Being the owner of a business — especially in construction — means there’s always a lot on your plate. Not only are you the face of the company, but everyone is looking to you for guidance, expertise, and learned experience. You’ve got a crew and projects to manage, jobs to oversee, and people to pay.
Because it’s your business, you also might be thinking that you’ve already got the whole customer service thing in the bag.
Sure, you’re charismatic and honestly know the best way to sell your services and your company. Though those things are probably true, that doesn’t mean that a customer service team can’t provide value to your construction company. While it may just seem like another expense, focusing more on customers could be your key to success.
Don’t believe us? Keep reading and see the many reasons a customer service team is essential and how it could positively impact your company.
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Does my construction company really need customer service?
The short answer is yes, and there are a few great reasons why.
Unfortunately, we no longer live in the simple times of horse-drawn carriages and falcon mail. Anyone you interact with nowadays has the power to dramatically affect your business because everyone is a potential client.
Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you’ve had a long day — you spent most of it on-site, got caught in traffic, your spouse called and said the dishwasher is leaking again, you lost a contract, and got over-quoted by your electrician. You’re tired, and as you’re closing up the office, you get one last call. A woman wants an addition built onto her house, something you could do with your eyes closed (but don’t because, you know, safety).
The lady on the phone is a bit short with you, and without thinking, you snap at her and hang up the phone. Her first reaction might be to go to Yelp or Google and leave you a nasty 1-star review for your service, and she’s not even a paying customer.
This is the prime reason customer focus is essential. Having a team of people in place whose primary job is to ensure your business is accurately presenting themselves can help keep your company’s image and even score you more clients.
Moreover, there’s data to prove that a customer service team can financially improve your business. It’s been found that companies with a customer success team have better customer retention. And it’s more likely that your customers will end up spending upwards of 67% more money with your company the second time around following excellent customer service.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some significant reasons for adding a customer service team to your construction company.
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7 reasons your company needs top-notch customer service
To make this easy (we know you’re busy), we’ve summarized the top reasons why customer focus is so essential for your construction company:
Your customer service is the face of your brand
People — and by people, we mean customers — will make a judgment call on your business based on their first interaction with it. Like in our previous example, if they have a terrible first impression they’ll probably take all their dollars somewhere else… and we don’t want that now, do we?
Humans, not robots, run your company
At least that’s what you want your customers to think. By adding this simple human point of contact, you’re showing your customers that you care. Having a dedicated team of people who are ready and willing to answer their long list of questions that range from average to admittedly a bit silly can go a long way to building trust.
Holding onto your customers
By having excellent customer service in place, you’re ensuring that your customers are having a positive experience with your company. And a positive experience is more valuable than gold for your business (though, sure, some gold would be nice too). When your customers leave any interaction with your company with a positive impression, then you’re ensuring great reviews for your business and even better word of mouth.
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Happy customers mean happy referrals
Speaking of word of mouth, having someone find your company through a traditional ad is great, but nothing beats someone coming to you after Debrah wouldn’t stop talking about how much she loves her new patio. Word of mouth is an undeniably powerful (and frequently under-tapped) resource, and making sure that your customers have a consistently amazing experience is what a customer success team is for.
You need loyalty (in your DNA)
Brand loyalty has been a thing since, well, forever. If you love your Nike shoes, odds are you’ll keep buying more and more until you no longer have space in your closet for anything else.
If you can convert people from customers to advocates, you’re buying yourself loyalty and, in turn, a consistent and reliable form of income. Customer service is a big part of that. Having proper and professional customer-facing voices that help provide a human element can lead to loyalty.
More money in your pocket
Who doesn’t want that right? The numbers don’t lie.
Imagine if half your customers decided they, in fact, did want that second addition on their house — that’s no small chunk of change. But, with poor customer service, 58% of people from the same survey say they’d never use that service again, which is no small number either.
Better insight into your customers’ needs
Here’s the truth: potential customers don’t care what you think of your brand. What they do care about is how they perceive it.
Here’s what we mean: Let’s say your fantastic customer service team is working with a potential customer — let’s call her Janice. Janice previously hired a similar company that claimed their work was high-quality. But, she explains that their work was less than satisfactory. Your customer service team can make a note of this on Janice’s file and inform you and the team that she has a keen eye for quality work.
This makes it easier to provide tailored custom experiences for your customers without you having to do any extra work. All your customer service people have to do is ask the right question.
