In any relationship, communication is key and it’s no different with home improvement contractors. However, when contractors are busy on the job all day, communicating with clients and prospects tends to fall to the bottom of their priority lists. As a result, many will lose a high % of jobs simply because they didn’t follow up or manage their client’s expectations properly. The failure to communicate can make even the most skilled contractor look unreliable.
Talented contractors can differentiate themselves from the competition and ultimately win more jobs by implementing a few simple follow up procedures:
1. Confirm your appointments: The night before an appointment has been scheduled with a prospective client, call to confirm. Make sure that you have at least two contact numbers on file for the homeowner so that you can reach them day or evening.
2. Call if you’re running late: Everyone knows that things come up but prospective customers are a lot more forgiving if you let them know that you’re running late or can’t make the appointment at all. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting at home for a contractor who doesn’t show.
3. Follow up on the appointment: If you need to give an estimate, advise the client on how long they should wait to receive it. And, if you don’t deliver the estimate in person, be sure to follow up a day later to get their feedback. Don’t expect them to call you.
4. Communicate (and document) what they should expect: Once a contractor has been hired for a project, he should articulate clearly what the homeowner should expect as far as timeframe, materials, work crews, mess, added expenses, etc. Managing a homeowner’s expectations from the beginning will help ensure that the project runs smoothly. And of course, document all of the project details in a formal contract.
5. Your work isn’t done when the project is done: Once a project has been completed, follow up with your client to make sure that they’re satisfied with the work. Maybe they have a friend or neighbor to refer you to or perhaps they’re considering another project in the future.
If you’re a contractor who is too busy to focus on the customer service end of your business, then consider working with a local Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business. HRN’s serve as an outsourced sales and marketing force for busy contractors and can take on a lot of the follow up procedures mentioned above.