Do you have top customer service or average? Hopefully not less than average!

No matter how skilled you are at your trade, it’s your customer service that will set you apart.

As a tradie you deal with people every day. Frequently in their homes. Sometimes with difficult people. Unless you have top customer service, they can cost you future work and stress.

Do it well, your customers will return and recommend you.

Do it badly, you’ll lose business and recommendations.

Follow these 7 ways to provide top customer service!

1. Set a high standard

For you and your employees. Standards include work quality and attitude.

2. Respect your customer

One of the biggest complaints about tradies is an expectation the customer will be available for hours on end.

This is your bad organisation. It’s not ok for customers to make themselves available for unspecified periods of time.

Remove your boots before you enter someone’s home. Your boots have been places!

Bring your own rags or towels.

Clean up after you’re finished even if you’re returning the next day.

Although you might be caught out when you’re at a job, try to use public facilities such as servos instead of asking customers to use theirs. Try to time your appointments to work with toilet breaks.

3. Manage your time

Respond to initial enquiries, ideally the same day or have voicemail that indicates when they can expect a response.

Touch base with every enquirer even if just to arrange a time to talk.

Allocate time at both ends of the day to handle communication.

When you accept a job, give the time of arrival to within a few hours. Then update them closer to the time.

Send a reminder the day before.

Naturally, things can happen that are out of your control but if you keep the customer informed they’ll usually be more understanding.

4. Inform and be informed

The customer may not explain the problem well.

Ask questions if you’re unsure.

Don’t start a job unless it is clear!

Repeat it back to the customer for their agreement.

Explain what you’re going to do and what the customer can expect, e.g. cut water off.

In a shared building, notify the owners corporation of anything that affects other residents.

Basically keep customers informed throughout the job.

If you have brochures explaining the job, offer one to your customer.

5. Quote your job accurately

Once you and the customer are in agreement and the job expectations are clear, give your quote. If the job might involve additional work or time, tell the customer in advance.

Give a written quote, get their agreement and their signature before you start work.

Don’t include surprises!

Incidentally, avoid underquoting. You might think if you’re cheaper than your competition, you’ll attract more business.

However it has the opposite effect! Too cheap and potential customers can be scared away (to your competition)

6. Be reliable

If your work doesn’t meet the expectations you gave the customer, you’re damaging your reputation and future business.

Expectations include time, costs and quality of work.

Follow up a few days later. If there are any issues, offer to fix them. Free.

7. Maintain your socials

Keep your website and socials maintained. If a customer searches for e.g. a plumber, and they land on your website, up-to-date information could be the difference between winning the job and losing to an up-to-date competitor.

Socials are great for marketing, communicating and allowing customers to leave reviews. But you have a responsibility to be honest, informative and up-to-date.

We all like positive reviews so thank those customers publicly.

However, a low star review needs to be followed up. Contact the customer and in an open friendly manner ask why they’re unhappy and if you can do anything to improve their opinion. You might keep them as a customer.

A positive approach will get more respect than biting back at poor reviews.

Deleting offensive or abusive reviews is fine but you can’t ignore every low rating.

Multiple low star ratings says something needs fixed. Ignoring them won’t help.

Maintaining your brand online means regularly monitoring comments and keeping contact details updated.

If managing an online presence isn’t your thing, engage a copy or content writer. The cost will be worth it!