Keeping your remodeling customers happy is critical to the positive word-of-mouth that helps build your online reputation. But with emotions running high during the typical remodel, what can you do to ensure it’s a positive experience for your customers? Here are seven best practices to follow.
- Manage expectations. Don’t promise completion of the remodel faster than you can deliver. It’s a good idea to give customers a best-case-scenario timeline and a worst-case-scenario as well. Then, when the job gets completed somewhere in the middle, they’ll be happy.
- Communicate. In a GuildQuality customer satisfaction survey of more than 100,000 homeowners, communication was one of the top three skills that most impact customer satisfaction. Start by communicating an overview of the project and what will happen when. At the end of each workday, explain what will happen tomorrow. If remodeling requires homeowners to be out of the home for a day—or a week—tell them well in advance so they can arrange other accommodations. Also alert homeowners to days when work will be especially noisy or dirty, such as jackhammering a patio, so they can leave if they want.
- Explain your work. Some parts of a remodel—like new kitchen cabinets and countertops—pack a “wow” factor that customers have no problem appreciating. Others, such as copper piping for that same kitchen, don’t have the same impact. If customers can’t see the value of a step in the remodel, they may feel frustrated. As you complete parts of the project, explain it to the homeowner, emphasizing what makes your work stand out, such as the quality of the materials. Explaining each day’s accomplishments also helps you catch problems early on, before the work is completed.
- Be prepared to handle problems. “Problem resolution” is the number-one factor in customer satisfaction, according to the GuildQuality survey. Homeowners look to your team to solve the inevitable crises that arise in any remodel. Plan ahead for possible snafus like bad weather or delays in material shipments, and have options in place to keep the work moving forward. If rain is in the forecast, is there part of the remodel you can work on inside? If a shipment is delayed, do you have an alternative supplier closer to home?
- Keep it clean. Homeowners hate the ongoing mess of construction, so put systems in place to keep the home as clean as possible. Use sheet plastic to separate work areas from other areas of the home; tarps or drop cloths to protect floors and furniture; shoe covers for workers inside the house. Clean up dust, dirt and debris before your workers go home for the day. On particularly dirty jobs, consider hiring a cleaning service.
- Be considerate. Having workers in one’s home can feel very intrusive. Try to make your team as unobtrusive as possible. For instance, if it’s a long project, install a Porta-Potty outside (with the homeowner’s permission, of course) so your team doesn’t have to use the homeowner’s bathroom. If workers gather outside the home before work starts, make sure they keep the noise down. Have workers alert homeowners when they arrive in the morning and when they leave at the end of the day—no one wants to be taken by surprise.
- Learn to listen. Homeowners typically aren’t experts at communicating what they want or expect from a remodel. You’ll need to practice active listening to hear what their real concerns and desires are. If you aren’t sure, ask further questions and rephrase what the customer is saying to make sure you understand. Taking the time to understand their needs not only makes customers happy, but also reduces errors.
Once you know your customers are satisfied, encourage them to review your remodeling business online and share photos of your work on social media. Last, but not least, ask if you can take photos of the finished work to promote on your website and your social media accounts. Happy customers help you get more happy customers!
Photo Credit: David Sacks/Photodisc/Thinkstock