them to make a decision and feel a part of the solution. It empowers them. Have open communication with them and seek feedback so they know you are not just there for the money.
As you try to build up trust for your brand listen to what people are saying. If you are hearing that customers don’t trust your company try to find out why. It is much easier to solve the issue if you know what it is.
Communication has always been a key element to the contractor-customer relationship. This goes beyond telling them what work you will be doing but also extends to reliability. If you tell them you will be there at a certain day and time then keep that promise or call them ahead of time – if possible – to let them know why you can’t keep the appointment. It is also important to reschedule the missed appointment.
Well informed customers will have a list of question prepared for any contractor they are looking to hire. Be prepared for these questions and be honest when you answer. A list of sample questions has been published by the Canadian Home Builders Association.
Once the job has been completed contact the customer again and find out if they were happy with the work that was done. Again, if you get negative feedback try and get to the bottom of the problem and let the customer know that you are working to fix it. Don’t hesitate to contact them again in the future once the situation has been resolved to let them know. This may turn them into a long-term client.
How technology can help build loyalty
In the online world, building up customer loyalty includes several parts such as online reviews, content, and a reliable online presence.
Online reviews are crucial for any business. When you have completed a job, encourage your customers to write an online review of the service you provided for them. A sizable percentage of consumers trust these reviews, which can lead to more business for you.
Blogs, social media posts and other content can connect you to consumers but make sure that any content or marketing efforts you make are clear and not misleading. Provide information that customers can find value in rather than just trying to capture their attention with click bait.
Allow for some negative feedback online. Customers will be suspicious about a company that only has positive comments. Therefore, refrain from the temptation to delete any comments that are negative. Instead, use these comments to reach out to the unhappy customer and try and resolve the situation. Even if they are unreceptive, you will gain respect from other consumers who can see your efforts.
Don’t underestimate consumer knowledge. The Internet has changed things in many trades industries including how customers interact with their contractor. Most customers will go online to research the problem, the costs of repair and may even call around to several companies to get a quote on the work. So, any tradesperson trying to overcharge for materials or a made-up problem will soon be found out.
In the end building up a customer’s trust comes down to developing your people skills.
One plumber put it best when he said that just having the right skills to complete the task will not be enough to guarantee a customer’s loyalty. Instead, he said a good tradesperson needs to be polite, helpful and give a good first impression to the customer.