I remember there was a time when collecting customer feedback meant handing out a paper survey to customers to fill out and return. When checking in with customers meant trying to track them down during work hours over the phone and hoping to catch them at a good time to discuss “how we did”.
All that effort was to better understand how well an organization did at supporting and facilizing their clients’ needs and expectations.
Good reputation vs bad reputation
Customer feedback has always been the cornerstone of the service industry, inclusive of the property restoration business. Companies that deliver a great customer experience thrive and generate significantly more reoccurring business from existing customers and vendor referrals. Those that suffer from a bad reputation, or no reputation at all, typically fall by the wayside and struggle to bring in new opportunities from online sources.
Today’s shift in customer service experience
The average rate of returned customer feedback is about 20%, which means that most surveys sent out are left unanswered. Although the evolution of technology has not increased this number drastically, it certainly has provided an easier way to voice your opinion online. The shift today is that consumers are more likely to make a decision based on a company’s online user reviews. The unfortunate truth is that customers are three times more likely to leave a review if they had a bad experience rather than a good one.
As all customer facing contractors know, it takes only one unsatisfactory interaction to throw off the entire customer experience. Believe me when I say that it is harder to repair a bad customer experience than dealing with an issue head-on and ensuring you do everything you could to make it better.
Start being proactive today
These days, more restoration businesses are asking “what can we do to deliver the best customer experience possible?”. The answer in the Property Restoration industry is simple. Firstly, change your business culture from a reactive one to a proactive one. Secondly, there is no such thing as gathering too much customer feedback. It is all in the approach to setting proper expectations, communicating constantly, and providing access to real-time information. Provide an opportunity to capture feedback daily, so when anything comes up, it can be responded to right away, instead of waiting until the job is finished. Why wait till the end of the job to find out that since day two the customer has not been happy with our service?
Make important information easily accessible
We now live in what I like to call the “Tik Tok” generation of customer service. Customers today don’t want to see every detail, they just need the critical pieces, just enough information that could be shoved into a 15 second video and easily consumed. Modern day customers rarely read through entire emails but are 35 times more likely to read a short text message.
Customers want to feel that they are kept in the loop and have access to answers from the palm of their hand. Today’s customer is more far more tech savvy and the majority of the information they consume comes from a smart device.
Don’t avoid or be afraid when problems arise
Speaking from the perspective of a service business such as restoration companies, clients need to feel that they are important and valued. They want to have access to a live person when they have questions or need more information. The technology of today provides restoration contractors with the ability to connect with clients to provide updates, gather feedback, and demonstrate a more proactive service. This doesn’t mean that issues and problems won’t arise, but it is the companies that are able to identify these issues and response quickly that will turn an unsatisfactory service into a positive customer experience in a timely manner. Today’s restoration businesses can’t afford to keep the old mentality of “we don’t put out the fires until we smell the smoke” and only take action after the bad reviews roll in.
I believe that great customer service doesn’t have to be a complicated matter. It boils down to a change in business culture assisted through the power of technology. It starts with acknowledging that we are all in the service business and that means we put the needs of our customer first and that we care about providing them with a great experience. It is a concept that is not being afraid to admit when something goes wrong, or somebody makes a mistake. It is a willingness that puts egos and pride aside to ensure that the customer is properly taken care of and that everyone in the restoration business should carry the same vision. We are here to serve restoration contractors and help them deliver the best customer experience possible. Contact us today for the right restoration management tool to take your customer experience to the next level.
Written by Ryan Pritchard, PSA's Sales Manager