Making a great first impression on customers is vital to ensuring your long-term success in any industry. Fulfilling your promises, mastering communication and presenting yourself professionally are the easiest ways to win customers for life and establish yourself as the local go-to option.
Here are four ways you can make a great impression on your customers:
Fulfil your promises, especially those with due dates
Meeting your deadlines and fulfilling promises are two key ingredients to building reliability and trust with customers. Often this is as simple as sending out quotes as quickly as possible and when promised, showing up on time and setting realistic expectations.
Software seems to be the suggested answer to almost every problem, but in this case, it truly can help you meet your deadlines and fulfil promises. Using job management software, like tradietech, AroFlo or Ascora will help to maintain your schedule and accurately manage your time.
Make sure your job management software integrates with your chosen accounting software. Trust us, quoting and invoicing will be much easier if all programs talk to each other. Integrations are usually listed on the software website, so you can check if it’ll work with your preexisting software before subscribing.
Learn to communicate effectively
Too many trade businesses have earned the undesirable reputation of being poor communicators.
We’ve all read the community posts on Facebook asking for recommendations of tradies who will actually show up and communicate with the would-be customer. It’s your chance to earn those recommendations and stand out from the crowd.
Time on the phone can absorb hours from your day. Learning which clients to prioritise is difficult, but with practice and experience, you’ll learn which questions to ask to gauge customers' intent and interest.
In order to identify which clients to prioritise, ask where they are at in the buying cycle. Are they in the early stages of planning? Have they clearly done some research? Did they source some quotes from competitors? The answers to these questions can help you allocate your time wisely. A customer sourcing quotes could be on the cusp of pulling the trigger or just sussing out the potential cost of their future dream kitchen.
Speak with your co-workers and ask for advice from more experienced tradespeople. Their insights can help you sort the hot leads from the cold. Mentorship is a great way to learn the ropes of customer communication without having to make mistakes.
Some apps have handy features that automate communication. For example, ServiceM8 allows tradies to keep their customers in the loop by sending approximate arrival times when you’re on your way. Speaking from experience, this is a major bonus for customers.
Learn to create a digital trail of your communications. Whether it be via software or other means, storing your notes, messages and photos of your work can bail you out of tough situations down the track.
Create efficient admin processes
A significant cost of day-to-day admin is your time. Being chained to your desk after a day on the tools is the last thing you need. Finding ways to make your processes more efficient creates opportunities to take back that time, meet your deadlines and spend more time doing what you love.
Creating templates and automating processes will make life much easier. Setting these systems up will take time, but the investment will be worthwhile in the long run. We recommend getting in touch with the support teams of your pivotal platforms (Xero, Quickbooks, Ascora) and asking for tips to streamline your processes and workflow.
Present yourself professionally
Your personal presentation is the first thing customers see. When visiting a job site or a customer’s home, you don’t want to bring your last job along with you. A clean pair of boots and keeping yourself tidy go a long way.
Set yourself a routine and create a checklist for yourself, your co-workers or employees to follow before meeting a customer. Including reminders to take a quick look in the mirror, check with the customer if they’d like them to take their boots off, and apply their finest Lynx before knocking.
A good first impression and clear communication should not go underestimated. Building processes and implementing systems will support you in looking your best, communicating effectively and delivering results for your customers. Don’t forget, word of mouth is an important asset when building your reputation.