With the recent improvements in the economy and with more homeowners refinancing at a better interest rate, there are more building and renovation jobs than ever. The key to taking advantage of this opportunity is through clearly knowing what separates you from other firms. Customer service policies are among one of the best ways to avoid home renovation nightmares. Below is a list of tips you can use to keep your projects running smoothly and avoiding any pitfalls before they happen.
- Have you ever gotten lost on the way to a client and kicked yourself for being late? Sometimes mapping software is wrong! Be sure to confirm the address and get proper directions to the site before starting, and pad in a little time for traffic if you’re going to an unfamiliar area.
- Whether it’s remodeling a kitchen or restoring the home to its original state after a storm, a fire or from water damage, try to get an idea of the scope of the work beforehand. This seems like a no-brainer, but many homeowners might think what they want is a small change and don’t understand the full scope of what they’re asking. Both you and the client have to be clear on what you’ll be facing.
- Sometimes homeowners will have tried to do some work themselves and ended up doing it wrong. Ask if the homeowner did any work on what they want a renovation on or any other DIY work in the house. For instance, if you’re a plumber or a water damage repair person, find out if they made changes like installing a new dishwasher or refrigerator or simple plumbing repairs. Performing water damage restoration can be devastating to all your hard work and heartbreaking for the homeowner if a bad fix they did and you missed ends up busting.
- Planning the work scope and itemizing costs are already part of your repertoire, but how understandable are they to your client? Your contracts and itemization lists shouldn’t all be in contractor-ese. Taking a little extra time to explain carpenter jargon can help a customer on the fence understand your costs and feel comfortable about the time it will take to do the job.
- When restoring the home after fire or water damage, you will probably be working with the homeowner’s insurance company for payment and perhaps repair instructions. Having these details on hand as soon as possible will help the work go more smoothly all the way around.
- In order to manage expectations, make sure that each detail is outlined in specifics within the contract. You don’t need us to tell you the common friction points you have with your local clientele, but at a minimum you need things like site cleanup clauses, job time and break clauses, and start and finish dates.
- If the homeowner will be living in the home at the time of the renovation, be sure to discuss safety with them. Keeping non-workers, especially children, from placing themselves in danger during the job is important. Clients should also be aware of how much noise and dust you might be expected to make on a particular day.
- Finally, let the customer know about any warranties for the work that has been performed as well as how to contact you in case they have any questions or issues that come up after the job is finished.
While most contractors may not consider it, customer service practices like these can end up giving you return business. By going the extra mile and making it easy for them to do business with you, they will do the most to ensure the future growth of your business. A satisfied customer will share their experience – good or bad – with family, friends and anyone else who’ll listen. Keeping clients can pay off more than any other kind of advertising will. Happy customers can also help to keep your job schedule full and your construction business operating in the black.
Michael is the Head of Customer Care Department at ServiceProsLocal.com with primary focus on client satisfaction. He blogs about everything related to home building, improving and decorating. Very concerned of current ecological situation, especially water scarcity issues.