Improving the Customer Experience Makes you More Profitable

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    By Derek LoVerde

    I was grinning ear-to-ear as I left the bank recently. Errands are as common and uneventful as it gets, but this one was uncommon. It was…memorable. My teller seemed to understand the same secret ingredient that the successful contractors employ every day—the secret of how to transform a mundane transaction into something much more magical.

    flat_email_windowContractors are “in the hole” from the start
    Homeowners come to you pre-frustrated and pre-disappointed by the inconvenience and pending expense of their unwanted HVAC problem. This is part of what makes your job as a contractor so challenging--the fact that every day you’re entering situations where you’re already in the hole with the customer. And you haven’t even met them yet!

    But this built-in “deficit” is also what makes your work so opportunistic. Homeowners can be easily won over by a contractor whose focus is not only to solve their HVAC problem, but also to provide them with an exceptional customer experience.

    Outperforming competitors
    What if you also had an expertise in delighting customers? That’s where you can really get the edge. And the trickle-down is gains in customer engagement, repeat and referral business, positive online reviews, employee performance, and overall profitability.

    When consumers were asked what specific thing a company could do to motivate them to spend more, the majority said “improve the overall customer experience.” (1) 81% also said they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. (1)

    6 steps to improving the customer experience

    1. Top-down mindset. Company culture and team member attitude are the result of the culture and attitude at the top.
    2. Inspire your team. Incorporate a new language into your management meetings—“delighting,” “wowing,” “exceeding,” etc. In addition, make customer experience training a part of the curriculum for all members.
    3. Empower your team. Equip your team with resources and freedom to delight customers on the fly when the opportunity arises.
    4. Reward your team. The reward system is powerful, so implement rewards tied to providing exceptional customer experiences.
    5. Reward customers. Appreciation is highly underrated. For example, a little thank you gift can go a long way. Greeting cards and surveys are common, but tangible gifts are unique and unexpected, allowing you to differentiate yourself from competitors while creating a lasting impression and exceeding customer expectations. We offer gifts of freshly baked cookies because we’ve learned that food is the ultimate vehicle for creating a strong emotional bond with your customer base.
    6. Listen and respond to customer demands in real-time. You need the right message to motivate your customers, and then the right platform for capturing and routing customer feedback. We’ve found that a digital survey is the most effective way to go because it’s fluid vs. static. Then you need a good way to organize the feedback so that it’s actionable and can be used for private coaching or public praising of team members. An effective analytics platform is the key. And yes, we offer one.

    What do you see on the dispatch board?
    Remember. When the customer-centric contractor looks at their dispatch board, they don’t see transactions. They see opportunities to provide amazing customer experiences. What do you see?


    To Your Success!

    Derek LoVerde
    Since 1998, To Your Success has helped contractors measure and improve the customer experience with freshly baked cookies, customer experience surveys, and employee ratings.
    Citation: Oracle Customer Experience Report

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