Tolerating Contractors: Making Sure Clients Love Your Work AND Your Customer Service

Tolerating Contractors: Making Sure Clients Love Your Work AND Your Customer Service
Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan August 11, 2014

Clients love what you do, but they don't love you. They appreciate the quality, the price, and speed of your service, but they just don't like you or your company's attitude. Clients that like your work but only tolerate your lack of friendliness or professionalism keep their eyes open for a new vendor that can deliver both quality and service. Sound familiar? If so, we need to fix that.

It's great that you do good work. But that is only part of operating a business. Contractors who complete quality work at fair prices, but that lack basic customer service skills, find themselves on the edge of always almost losing customers. The problem here is a dual edged sword. You have to be able to put on your customer service game face to keep potential and current clients at ease, but your interactions also must be genuine – A fake smile can be seen from a mile away. Let's discuss a few points about developing your customer services skills.

A Moment of Kindness to Start the Job

When you arrive at your first or last job site of the day, it is important to properly greet each client. Before you get out of your work vehicle, take a deep breath and shake off the thoughts of that last customer who was a jerk. Forget that this is the last project of the day and you're excited to get through it to go home. Start and end each job and client interaction with proper eye contact, a smile, and a thank you using the client's name. Your client should remember your work and your company for the right reasons. Doing good work but being forgettable or having a negative attitude means that you may not be considered for the next service call.

Remember Your Surroundings – From Kids to Customers

Your environment should dictate your attitude. Your vocabulary and how you interact with your employees when around customers should always be carefully planned; you never know when homeowners or their children are just around the corner listening in to your four-letter words and employee discipline sessions. The same goes for when you're on the phone with a client. In commercial settings, be aware that your client's employees may be sharing workspace with you, and may repeat your conversations with their boss. If you're working in an active commercial setting, your client's customers will view you as an extension of your client's business, so it is important to not poorly represent your client.

ALL Employees and ALL Communication Represents YOU

Every uniformed employee, business email, and phone call represents your company. Fruitful business relationships can be spoiled by one negative experience. It is important that you and/or your company's employees recognize that every word and action has meaning that your clients will remember. Whether it's leaving a work site without sweeping up after service or a general lack of communication, clients may interpret your actions as unprofessional. On the flip side, a simple handwritten thank you card or follow up phone call demonstrates great customer care.

So Should I Fake It?

Whether you're just starting out or have decades on the job, a professional just may not be a "people person". It doesn't come easy for a lot of folks, but just like any other contractor skill, customer service is something that requires mindful practice over time and gets better with experience. So should you fake it 'til you make it? No, not exactly – Fake it 'til you become it. The more you practice your positive customer service skills, the more natural they'll become.

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