In a highly competitive, customer driven residential roofing market, the difference between getting the job or not can come down to the factor you may least expect: outstanding customer service. The way you treat your clients is becoming increasingly important in the age of social internet marketing, where perceived trustworthiness, reviews and references play a critical role in ensuring your business success. As a mostly residential and light commercial roofing company in MA (CoolFlatRoof.com), serving a niche IB flat roofing and metal roofing market, we have had many “oops” and “aha!” moments with our own clients that have shaped our customer service philosophy. Here are 6 of our best customer service practices that we swear by:
Leave the Job Site Clean
Roofing can get real messy, and keeping the site clean is integral to customer satisfaction. The logic is simple: your client may not be able to appreciate the fine craftsmanship of your roof repair or installation, but she sure will notice if her property is a mess after you are done. Ideally, you clients should be left feeling like they have come home to a “white glove service”. A thorough clean up only takes an extra 30 minutes, but it will pay tremendous dividends in terms of customer appreciation and referrals.
Befriend the Neighbors
Surely, most of your time will be spent working on your client’s roof, but you will do yourself a great favor by making connections with the neighbors. When it comes to roofing, neighbors can be a pain, complaining about the noise, mess, etc, but they can also be a blessing in disguise, because they can potentially be your next clients. You can start building a positive relationship with the neighbors while doing some marketing along the way, by handing out letters letting them know that your crew will be a presence for the next few days/weeks. In the letter, include your contact information so that they can call or email you if they have any complaints, or if they want a roofing estimate. You can take it even a step further and include a discount coupon for your services. It is also a good idea to have a display sign on the front yard of your client’s home with your company’s name, contact info and a Free Estimate offer.
Have a Zero-Defects Guarantee and Stick to It
Competition in the residential roofing market is pretty stiff, and thanks to the internet, homeowners are lot more savvy and informed about roofing. Many homeowners go to roofing forum websites to get other contractors’ opinions on whether their roof was installed correctly. So there is a good chance your work will be judged by a jury of other roofers, and those guys hold no punches. Because homeowners do so much research, when they choose to contact your company, chances are it means they are expecting you to be better than the 10 other companies they checked-out. This means that you should build on this initial vote of confidence and go above and beyond in your service to prove that you are THE BEST roofing contractor in your area. This zero-defects guarantee also means that if your customer complains about a job you have done, or if something is not installed correctly, you must fix it. Clients who are confident that you are not cutting corners and have their best interests in mind, will reward you with positive online reviews and referrals to their friends.
Manage Expectations and Over-deliver
To avoid client complaints and dissatisfaction, it is critical to manage expectations from the onset and to set the bar at a reasonable level. However, this is just the first part of the success recipe. The second is that your crew should always strive to over-deliver and surpass the client’s initial expectations. Obviously, it is not possible to impress a client in all areas, but if you pick a couple of things that homeowners tend to focus on, such as communication, timeliness, explaining what you are doing every step of the way, your extra effort will definitely be noticed.
Good communication is the key to keeping your clients happy and it should start right from the first point of contact-the estimate. When a client fills out an estimate form or calls to get a quote, be sure to get back to them within 2 hours. Why not 24 hours? Because in 24 hours your prospective client could already have a signed contract with another roofing company.
The same 2-hour response time should be standard for existing customers, who are calling with questions or issues regarding your work. Your clients should feel that you are accessible, attentive to their needs and can answer their questions in a knowledgeable, professional manner. The more information you provide your clients when answering their questions, the more they will be inclined to view you as an expert to whom they can entrust their roofing project.
High Maintenance Clients
We have all dealt with really difficult, high maintenance clients, whose complaints keep us up at night. This type of a client can typically be panged right off the bat, from the first conversation. Some companies have an unwritten policy of walking away from such clients and sparing themselves the headache. Obviously, if someone is a nut case, you should not waste your time, but many high maintenance clients may be worth the extra effort. Why? Because if you go the extra mile to please them, their reviews and references will have a lot more weight. You can be sure that this client will tell their friends about you, and they will be super impressed, knowing how difficult it is to please Mr/Ms X. Winning over a few difficult clients and posting their reviews on your site can be a great way to establish a stellar reputation and attract more customers.
Resources for Roofing Contractors
Roofing Estimator App – mobile roof estimating software (iPhone and Android) for roofers – this tool will help you calculate any steep slope roof in less than a minute, and will produce a detailed report, listing all roof sizes, breakdown cost of all materials needed for the job, and all prices, including Material Totals, Labor Costs, and the Total Roof Price. All results can be saved and exported. The estimator has full access to change all material prices and labor costs.
Art of Roofing Sales – how contractors can improve their roof selling skills.
Roofing Contractor Marketing Guide – how contractors can improve marketing online, and crush the competition with much smaller advertising budgets.
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