Let’s face it, most contractors are basically the same. Within the sphere of work you do (roofing, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) you and your competition look a whole lot a alike. You offer similar services, for similar prices, with the same end result for the customer. So how do you make your business stand out over others? We have two words for you: customer service. Customer service is the one way that you can totally distinguish yourself from your competition; it allows you to create a specific identity for your company that no other company can replicate.
Regardless of the type of work you do, almost any other contractor in your field can properly repair or install. They can all make sure it is done to manufacturer specifications and in line with city ordinances, so there is little you can do besides tout your expertise (even though everyone else is also doing that). Next step would be to potentially offer deals or discounts, but similarly to installing, there are only so many different things you can offer; between the legal restrictions and your own costs, you can typically do free inspections or sometimes discounted materials, but unfortunately, the other guys can do that too. So what can you do to make your company different? Make your customer service better. When it comes down to it, people aren’t really going to remember the installation and the actual work that got done. They are going to remember if you were helpful, efficient, and communicative.
Making your customer service better doesn’t need to mean big changes within your company. Often it is the little, helpful things that customers remember and that can help you differentiate from other contractors. It can start at the very beginning before you even have a signed contract. Make the most of your initial contact, answer all their questions and address concerns, and follow-up with them after to make sure nothing else came-up after you left. This shows the potential customers that you care, and are invested in the project from the start.
Communication is another big way to build your customer service reputation. In addition to following-up when you are trying to win business, stay in contact once you have the business. Over-communicating can actually be helpful; keep homeowners updated with how the project is progressing, let them know if there are problems with materials, keep them in the loop when work is happening and what that entails for their daily lives. This goes both ways as well, the more you communicate with them, the more they will feel like they can communicate with you. You want them to be comfortable enough with you and your company to call with any questions or concerns as the project goes on. Taking those calls, and taking the time to address those concerns can be the turning point for you over other contractors.
You can also make them aware of product specifications, warranties, and what to look for in case something happens again. If the product has tell-tale signs that something is about to go wrong, let the homeowner know what those signs are and what to do when it happens to make the process smoother. If there are warranties or rewards available from either your company or manufacturers, make sure the homeowner is aware of them and help them get registered so that they won’t face more costs down the road. Going the extra mile to give them helpful extra information makes you look really good, and makes homeowners trust you more.
Making homeowners feel heard, understood, and secure during a project makes a difference. It makes them more likely to come back you for more work, recommend you to people who need the same work done, and give your company good reviews. All of these things help to set you apart from your competition; if they aren’t taking the time to listen to their customers, than that puts you a step above them and when the race is tight, that can make all the difference.