10 Customer Service Tips for Service Businesses
In a service business, the connection to your customers is everything. Their needs and their satisfaction with your service are what build your revenue and reputation. For this reason, every service company should strive for customer service that goes above and beyond expectations and helps to build strong relationships with long-term clients. However, customer service is not a single package or software you can install. It is a philosophy of business that lets customer satisfaction shape business procedures. When you provide a service that takes you into people’s homes like plumbing or pest control, courteous and service-oriented practices are especially important. Here are ten useful guidelines for superb customer service:
1 Multiple Contact Channels
Most successful field service businesses now have an online presence, as well as the traditional phone lines. The best way to be available to modern clients is to provide service across multiple contact channels. While you should still have someone watching the phones, you also need to monitor email and popular social media sites. Many people prefer to and primarily communicate through places like Facebook, And Twitter, and will naturally try to contact your business profile in order to schedule service.
2 Have an Open Schedule
By the time most people call a plumber or electrician, their situation has often already gotten out of hand. This means that most of your customers will need your service as close to immediately as you can manage. One of the unforeseen consequences of success is overbooking, which can actually have a negative effect on your business. If a customer needs you right away but you’re booked up until next week, they will seek another service. A good service scheduling practice is to keep a few slots open each week for emergency work orders.
3 Nights and Weekends
Your customers will most likely be working people who are often unable to get away from their jobs during normal weekend hours. In order to make your service convenient to the customers, make sure to be available on weekends and have a few slots open for after 6 pm on weekdays. You may also be surprised at how many customers will sign up for before 6 am appointments in order to get their service concern taken care of early in the day.
4 Offer Remote Support
Why not take a page from the popular SaaS marketing philosophy and offer remote support for absolutely everything? People love to fix a problem themselves and often seek DIY advice before calling a service professional. By providing professional field service in the form of remote support, you can create the middle step between DIY and scheduling an appointment. With this method, you get to hear about all the nutty stuff people want to ask a professional carpenter, mason, or repairman. Even remote cleaning service will find themselves answering calls about spot cleaning rugs and taking care of wood floors. To top it off, if a project gets out of hand, you’re already on the phone or chat program ready to offer your professional services.
5 Blog Helpful Guides
A useful archive of online industry articles works for the same reasons as remote support. People prefer to fix problems for themselves and will often start seeking a service by researching DIY methods. This means that by providing useful guidelines, how-tos, and industry back-end information, you will draw people who have already begun the customer journey toward filing a work order. Consider someone with a broken backyard grill. First, they will look up how a grill works to determine why it’s broken, then they’ll look up how to fix it. If their attempts at repair are unsuccessful, this is when they call an appliance repair or handyman service to come check it out. If they have already been reading guides on your website, it’s much more likely you’ll be the one they call.
6 Arrive On Time
Customer time is important, and often their personal schedules are tight. With the sit-com reinforced tradition of the eternally late service personnel, you can show the true professional side of your field service business with perfect punctual timing. Arriving too early or too late will often serve to inconvenience your customers as they won’t be awake, home, or available yet while arriving late could delay them from the following responsibility. However, since traffic is variable, leave early and bring a reading device. If you are in mobile contact with the customer, let them know on the occasion you’re ready early, just in case they do want to get started right away.
7 Be Patient with Customers
Because of the often-last-minute nature of calling for a home maintenance service, it’s not uncommon for people to be agitated, upset, and even angry both when calling to make an appointment and then with the service personnel when they arrive. The best way to handle this is with calm professionalism. Answer their questions but don’t let their emotions affect you. Usually, they are just upset about the situation and it’s nothing personal. When you fix the issue and they calm down, they will remember you for your cool-headed management of a circumstance that flustered them badly and be grateful for your expertise.
8 Explain Your Process
Especially in the case of repairs and installations, many customers want to understand the system you’re working with and will hang around while you work out of curiosity. If a customer appears to be lurking or wanting to chat idly, you can make friendly conversation they will love to hear by explaining what you’re doing and why it works. This will engage the natural joy of learning, sate their curiosity, and highlight your ability as a professional in your industry
9 Give Parting Advice
Friendly interaction between you and the customers is important, and having a memorable way of closing the interaction is both interesting and appreciated. Try giving your customers a useful piece of parting advice. What it is can depend on the work you’ve done for them, what you and the customer discussed during the appointment, or something you noticed and thought would be helpful along the way. Wish them luck on their future and leave them with a tidbit of information that will help them as they go along.
10 Ask for Feedback
If you want to continue improving your customer service technique (and who doesn’t?), make sure to collect information from customers after each completed work order. There are dozens of ways to get feedback in the information age, from a conversation in their hallway to a rating on Yelp and your best bet for collecting both customer experience data and positive online reviews is by asking customers to rate you, often via email, after their service is complete. Their responses will tell you a lot about where you can improve and what you are doing right.
The most important thing about running a field service business is that you are going into people’s homes. Cleaning services, pest control, electricians, plumbers, and many more, all have to remember the kind of respect and care required of being in a private residence. When you treat your customers as a valuable part of your business, they will remember you for high-quality customer service and as a valuable member of your industry. For more information about building strong customer service policies for service businesses, contact us today.