PRO – Customer Service: It Pays to be Courteous

Hey Contractors, remodelers, installers and interior designers! Today’s post is for PRO’s and we’re going to cover customer service. Dealing with customers who are using contractors, looking for contractors, hiring our installers and using our designers, we have some insight into what is working, what is not, and what could get a lot better.

RETURN PHONE CALLS

If I had a dollar for every customer I heard say “I called 5 contractors and not one of them called me back!”, then I wouldn’t be writing this blog – I’d be tanning on the island that I owned from being so rich! This is one thing I’ve never quite understood. We are all business owners, managers, or working off commission. And we’re ALL BUSY. But there is ALWAYS 2 minutes that you can spare in the day to return a phone call. Even if you’re booked up for the next 6 months and aren’t taking any more business, simply returning the call and letting them know is the courteous thing to do. How it pays: Whomever gave them your number will likely be embarrassed at the lack of service you gave their friend, and will probably not refer you out again. Wether you’re really slammed at the moment or not, there is always a time when you won’t be and want the extra business. Don’t burn bridges with potential clients and future referrals from them because you’re too inconsiderate to make a call. I like to make important phone calls when I’m driving (hands free of course) or on my lunch break. We all drive, we all eat lunch. You have the time. If you aren’t too busy to take on new work and return the call quickly, you will immediately set yourself apart from others in the industry and most likely you’ll get the job.

DONT MAKE CUSTOMERS FEEL STUPID

Most things on this list seem like common sense, but to some, it’s not. You are an expert in your field. Your customer is not, which is why they’re asking for your services. I have been around contractors and designers that have belittled the customer, either directly or with their tone, for not knowing something. Your job is not only to work with the client on the project, but to inform them of the process! Ignorance is common when it comes to the ins and outs of remodeling, so help them out, don’t call them out. How it pays: When a customer feels belittled or made to feel unintelligent, they will not be happy. In today’s world of social media, a bad review is one click away. I have actually seen a bad review for a designer because he was YAWNING while talking to someone. Most likely, this designer was tired. The customer took it as he was not interested, and how they told the world. Every review either encourages or deters clients. Let your reviews speak of your kindness and helpful nature! That will gain you new business.

SAVE YOUR CUSTOMER MONEY WHEN YOU CAN

Sometimes as a designer or remodeler, you come across a way to save your customer some money, such as when they purchased too much of a certain material, if you find hardwood floors under their carpet, or if you’re aware of a special discount. Many people in this position do not inform the client and keep the extra money for themselves. “The client agreed to pay that much, why should it matter?”, they ask. Well, the customer won’t know the difference, it’s true. But what they WILL know is what an honest, honorable person you are. You will have turned what could have been an OK and Just fine experience for them into something AWESOME! How it pays: The same way that a bad review is a click away, so is a great one! Someone that you helped out in this way is going to jump at the chance to tell anyone and everyone about you and your business. They’ll write rave reviews and come back to you the next time they need a project done. That’s good money for you long term. Much more than if you had pocketed the money! These are a few little things that you should be aware of when working with clients, but in the end, just follow the golden rule. Treat them the way YOU would want to be treated. Consult with them before making decisions they didn’t sign off on. Get quotes in to them in a timely manner. Refer them to other professionals that they need such as plumbers or HVAC installers. All of this goes a long way in building a lasting business.
  Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are the leading provider of Ledge Stone, wall tile and backsplash tile in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation Written By: Allie Bloyd

Want to learn more about kitchen & bath remodeling?

PRO – Customer Service: It Pays to be Courteous

Hey Contractors, remodelers, installers and interior designers! Today’s post is for PRO’s and we’re going to cover customer service. Dealing with customers who are using contractors, looking for contractors, hiring our installers and using our designers, we have some insight into what is working, what is not, and what could get a lot better.

RETURN PHONE CALLS

If I had a dollar for every customer I heard say “I called 5 contractors and not one of them called me back!”, then I wouldn’t be writing this blog – I’d be tanning on the island that I owned from being so rich! This is one thing I’ve never quite understood. We are all business owners, managers, or working off commission. And we’re ALL BUSY. But there is ALWAYS 2 minutes that you can spare in the day to return a phone call. Even if you’re booked up for the next 6 months and aren’t taking any more business, simply returning the call and letting them know is the courteous thing to do. How it pays: Whomever gave them your number will likely be embarrassed at the lack of service you gave their friend, and will probably not refer you out again. Wether you’re really slammed at the moment or not, there is always a time when you won’t be and want the extra business. Don’t burn bridges with potential clients and future referrals from them because you’re too inconsiderate to make a call. I like to make important phone calls when I’m driving (hands free of course) or on my lunch break. We all drive, we all eat lunch. You have the time. If you aren’t too busy to take on new work and return the call quickly, you will immediately set yourself apart from others in the industry and most likely you’ll get the job.

DONT MAKE CUSTOMERS FEEL STUPID

Most things on this list seem like common sense, but to some, it’s not. You are an expert in your field. Your customer is not, which is why they’re asking for your services. I have been around contractors and designers that have belittled the customer, either directly or with their tone, for not knowing something. Your job is not only to work with the client on the project, but to inform them of the process! Ignorance is common when it comes to the ins and outs of remodeling, so help them out, don’t call them out. How it pays: When a customer feels belittled or made to feel unintelligent, they will not be happy. In today’s world of social media, a bad review is one click away. I have actually seen a bad review for a designer because he was YAWNING while talking to someone. Most likely, this designer was tired. The customer took it as he was not interested, and how they told the world. Every review either encourages or deters clients. Let your reviews speak of your kindness and helpful nature! That will gain you new business.

