As we all know, especially in this industry, you will come across homeowners that are just downright unreasonable. No matter what you do to appease them, enough is never enough. We emphasize to the companies that we meet with that there are some customers that our competitors can have. You don’t always have to accept every customer who wants do business with you, just as they do not have to hire you. But sometimes this two headed snake can appear, that is a customer who has no concept of reality, and the uglier side of being in business begins.
Recently, while consulting a home improvement company, they had an experience where a homeowner wanted a two bedroom addition with a bathroom added to their home, no big deal. As they had been trained, they begin to qualify the project and ask if the homeowner has set their budget. We teach this to be standard protocol. When the company was informed of the budget, which was well underestimated, the homeowner became offended when it was explained that changes would be needed it order to stay within their budget. Then the topic of permits and drawings were brought up. The homeowner wanted to know why they needed to do such a thing, as they felt neither were necessary for this project. The sales representative explained that these steps are necessary as they would not compromise their business ethics or reputation on any project. The homeowner fully understood and thanked the sales representative for his honesty.
We stress to the companies that we consult to check their online reviews weekly to interact with homeowners and thank them, while also asking for referrals. This is just a simple way to let the homeowner know that you appreciate them for choosing to do business with you. It is a way to make your company stand out. While doing this, the business noticed a negative review from this particular homeowner and immediately responded to their concern by asking them to call their office and discuss the reasoning for the review. The homeowner then responded, online, by stating that they felt offended with the questions that had been asked and found it unprofessional! In no way, shape, or form was this company unprofessional with their demeanor or the questions that they asked, as I was there to witness the conversation.
This is where damage control comes into play. You have to defend your company, yet maintain professionalism, as this is a response your entire customer base and potential customers have access to view. If you come across as condescending, customers may steer away from choosing to do business with you because of this. No matter how wrong the customer, or potential customer in this case, is you have to stay level headed and be diplomatic with your response. The business did great by responding with a simple apology for the customers’ feelings towards the company but stated the factual questions that were asked (to display to the customers reading this response that they were never out of line, as the homeowner had inferred). They then ended the response by stating the numerous awards that they have won based upon professionalism and business ethics, while again extending an invitation to call their office to discuss the matter. Weeks later and no phone call has been made by the homeowner.
We all have had experiences like this with someone. No matter what you do as a business, some people cannot be pleased. This is why I stated earlier, you have to be diplomatic with your response. Remember, in this day and age, we are all exposed because of the internet and one negative review can tarnish a good reputation. By taking steps, such as being proactive to their response and inviting the individual to call your office, you are shedding a positive light on your company because it shows that you do care about your business and the reputation that you have.
In the next discussion of this series, Contractor Rush we will continue to discuss the battles that, we, as contractors face daily. If you’re looking to beat your competition to the finish line, don’t hesitate; begin to feel the rush today. For more information on Contractor Rush or our Home Improvement Consulting Service, to sign up for a 30 day free trial, or to schedule a go-to-meeting to discuss the benefits of Contractor Rush further in depth, contact us today www.ContractorRush.com 855.742.3216
Contractor Rush is not just a web based business management program for the exterior of a home, but a business tool that will help you control all aspects of your business from start to finish, with a few simple clicks of a button. Contractor Rush has it all covered! From building your customer base, to estimations, to proposals, work orders, material orders, and record keeping… to even tracking the status of all your job proposals.