You say you offer “Great customer service. You don’t.

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jeffries construction satisfaction survey
Customer satisfaction surveys can help you track your success (and earn testimonials when you get it right) but don’t brag — deliver. (Survey from Michael Jeffries.)

Let’s get this one out of the way right away. You don’t offer great customer service. And you certainly have no business saying you do, anywhere in your marketing material.

If you really have great customer service, your customers will say it on their own. If they volunteer (without prompting, bribing, or gimmickry) that there’s really great service, they’ll say it. It doesn’t happen too often, frankly. The customers may in fact be content, but the wow stuff generally doesn’t happen when you are delivering something like monster buildings or bathroom renovations.Too many things can screw up and, heck, we aren’t in the hotel/hospitality business, and your skilled tradespeople (or engineers) weren’t necessarily hired for their client-relationship skills, but because they know their tasks/jobs well (or you just need warm bodies to do the work.)

Don’t get me wrong.You should”offer great customer service and if you do — and the experience you provide reflects truly outstanding service — you’ll reap the rewards with client loyalty, testimonials and respect. You’ll certainly enhance your word-of-mouth reputation and repeat/referral business (the most effective business development methods).

So, clearly, you should give priority to enhancing your customer service. The challenge, however, will be to go beyond the basics; the essentials of not providing bad customer service, to reach exceptional achievements — and the reason this is hard to do is because there are so many moving parts and people for virtually any project we have in our industry.

So, sure, set policies about site cleanup and management. Set rules and systems so that subtrades and front-line employees can resolve complaints and answer questions promptly, and (if you need to set some rules regarding “extras” that  may require change-order authorizations) make sure your clients are well-informed about the processes and reasons for them at the job’s start.

Certainly, think of little details — like satisfying yourself that loud blaring radio really provides more entertainment than irritation to clients or co-workers, work schedules accommodate client needs and obligations (and if these are important are planned in advance) and you can, if possible, surprise with extras that provide added value but not much cost, so you don’t need to ding them for irritating extra charges.

Read the books, articles, seminars, and so on about customer service. Visit the greats in the field — namely luxury hotel chains or high-end retailers. Listen for the signals you have it right.

But if I hear you ever say your business offers “great customer service” I’ll know you don’t. Because if you need to say it, you don’t get it.

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