SAVE YOUR CUSTOMER MONEY WHEN YOU CAN

Sometimes as a designer or remodeler, you come across a way to save your customer some money, such as when they purchased too much of a certain material, if you find hardwood floors under their carpet, or if you’re aware of a special discount. Many people in this position do not inform the client and keep the extra money for themselves. “The client agreed to pay that much, why should it matter?”, they ask. Well, the customer won’t know the difference, it’s true. But what they WILL know is what an honest, honorable person you are. You will have turned what could have been an OK and Just fine experience for them into something AWESOME! How it pays: The same way that a bad review is a click away, so is a great one! Someone that you helped out in this way is going to jump at the chance to tell anyone and everyone about you and your business. They’ll write rave reviews and come back to you the next time they need a project done. That’s good money for you long term. Much more than if you had pocketed the money! These are a few little things that you should be aware of when working with clients, but in the end, just follow the golden rule. Treat them the way YOU would want to be treated. Consult with them before making decisions they didn’t sign off on. Get quotes in to them in a timely manner. Refer them to other professionals that they need such as plumbers or HVAC installers. All of this goes a long way in building a lasting business.
  Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are the leading provider of Ledge Stone, wall tile and backsplash tile in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation Written By: Allie Bloyd

Want to learn more about kitchen & bath remodeling?

PRO: What Customers Look For In Their Contractor

As you all know, you may have gotten into the remodeling or home improvement business, but ultimately, you’re in the customer service business. Without your customers, your business wouldn’t succeed. That is why it is of the utmost importance that you give your customers what they want, before, during and after they come to you to discuss a project. We deal with customers that are remodeling their homes or businesses all day every day, and after speaking with so many of them, we have a pretty good idea of what they love and hate in working with contractors. If you can apply these qualities to your business, you have a much greater chance of success in the short and long term. Find out what they are below!
Kitchen Cabinets-Shop-Ad

Responsiveness

From the first time a customer gets your contact information and reaches out to you for a quote, they are paying close attention to the time that it takes for you to respond. I don’t think that expectations are too high here. They understand that you run a business, but they also understand that they’re trying to give you business. Taking days (or longer) to respond to an inquiry could easily loose you a job. If they still give you a shot, it could be harder to win the bid. If you’re busy, simply give them a quick call or email, letting them know that you got their information and please give them x amount of time to get back in touch. They will appreciate this, trust us.

Reliability

Reliability is a top priority at all stages of the process, but it starts in the estimate/quoting stage. You don’t know how many times we’ve heard about contractors that are coming out to do an in home estimate, that give a 1 pm-4 pm time frame that they’ll be there. That is a very large window and in the busy world we live in, could prove difficult for your potential customers to keep that time frame free. Our suggestion? Schedule quotes during times that you do not have other jobs going on. Early in the morning, over a lunch period, or at the end of your day are all great times. Schedule a time, and show up for it, on time.
That being said, reliability is even more important when you get the job. Your word is your bond. If you say you’ll be here from x – x on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, you need to be there. Emergencies happen, yes. But good business owners do everything in their power to keep their commitments to their customers first, and work the rest out around them.

Accurate Estimates

estimate
We get it, unforeseen issues often arise. There is no way around that sometime. Outside of these circumstances, however, your pricing should be transparent. Make sure the client understands the breakdown of the quote and they have a copy of it. If more work arrises in a certain area, they will feel comfortable knowing how those costs relate to your original estimate. The worst thing you can do is to under quote to get a job, and then increase the price after you’ve started. First of all, that is just dishonest business. Secondly, they will tell their friends. Third, collecting payment could prove more difficult. Get a solid pricing structure built to eliminate any confusion. Let them know the process up front of what will happen if unexpected problems do arise. Transparency is key.

Communication

Do you want to properly communicate? Then I suggest you over communicate. When your dealing with peoples homes or businesses, there is typically no issue too small to double check on. For example, if you need to put a new outlet in a bathroom, but the wall they want it on prevents it from going in, don’t just stick the outlet somewhere else. Give them a call and see where THEY would like it to go. Facetime or Skype are great tools to video chat if you need to show something specific. Taking this time up front to double check with the customer before making a decision could save you rework and frustration in the future. If they don’t like the choice that you made, or if it won’t work with other design or furniture choices that they’ve already made, you could have to redo it, which we know you don’t want.
shop-ad-bathroom-tile
If you’ll be running late, let them know. If you need to reschedule, call as soon as possible and not 30 minutes before you’re scheduled to arrive. If a product is out of stock and you need to make a substitution, let them know. What may seem trivial to you may not be trivial to them. Following this guideline leads to happy customers, positive reviews, repeat business and referrals. That leads to more money and a long lasting business.

Quality

home improvement contractor louisville cincinnati
This goes without being said (for most) but we want to say it anyway. Do your best. Always. Don’t cut corners to save time or materials. Don’t expect that the customer won’t know the difference. Handle their products with care. I’ve heard many times that a contractor chipped or cracked a cabinet during installation but didn’t share it with the customer, or fix it. Only later did they see and they were not happy. If you accidentally cut into crown moulding or a baseboard, fix it. Again, you may think it’s trivial, but to a customer, it says shotty work. Lack of pride in work. Don’t be that person. Handle things with care. Accidents happen, but take responsibility if they do. Almost anything can be fixed. If it can’t, then do the right thing. Trust us, it will pay off in the long term.


Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are one of the leading providers of  kitchen cabinets, tile, flooring, windows and doors in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design comes as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients, home improvement pros & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!

Written By: Allie Bloyd