Make It Easy to Understand: Customer Education is Important

Make It Easy to Understand: Customer Education is Important
Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan August 21, 2014

Generally speaking, most of your clients are unaccustomed to your industry. All they know is that they want a new kitchen or that they need a new roof. They're unaware of their roof pitch, local building code, and permit requirements. As a contractor working with the general public, you're not only a service provider; you are also an educator. By taking time to make sure your client understands a little more of the why and the how of your work ensures open communication and greater customer satisfaction. But, is communication your strength? If not, we've got a few quick tips for making your craft easy to understand.

Explain Industry Jargon

"Here's our full takeoff and bid. Once you approve and the creases get everything in order, we'll get our guys grubbing." Most of your customers are going to be greenhorns, newbies to the construction game. Whether it's on your website or in your client meetings, communicating your services to your customer should be in laymen's terms. Terms like brick pointing and parapet walls are understood by you and your crew, but your client probably has no clue what those services are or why they are important. Simplify your communication whenever possible by breaking down your services to the basics – explain the work that your company will perform and the "win" for the customer. For example, "Tuckpointing is when we replace the mortar between your bricks, which has been worn down by rain and wind over time. This means that water won't continue to seep into your structure, so you protect your home for water damage and protect your brickwork from leaning and breaking down." Instead of jargon, use terms that more specifically address what work you'll be completing. You can even add a bit of marketing flair to your vocabulary by using words like evaluation instead of estimate

Think Like a Customer

The average homeowner probably gets a little sticker shock when you deliver the first estimate for services. What the average joe sees as "just removing a raccoon" or "fixing up the bathroom" is obviously a much more detailed job. By reviewing a step-by-step process of your service, you can demonstrate your knowledge as a skilled contractor while also rationalizing the cost and time that goes into the project. By explaining that the wildlife removal job includes setting humane traps, repairing and closing points of wildlife entry, restoration construction to repair damaged insulation, live release of the animal eight miles away from the property, and two return visits to inspect traps and construction work – your customer understands the depth of your work and the hours you'll spend on the job for this seemingly simple process.

Offer Resources

Whether it is informational materials like ebooks on your website or the presentation folder and pamphlets you leave behind after your first visit, offering resources to further understand your services, your company, and your warranties allows overwhelmed customers to review your proposal and company at their own pace. Your website's About Us page can be a great resource, outlining your company's service process for prospective clients to know what they're getting into. Don't forget that your contractor brain is also a resource; leaving a business card with your phone number and email address for future questions is a great way to begin fostering a business relationship with your new prospect.

Potential clients are navigating a strange, unknown world. It's important to comfort uneasy customers by being as open and honest as possible. A little customer education goes a long way in fostering client loyalty.

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