Disgruntled Customer Shares Tips for Positive Customer Experience
During my tenure at KickCharge Creative®, I’ve worked with dozens of contractors who run excellent businesses. Countless times, I have wished they served my hometown so I could hire someone I know I can trust. A recent home improvement project reinforced my belief in the importance of clear communication, processes and policies to ensure a positive customer experience—and positive reviews and referrals afterward.
My husband and I went to a local granite and marble shop for installation of new bathroom sinks and counter tops. We learned about this company from other family members who recently had work done and were satisfied with the outcome. Our experience felt more like a fiasco, and I identified multiple opportunities from start to finish for the contractor to provide better customer service.
It made me think about the promises our KickCharge clients make to their customers; we write about them on their websites and in their print collateral. Our contractor clients assure their customers that the experience will be smooth and easy, all of their questions will be answered and workers will clean up after themselves. This didn’t describe our challenging bathroom project. I felt frustrated. I said to my co-workers: “I hope our clients actually do the things they say they do so their customers don’t feel like this.”
So, I am sharing my recommendations from a discouraged customer’s perspective to help our clients avoid similar situations. I hope all of you leave your customers smiling and willing to suggest your company to their friends and family.
1. Clean up after yourselves. This seems like common sense. KickCharge clients usually say they’ll wear shoe coverings and leave their customers’ homes so tidy “you’ll never know we were there.” Therefore, I was shocked by the dirt I needed to clean up all three times this contractor left my home: dirty footprints, debris (electrical tape and wood shards), glue on the floor and more. Each day after they left, I needed to pick up trash, vacuum, mop and clean the sinks and counters. The day they came to make a template of our master bathroom vanity, the workers hot-glued pieces of their wood shims to my existing countertop in multiple places. I was shocked! I took photos of the aftermath and sent them to the office person coordinating the project.
Ensure your crews take steps to avoid tracking dirt throughout the house and carry the necessary tools to handle any messes on their own. They should spend a few minutes assessing the area when their work is complete to look for any residue, displaced items, etc.
2. Respect your customer’s home. The granite installers were in and out a few times to remove the old sinks and counters and carry in new materials. When they were done coming and going, they left my outside door wide open for long periods of time, bringing in the cold December air (and letting my heated air escape). When it was clear they wouldn’t be going in and out anymore, I closed the door—only to find it open again later when no one was on the way in or out.
Even worse, the installers on the first day broke the drain pipe under our powder room sink—and didn’t tell us. My husband discovered (and smelled) the damage as he was preparing to connect the new faucet and drain. It required a trip to the home improvement store for the necessary parts to fix the broken pipe. He’s not a plumber; this extra project was not quick nor easy. He was tinkering with it for days until it stopped leaking.
A lived-in home shouldn’t be treated like a construction site. And your company should take responsibility for fixing damage it causes. Be mindful, careful and courteous.
3. Make the process painless. The granite office was loud, making our conversation with the receptionist very challenging—especially while wearing face coverings. We went outside to select granite remnants for each of the three bathrooms, but the sections were not marked to indicate which were granite, marble or quartz. The remnants from which we needed to choose were stacked in a way that made it nearly impossible to see most of the slabs. Back inside, there were no examples or pictures of the sink options. The invoice was not itemized, and there was no written material to describe the steps to expect. For example, the company should explain that the installers do not connect faucets and drains, so the homeowner needs to be prepared to do this before the sinks are usable. Even better, providing the option to schedule the plumbing along with the installation would be convenient. The company also could provide documentation about recommended treatment for the products it installs: how to seal and clean granite, marble or quartz.
Remember that your customers don’t do this every day. They don’t know how your operation works or what to expect. Provide collateral and signs that set clear expectations and proactively answer frequently asked questions.
There were additional problems with my project: The installers on the first day broke our master bathroom slab, and the replacement piece they brought the second day did not look similar, as promised. Also, the edging on all of our counter tops was not cut in the style we chose. I did voice my concerns to the granite company, and they provided a refund for a portion of the cost. The granite is a nice upgrade from the original laminate counter tops, but I wish the project had been more pleasant.
Get the Communication Tools Your Customers Deserve
The KickCharge Creative team creates brands and marketing campaigns for hundreds of contractors who are competing with dozens of other contractors to win customers. Many of them come to us for help because they want to stand out and don’t know how to differentiate themselves. A strong brand with a strong name, along with consistency from your vehicle wrap to your uniform and sales brochure, are key efforts. But the customer experience and your employees’ actions play a huge role in the image and reputation you portray. Taking special care to avoid aggravation and inconvenience for your customers will help you avoid negative testimonials and missed opportunities for word-of-mouth referrals
If you’re not good with words and need help creating communication tools for your customers, the KickCharge Creative content masters can help. Just give us a call or send us a message, and we’ll ensure you have what you need to do a good job in this area.