Customer Satisfaction: “Sorry” Shouldn’t Mean “Better Luck Next Time”
July 19, 2021
Customer satisfaction is complicated. Creating it can be even more complicated. First of all, let’s define what customer satisfaction is not:
1) It isn’t getting everything right the first time, every time. Perfection isn’t possible. Period.
2) It doesn’t mean the same thing to every homeowner. Just as each of us have different personalities, each of us has differing priorities for our home improvement project. For one person, perfectly straight lines on all woodwork is the goal. If that is achieved, the homeowner is WOWED. For another, a call each week with a schedule update and frequent communication is the most important aspect of their project. For yet another, a listening ear and thorough explanations of each step of the process is paramount. And for yet other homeowners, handing the project off to someone without needing to know details is important … “Don’t bother me. I pay you to do the worrying for me.” Each of these scenarios is valid. Every homeowner has a unique set of priorities.
It isn’t smoke and mirrors. Creating customer satisfaction doesn’t involve making a bunch of promises that cannot be kept in terms of timeline or project “acrobatics”. It’s being honest if something cannot be accomplished; or it may involve admitting, “I don’t know if we can do that, but I will find out for you.”
It isn’t saying “I’m sorry” when something goes wrong with a project and expecting the homeowner to just “get over it” and move on. It should never mean “better luck next time”!
Customer satisfaction involves harnessing all of a company’s people skills, project know-how and resources to create a WOW experience for the client. After all, the customer is the boss and pays the bills for a company. So what does customer satisfaction look like?
First, creating customer satisfaction involves following processes with every project whenever possible so problems are minimized from the get go. What can you as the customer to ensure that happens?
Insist that you’re provided with a contract to sign with a detailed scope of work.
Insist that you receive a document apprising you of possible problems that might arise and action items needed to be completed by you as a homeowner to ensure a smooth project. Should you put your pet up while the project is being completed? Do you need to move prized pieces of furniture? Does your gate have a code that the company needs access to? Do you need to let neighbors know a project will be taking place at your address?
Insist that you’re provided with a punch list and a walkthrough by a Project Manager to inspect quality at the end of the project and a Quality Assurance form for you to sign, once YOU have eyeballed the work.
Insist that the home improvement technician be available to correct any issues that are found at or soon after punch out.
These measures will ensure that processes are being followed that increase the likelihood of a WOW experience.
Customer satisfaction involves respectfully listening to customers’ needs. It involves clarifying what we’ve heard by mirroring statements or requests back to the homeowner. It involves respectful responses. It also involves making thorough annotated notes and communicating those to the team.
Customer satisfaction involves providing consultative care. It involves setting proper customer expectations in terms of how the project will be completed, what to expect in terms of communication and a general timeline.
Customer satisfaction involves returning customer calls the same day whenever possible.
Creating customer satisfaction requires providing regular schedule updates. Home Improvement companies cannot control weather-related delays and cannot place your home in danger by repairing a roof, for example, under the threat of inclement weather. We can’t control some material delays, crew family deaths or illness either. But we can keep homeowners updated concerning these delays and surprises.
Creating customer satisfaction involves providing and honoring project warranties. Always ask if a warranty will be provided and how long the warranty lasts and what the proper process is for activating your warranty if a problem arises. Also, find out, “Is it transferable?”
Ensuring customer satisfaction means asking how the project went and following up with issues after a project has been completed. Phillips, for example, employs a third-party home improvement research firm, GuildQuality, to survey each homeowner soon after project completion. Guildquality grades us on multiple aspects of the project at every point of contact. GuildQuality also elicits feedback from clients on where satisfaction has occurred and where Phillips can improve. That level of vulnerability and accountability helps Phillips stay on top of customer satisfaction and helps us faithfully follow up on any homeowner who has outstanding issues with their project. Some homeowners are hesitant to tell a company directly about their issue. GuildQuality forces issues into the light so they can be dealt with and resolved in a timely manner for the homeowner.
Customer satisfaction involves sincerely apologizing when a mistake is made and correcting it. It means telling the truth and admitting fault where necessary. It involves asking the client, “What can I do to make you happy?” when it’s not clear what we can do to correct a problem, and finally involves following through with a workable solution.
Customer satisfaction is critical to the life of a company and to homeowners. Phillips wants to thank all of our amazing clients for providing feedback on your projects over the past several years. Your feedback has allowed us to improve our processes and customer service, thus raising our “Likely to Recommend” score (which measures customer satisfaction) over 25 points during the past 5 years to our current score of 94% for 2020. That means that 94% of our customers are likely to recommend Phillips Home Improvements’ services to a family member or friend.
As a result of increased “Likely to Recommend” scores, we’ve been included in Qualified Remodeler’s Top 100 List of Satisfaction Leaders, which highlights the top companies in the nation in terms of customer satisfaction. Feel free to check us out! And again, thanks for answering thousands of questions on hundreds of surveys over the past few years. Finally, to make certain “sorry” doesn’t mean “better luck next time” for your next painting, roofing, gutter, siding or window replacement project, call Phillips Home Improvements at (972)867-9792, or visit us for a free quote. We would love to serve you!