How to Deal with Customer Problems and Dissatisfaction
How do you grow restoration business when you can’t go a day without at least one customer call expressing dissatisfaction over something. The nature of damage repair is filled with unhappy people facing dire circumstances not of their choosing who are quick to express what dissatisfied them most.
I think most contractors agree that the complaints they typically hear from customers are reasonable and over issues of the contractor’s own doing.
Customers are unhappy over a lot things:
- Additional damage or breakage we caused to unaffected materials.
- Poor communication.
- Not doing what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it.
- Inferior work we try to pass off as acceptable.
- Not ordering a specialty item on time thus causing a job delay
- Not being on the job site daily
- Ordering or using the wrong materials.
- Taking an unreasonable amount of time to start or complete the project.
- Poor employee behavior on site.
- Oil from our vehicles on their driveway.
Doesn’t that pretty much cover it?
When customer dissatisfaction occurs what should you do about it?
Business guru Michael Gerber offers a 7 step process in his book The E-Myth Contractor that can’t be improved upon. Here it is.
- Always listen to what your Customers are saying. Never interrupt while they’re saying it!
- After you’re sure you’ve heard all of your Customer’s complaint, make absolutely certain you understand what he or she said. You could ask, “Can I repeat what you’ve just told me, Mrs. Jones, to make absolutely certain I understand.”
- Secure your Customer’s acknowledgement that you have heard his or her complaint accurately.
- Apologize for whatever your Customer thinks you did that dissatisfied him or her even if you didn’t do it!
- After your Customer has acknowledged your apology, ask exactly what would make him or her happy.
- Repeat what your Customer told you would make him or her happy, and get his or her acknowledgement that you heard it correctly.
- If at all possible, give your Customer exactly what he or she asked for!
Isn’t that exactly how you would want to be treated when someone does something that dissatisfies you?
In today’s marketplace the only thing that matters and the only differentiator that sets you apart from other contractors is a satisfied customer. Every customer and each insurance professional expects you to provide a quality finish – that’s your job! They each expect you to float drywall seams so they are not visible, or properly match existing texture to freshly applied texture, or paint cut-ins that are straight. That’s a given. What matters and sets you apart from others is a happy and satisfied customer.
But we all know that along the way problems WILL arise so handling them successfully is the key to customer satisfaction.
Creating several problem-to-solution scenarios in this blog would be too lengthy. You could however role play various scenarios with your key management team as a training exercise. Try applying Gerber’s 7 step process to any of the bulleted issues that dissatisfy customers listed at the beginning.
Success at pulling customers back into a happy and satisfied place when you have disappointed them takes the right attitude and the right steps. Practicing and developing the skills needed to accomplish this can produce happier customers and more satisfied owners.
In the end, this is the only differentiator that matters in our industry – a satisfied customer. It will make or break your reputation and either accelerate your growth or hinder it.
What’s it going to be?
Reference: 9 Month Coaching Plan – The Business Transformer – Double, Even Triple Your Business in 18 – 24 Months
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