There are times in your business when, even though you go to great lengths to prevent it, your professional image may take a hit. Despite your best efforts, your business reputation may be just so-so and not inspire customers to take action to work with you. If that is the case, change processes and correct approaches to rebuild or repair your company’s image.
Take full responsibility
Positive images develop when every member of an organization takes full responsibility for their part in the company. If there is a weak link within your organization that is causing image problems, it must be addressed whether through coaching, mentoring, training or personnel replacement. Your company is only as strong as its weakest link.
Do what you say you’re going to do
There is nothing that can harm an image or business reputation faster than not following through on commitments. When your sales people set appointments, they need to be there on time. When you agree on a date to begin a project, make sure your crew is there on the day and at the appointed time. Each day, as a job progresses, your crew needs to be on the site. If something prevents them from being there, communicate and explain the reason for the work stoppage or delay. When you set a job completion date, meet it. Every step of the way, on every job, make sure every member of your company understands that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it.
Eliminating Hot Buttons
Statistics show that there are certain details or approaches in any business that can be irritable to clients. By being aware of these “hot buttons” upfront and eliminating as many of them as possible in your business practices, you’ll help guarantee a happy customer, positive feedback and good referrals.
Before the sale – Many prospective customers have been lost in the early stages of interest because of long presentations, high pressure sales, pricing games, desperate salespeople, late/no show appointments, unrealistic down payments and above market prices. If any of these are a part of your sales approach, the marketing dollars it took to bring those customers to you could be lost. Work with your sales people to develop a sales approach that feels above-board, relaxed and condensed, giving the customer the information they’ll need to make a decision, but letting them know that their time and satisfaction are important. And yes, you’re in business to make a profit, but to do so means that a customer has to feel that your pricing is fair and in line with the market and that the down payment you require is reasonable.
After the sale – Once the client says yes, they want their job to begin as soon as possible. It took some deliberation and decision making to get the customer to the point of “signing on the dotted line” for their remodeling project. Once they’ve done that, they don’t want to have to wait. The shorter the waiting time between the customer saying yes and the job start date, the happier your customer will be. And when an immediate start date isn’t possible, clear communication to your client as to when their job will begin is imperative. And if it’s going to be several weeks, a follow up call (or calls) to the customer to assure them of their start date is good public relations.
On the job – When the job begins, how your crew looks, how they keep the jobsite and how they respect the owner’s property, all reflect on your company and your company’s name. Dress codes for remodeling/construction crews aren’t going to work, but requirements as to their neatness are a must. “Creepy looking installers” can quickly put a homeowner off and make them uneasy about your company and the type of job you’ll do.
At the end of the day when the workers go home, if the homeowner is left with tools lying everywhere, sawdust scattered around, and soda cans and wrappers from snacks litter the area, their job satisfaction is not going to be at the top of the scales. Many times, the little things are what can turn a satisfied customer into one that’s not.
And if the homeowner incurs damage to their landscaping or other parts of their property because of carelessness on the part of your crew, you can guarantee they’re not going to be happy. Training your crew and communicating with them the importance of customer satisfaction will go a long way in ensuring that the marketing dollars you spend to bring in a client will be returned by referrals from a satisfied customer.
After the job – if your quality control measures have been in place throughout the entire process, offering a longer term warranty should be a given and something that customers will appreciate. Customer satisfaction is almost impossible if job costs are not kept to the agreed-upon budget. If at any time the customer requests changes, communication as to the cost of those changes and having the customer sign an additional charge agreement will keep the client informed and happy.
Professional Business Coaches whose sole purpose is to help companies pinpoint areas and ways of improving their business effectiveness can be a great help in overcoming a negative image.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and how you are improving a so-so image. Share with me below!