“Another satisfied customer” has been used as a business mantra since man first learned to trade goods and services in exchange for payment. No matter the industry or trade, good business is providing services to meet the customer’s expectations, assuring them that their money was well spent and their problems were ultimately solved. The customer had a need, they contacted you, and their need is then satisfied. But is just “satisfying” customers good enough to build a successful business?
Does showing up in a clean uniform, doing everything on your tune-up checklist for a fair price, and not hearing any complaints, mean you can bank on becoming their preferred contractor for years to come? Our hearts say they’ll love and remember us forever, but the data says they probably won’t be able to recall our company’s name in a matter of hours.
Being Good at What You Do is Not Good Enough
There’s a mindset change that needs to happen here, and it’s not on the customer’s end. We’re all guilty of picturing our competition as inferior hacks that pale in comparison to the “XYZ Air experience,” but the truth is, in most marketplaces there are multiple “satisfactory” options for customers to choose. You can run to Google and find pages of qualified contractors who can adequately diagnose and fix a customer’s problem. Most will show up, get the job done, and leave without any major issues. And for the customer, that’s a completely reasonable starting point: “I’ve got a problem and I expect it to be resolved with no major headaches on my end.” So when you simply keep your appointment, do exactly what’s expected, and leave, will that customer magically remember your name in six months when another need arises? Unless they’ve been seriously burned by others multiple times, it’s not likely.
Satisfaction is Forgettable
According to the studies on memory and the brain compiled by Verywellmind.com, we only retain about 0.0001% of the daily information we take in. And because a barrage of information hits us constantly, a regular, expected, and “satisfied” experience has almost no shot at being locked into our long-term memory. Experiences must either drastically exceed or dramatically fail to meet our expectations to be noticed at all. And here’s where human nature comes in.
We are 70% more likely to remember bad experiences over good ones. Few remember the tech who just shows up, does his job, and leaves, but they’ll write 15 negative Google reviews and hire a skywriter to tell the whole city about the one who tracked mud across their carpet. We are hardwired to forget the mundane and highlight the extreme.
It’s time to make doing business with you memorable for the right reasons.
Don’t Just Fix Things, Be a Memory Maker
According to The Harvard Business Review, about seven percent of households in a contractor’s database will stop doing business with them this year. This is the largest percentage of normal attrition evaporating off your bottom line, and the reason they leave is shocking. This group doesn’t leave in a huff because they were upset and had a major complaint, because they had a problem with pricing, or got unsatisfactory service. These used-to-be customers drift to your competition because they either forgot about their experience with you completely, or they felt like you did when there was no further interaction after money changed hands. Either way, there was no relationship to leave, no pleasant memories made, and it was easy to walk away.
So, how do you set yourself apart from all the others whose aim is to simply satisfy for the moment? How do you get the “wow factor” and get remembered long-term? Well, I have some good news here. Very few contractors are taking the extra step to go above and beyond, so a little bit of focus here can go a long way.
Three things to get you remembered:
- Find ways to add value without being salesy. According to the Better Business Bureau, a healthy business/consumer relationship is one where the homeowner gets five “quality touches” with pieces of informative and helpful information for every one time they’re asked to make a purchase. So if every email or piece of direct mail a customer gets from you is a promotion, they’ll quickly assume you care only about their money.
Consider a homeowner newsletter that gives them home tips and money-saving ideas, and you’ll show you’re invested in their home and family’s wellbeing, not just seeing them as faceless dollar signs. Request a sample by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Aim to make every interaction personal. Go beyond just personalizing your emails and direct mail. That’s easy. Train yourself, your techs, CSRs, and anyone else who comes in contact with a homeowner to be good note-takers. You’ll be shocked how much information you can learn about people through simple conversation without prying. All birthdays, specific frustrations, needs, or personal preferences are gold.
Attach those notes to each customer’s account and use that info everywhere possible. This is a reminder that you’ve grown to know them and doing business with you is getting easier and easier. It’s amazing how many times you can tell a company something and they never seem to listen. Send me an email that says, “We’ll be there at 4 p.m., Mr. Jacobs, and we’ll remember not to park in the grass,” and I’m yours forever.
- Let them get to know you, too. Relationships are two-way streets, and it’s a lot easier to quit doing business with a vague, concrete building and a logo than it is a person. Just as you want them to know you see a family, not just an account, you should strive to let them see you as the friend, neighbor, and business owner who’s trying to serve them. This will give you more grace to fix issues that arise as well if they feel like they can “call Jim and he’ll handle it” rather than calling your competition.
Make emails personal and put pictures of you, your staff, and your family on your social media. Whether you have 100 or 100,000 in your database, you can’t personally know them all, but they can feel like they know you.
Simply being good at fixing things and leaving your customers satisfied is not enough. Let’s shoot for “Very Satisfied – Highly recommend.” Be willing to go above and beyond to build a relationship with homeowners before, during, and after money changes hands, and you’ll be impossible to forget.