How to provide first-class customer service for your construction business
Here’s the million-dollar question.
So you agree now that customer service is crucial for the success of your construction company and you’re ready to move to phase two — how do you make sure you’re providing fantastic customer service for your customers?
We’ve got those answers too. Here are a few simple steps to get running your customer service team.
Step 1 – Hire the team
That one’s a bit obvious, we know, but it’s still important. Whether it’s a team of one or 10, it’s vital that you have designated people to be your first line of defense with customers. Their one job is to be the face (or voice) of your company.
As a result, it’s equally as important that you hire the right people for the job. While hiring your mother-in-law may seem like a good idea, if she doesn’t know how to use a computer and tends to get frustrated by phones, she may be better off getting lunch with the gals each week rather than working for you.
Look for people who share the qualities your customers find valuable. Finding people who are patient, empathetic, professional, hard-working, and communicate clearly will go a long way to providing that excellent service for your customers.
Step 2 – Instill your company values in your customer service team
This is extremely important. Your team can’t accurately talk about your company if they have no idea what it stands for or why it cares for its customers. Making sure you’re onboarding them properly will ensure they’re ready to advocate for your brand.
Make sure your team knows your services inside and out. Take them on sight visits, to purchase new equipment, and add them to meetings. Steep them in the tea of your business so they could talk about what you do in their sleep.
Step 3 – Establish your customer service team’s role in the company
Though you may have a great idea of what this team is doing, they may not. If you’re not sure, ask yourself this: What is the key function of this team, and what are you hoping they will accomplish for your business?
Once you know, express that to the team so they know exactly what they should be aiming for every day that they come into work.
Step 4 – Set your team up for success
A customer service team is nothing without the right tools at their disposal. If your company does a lot of business over the phone, make sure you’re providing your team with open phone lines and access to the right software to monitor those calls.
Alternatively, if a lot of your business is conducted over email, make sure you’ve got the right email client set up and that everything is secure and protected.
Making sure you’re set up for your new team members is a must. If you don’t have a service in place to onboard them correctly, make sure to check out services like Hubstaff that make onboarding, payroll, and invoicing a breeze.
Step 5 – Encourage honesty and openness
Even if you’re building the same overpass twice, no two projects are ever the same. In a similar vein, no two clients are ever the same either. Since your customer service team will be the first point of contact for most of your clients, encourage them to come to you and the rest of the team with any information concerning clients.
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Step 6 – Make them a part of the culture
There’s nothing worse than feeling extremely isolated at work. Unfortunately, for many businesses, their customer service teams are often forgotten and left out.
Make sure to include your entire company in any holiday parties, office birthday events, laser tag competitions, and weekly work meetings. If they feel like part of the team, they’ll be better at representing your business.
Step 7 – Plan your panic button
Okay, so you don’t need a real panic button for this (but by all means, if you want one, no one is stopping you.) When dealing with clients, issues are unavoidable, so you need to plan for them.
To do this, it’s best to have a structure for your team to operate under. Think of it as a game plan for your team. If a customer asks a hard question they can’t answer, what do they do? If someone wants a quote for a service you may or may not provide, should they give that quote? By making a game plan, your team will know exactly how to respond to customers without hesitation. That way, if there is ever a problem, they know whom to turn to without slowing down the process.
A word of warning here. This by no means saying that your team should be automated. Like we mentioned before, no one wants to talk with robots. Your customer service team should still treat each customer as a unique case and give them the individualized attention they deserve.
Step 8 – Measure your team’s success
How else will you know how the team’s doing? You can’t babysit them after all.
By measuring metrics on your team, you’ll be able to see how they’re performing and if there is any room for improvement. Here are some of those metrics you can start measuring.
- Average call time with a customer
- Customer satisfaction towards the customer service agent
- Customer satisfaction with your services
The easiest way to get answers to these is by having your customer service team ask them. But don’t rely solely on that. This is where other mediums such as email come in handy. Your customers can provide feedback, and in turn, your team can start a conversation with them all without having to pick up the phone.
This whole thing doesn’t have to be complicated. Though it may seem like a lot of work to get your customer service team up and running, it can be gratifying for you as an owner and an incredible asset for the future of your company. Think of it as your rounding out your business, looking to provide the best construction services you can for your customers.
Plenty of companies (including, most likely, some of your competitors most likely) don’t provide excellent customer service. By establishing your construction business as one that does, your work and crew will be set high above the rest.