Customer Service: Say What You Do, Do What You Say

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Clear communication with customers is critical to creating a culture of good customer service.
Clear communication with customers is critical to creating a culture of good customer service.

Within the home services contracting industry, many customer complaints, unfinished sales and uncaptured growth opportunities can be attributed to a lack of communication. Good customer service starts with integrity, and that really is as simple as doing the right thing. Here are some of the key concepts that we focus on in our business.

We have a one-to-one say-to-do ratio.

There’s a breakdown for many business owners who overpromise and underdeliver—their “say-to-do” ratio is not strong. We talk a lot about the say-to-do ratio at our company; if you say you’re going to do something, you need to do it. You should have a one-to-one say-to-do ratio. With this approach, you are in complete control. You choose what you say you’re going to do, so make a promise that you can keep. It’s almost like you get to write your own test, then turn around and ace it.

We train on the concept of a bullseye.

If you can throw a dart and hit perfect center, that’s a win that represents success, a happy customer and completed payments. In a way, we work to set expectations in a way that makes the bullseye bigger and bigger. For example, if you say, “I’ll be there Tuesday at 8 a.m.,” and show up at nine, you’ve got an unhappy customer. But if you expand your bullseye by saying, “I’ll be there Tuesday between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.,” when you show up at 9 a.m., everyone is happy. I think a lot of people constrict their bullseye out of fear or a tendency to people-please, and that sets them up for failure.

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Be confident in who you are and what you deliver.

Know your craft. By approaching customer service with intentions to deliver on what you promise, you’re able to create realistic expectations and follow through in a way that will create a happy customer in the long run. Developing this type of relationship with a customer upfront can also yield great benefits over the course of the project and long after the project is complete. The majority of client frustrations in the industry stem from customer service issues including poor communication and unrealistic expectations. 

We focus on communication.

The art of customer service is really all about communication. Even when something goes wrong with a project, if the customer knows that you will be honest and communicate with them, they may be disappointed, but they are not likely to explode. A customer who feels unheard or has spent four days trying to get into contact with you will be far less understanding.

When customers feel informed and like they can trust you, they’re more likely to give you repeat business, leave positive reviews and make referrals to their friends and family. We would rather over-communicate and let our customers tell us that they’d like less communication than communicate sparsely and leave them guessing.

The culture depends on good training.

The best way to instill this in the culture of the business is through training. We make communication and integrity central in our training process, and we work carefully to bring people on to the team who already share those values. We can train someone on the flooring business over the course of a few months, but personal values can’t be trained. Our continued growth can be funneled down to the fact that we bring people who already know how to take care of others and have good values into the system and teach them about flooring.

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We’re in the people business.

We’re a flooring company, but we frequently have conversations internally about being in the people business. Our product is our people, and in turn, the positive experience they provide a client throughout the flooring installation experience. The flooring itself is almost secondary to what we do. This is a business of interacting with other humans, gaining trust, and helping them to fulfill their dreams.

We hire people who are customer-first.

Growing a culture that prioritizes a customer-first mindset really comes from the people of the business. Hiring people who align with your values is the most crucial step; it’s a big factor in why our company has continued to experience growth and expansion and why much of the business is repeat and referral customers. 

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