There is plenty of talk about the importance of reviews and the effects that social media has on our businesses. However, there is an underlying factor that you must remember as you push your employees to seek reviews and to post items on Facebook, Instagram, etc. That underlying factor, which you can never forget, is the importance of providing excellent customer service at all times.
Think of the times recently when you have experienced less-than-great customer service. I have been in a hotel where I had a bad experience with one of the hotel employees as I was checking out. Yet by the time I got to my car, I had an email from the hotel asking me to post a review regarding my stay. My immediate thought was that I wished the hotel had spent more time and money on training their front line employees than the money to have a software system that sends out a review request.
My point is that we cannot lose sight of the fact we, as an HVAC industry, can and should be setting an example as to what is meant by excellent customer service. After all, we as a group make millions of service calls every day and therefore have millions of points of contact to show that we do provide excellent service. These suggestions are not new, but I think that it is important that we review them with our employees (and ourselves) on a regular basis:
MEET THE CUSTOMER WITH A SMILE.
A smile goes a long way to showing that you are interested in the customer and their issue. This includes when answering the phone.
The old saying “The Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, because it is twice as important to listen as it is talk” applies here. Listen carefully as the customer explains their problem or issues with you. Besides making it easier to find and resolve the problem, it shows the customer of your interest.
ALWAYS BE COURTEOUS.
While the old saying that the customer is always right may not be true, the truth is that the customer is still the customer and should be treated appropriately. Even if you disagree with something the customer says, that is not the time to express negative feelings. A “please” and “thank you” still go a long way toward giving a good impression.
MAKE THE CUSTOMER FEEL IMPORTANT AND APPRECIATED.
Remember, they could probably have called one of dozens of other contractors, but they chose you. Let them know you appreciate that, and that you will do all you can to solve their problem.
BE OPEN AND FRIENDLY.
If the customer follows you to the furnace or a/c and wants an explanation, give them a knowledgeable, not-too-technical response.
Fix the problem.
It is one thing to say and act like you want to resolve their problem, but in the end, the customer still wants to have their problem solved.
LOOK FOR WAYS TO HELP THE CUSTOMER OR TO DO MORE THAN EXPECTED.
This is extremely important and can become a real deal-maker for you. You’re expected to fix the problem — or they wouldn’t have called you in the first place. That is important to remember. However, if the opportunity arises to do something extra, seize that opportunity. A couple of examples: a top-notch service technician will carry dog biscuits or treats. Nothing pleases a customer more than when their “best friend” is remembered. One of our technicians saw a light bulb on a counter below a ceiling light fixture. Seeing that the customer was rather short in stature, the tech asked if he could replace the light bulb for the customer. It took a couple of minutes, but what do you think that customer remembered the most about the service call?
As I indicated earlier, these are all steps that we have heard before. However, from my experience, even employees at companies that insist on quality service can always use a friendly reminder. For those employees, the service they are going to provide that upcoming customer should be their very top priority.
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