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  • Customer Service

    I read yesterday where someone wrote "It does no good to spend money on advertisements if you cannot keep the customer". I agree 100%!

    We started our business 3 years ago with nothing more than the experience to plumb, the desire to be in business for ourselves, a few tools and a good dose of anger at all the companies ripping people off and doing crappy work.

    Our business has grown to more than we can handle and we've been calling in help. We're expanding as slowly as we can but all hecks about to bust loose when we do our flyers. (We'll have more help by then).

    I'm taking a few courses to be better at my job - office management but my main concern now is KEEPING the customers. I need some good suggestions on customer service.

    Tell me the steps taken in taking care of the customer. We usually get the call. Set up an appointment (we're working on the bugs with our scheduling). Give an estimate. Have them sign off on the amount and diagnosis. Do the job. Collect. (something like that).

    I'm wondering what kind of follow up care we should be providing. Any and all suggestions will be helpful.

    (And just because Jack covers it pretty well doesn't mean you can't say something too.

  • #2
    Re: Customer Service

    People remember decent service. Just say thanks, and maybe follow with a card later in the year for a couple free tacos at a resturaunt.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Customer Service

      Originally posted by theproslc View Post
      I'm taking a few courses to be better at my job - office management but my main concern now is KEEPING the customers. I need some good suggestions on customer service.
      I'm wondering what kind of follow up care we should be providing. Any and all suggestions will be helpful.
      You might try just calling them a day or two later and ask how it went? That you call might just impress on them that you care about quality, and if you have great guys it will give the customer a chance to call that out; and you should be able to find out which ones the customers like vs. which ones they don't like as much.

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      • #4
        Re: Customer Service

        do the best job you can. treat the customer with respect, offer a quality service at a fair price for your market, and after the job is done call and inquire about the job. everything still OK?, etc. i'll do this when i see a customer in the store, post office, or on the street. it's just good business for me

        in our small market i become friends with many of my customers. i buy goods and services from them. i recommend other reputable service people. if they are new on island i try to help, if they wish, with things that can make their stay/experience better. like how to ineract with locals or how NOT to behave. it does make a difference

        steve
        In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Customer Service

          Originally posted by theproslc View Post
          We started our business 3 years ago with nothing more than the experience to plumb, the desire to be in business for ourselves, a few tools and a good dose of anger at all the companies ripping people off and doing crappy work.

          Our business has grown to more than we can handle and we've been calling in help. We're expanding as slowly as we can but all hecks about to bust loose when we do our flyers. (We'll have more help by then).
          Your business sounds identical to ours. When you are going out in the truck doing the work, follow-up usually isn't necessary because you have already done everything humanly possible to please the customer.

          Employees - It is wise to check up on employees in the field. We solicit testimonials from our customers so we can see what our strong points are.

          Follow up calls are ideal; however, I don't know that I want to do all the extra work it takes. I'm anticipating almost everyone will be happy. Seems like a lot of work to uncover a few disgruntled customers.

          We are planning (within the next 2 weeks) to include a 'thank you' envelope for all customers. The note will basically say "Thank you for your business ... you are important to us . . . many of you know me personally, but due to growth, I cannot possibly service everyone . . . are my employees meeting your expectations - if not, PLEASE let me know because your continued business is VERY important to me. Toying with the idea of putting a coupon for $ off a future service and highlighting another local business that shares our vision of quality & service. The more you give others, the more you get back.

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          • #6
            Re: Customer Service

            I like the idea of the "thank-you envelope".
            I've thought about doing the follow up call thing but with todays busy schedules it's hard to catch someone when they are not on the run, washing dishes, or just sitting down to relax and watch TV.
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            • #7
              Re: Customer Service

              I like the idea of somehow communicating 'Thank You' to customers but I am not so sure of the inclusion of an envelope delivered at the time of service. My preference would be a follow-up mailed envelope.

              One of my relatives brings quarts of cider around to customers near Thanksgiving time. She sets aside a day and just does it. The only thing she includes is a small note thanking them for their business. Cider makes sense in the northeast in the fall because even if the customer is not at home it can be left on the doorstep and not be ruined. I make pens and give them to customers and they absolutely love them. There is nothing on the pens that say anything about Tom's Woodworking no advertisement at all. If the job is over two days I usually bring the pen with me the second day and tell them I made it for them the night before. A small lie but it makes them happy to think someone is thinking of them in another way than as a money producer. I have 150-175 pens on hand that I have made and from which I can select. If I am in a production mode I can turn out three or four pens an hour and besides that I enjoy making them. Instead of watching TV, which we don't own, I go to the shop and make pens.

              I do a lot of work in the Jewish Commnity and to those customers I give pens made from Bethlehem Olive Wood. I watch the clothes the women wear and try to color coordinate an acrylic pen that matches their clothing color. If the last name is obviously Irish, a green dyed wooden pen or a green acrylic pen gets effusive thanks. For my long time customers I have the pens engraved with their name or something significant. One of my customers is in a Dungeon and Dragons club. He gets together with some guys and plays one night a week. His license plate says, Double 20s, apparently that has something to do with the game. I had a pen engraved with Double 20s and when I gave it to him I thought he was going to pee his pants he was so happy.

              Any way to communicate a thank you to someone who has given you money is not only good business it is good manners.

              -Tom

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              • #8
                Re: Customer Service

                Plumbcrazy,

                How about adding some wording to your note that indicates your employees are all local folks too?

                -Tom

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                • #9
                  Re: Customer Service

                  Tom,

                  That wouldn't work. I live in an area where 50% of the population is from somewhere else. We relocated here just about 4 years ago. Two plumbers are from NY and one is from NJ. Hired a local once - don't think we'll do that again.

                  Our licensing in SC is very poor. Pretty much carry a pipe wrench and you are a plumber. Being a local would be a negative. But I do get your point. We are going with locally owned & operated to distinguish ourselves from the franchises. Most of our customers like the family owned and operated thing.

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