How to Improve Customer Service in Your Painting Business

customer satisfaction improving your relationship painting contractor businessGoing above and beyond to impress customers is sometimes easier said than done. Everyone thinks they’re doing a great job at keeping clients satisfied; if you’re bringing in business, you’ve got to be doing something right. But while you may be running a successful business, there’s probably still some space for improvement.

A lot of client complaints center on customer service — and how you fare in this department can make or break your business. There’s a restaurant in my town that serves some of the best food I’ve ever had. The ambience is perfect, the price is right. But after receiving terrible service there on several occasions, I haven’t returned in years. The product simply isn’t worth the negative customer experience.

Whether your business has a long way to go in terms of building rapport, or you’re just looking to improve upon your business practices, here are some ways you can promote better customer service in your painting business.

Set high standards for your employees.

If you want your company to be a model of excellent customer service, you need to ensure your work team is doing more than the bare minimum. Employees should always dress professionally and keep their workspace clean and organized. They should behave politely on the job site and be kind and courteous whenever speaking with a customer or potential customer.

When you’re working in the home improvement industry, these principles aren’t always intuitive. Some painters are more concerned with getting the job done than with being tidy and well-mannered, and it’s easy to get lazy if you’re working long hours on a single job. But by confirming that your employees are consistently making customer service their top priority, you’ll build client trust and loyalty, along with a sparkling reputation.

Learn to read your clients.

Effective client communications can’t be learned from a customer service manual. Sure, there are guidelines concerning when and how you should approach these interactions. But because no two clients are alike, no two client communication strategies should be the same, either.

Good client-contractor relationships are best achieved when the contractor is able to understand more about the customer’s personality and what they prefer in a business arrangement. Does your client like a lot of updates, or do constant calls and emails irritate them? Are they talkative or do they like to keep to themselves? What is their preferred method of communication? What lingering questions or concerns might they have about the project?

Getting to know your customers individually and knowing which questions to ask will show that you’re considerate of their needs and will likely improve customer satisfaction.

Address problems as soon as possible.

Even if you do everything perfectly, you can’t make everyone happy one hundred percent of the time. Every business deals with its fair share of customer complaints, rational or not. The important thing is how you handle these issues when they arise — and whether or not you exhibit grace under pressure.

Perhaps the best advice for approaching problems is this: tackle them immediately. Don’t avoid the complaint altogether or let it go unaddressed on a popular review site or social networking page. This just leaves more time for others to read the negative review, and if¬†there’s no word from your end, they’ll assume you don’t care about patching up the issue.

Respond to damaging comments as soon as you see them. Offer a sincere apology (avoiding oblique statements like, “We’re sorry you feel that way”) and let them know that their concerns are being taken into consideration. If necessary, find a way to make up for the bad experience by providing discounted services or another incentive to continue doing business with you.

Show gratitude.

Many contractors have done away with the practice of sending thank-you cards. While that’s bad for them, it’s good for you. By sending handwritten cards to your clients, you can demonstrate a level of commitment to customer service that is almost unmatched in your industry. Few things are more meaningful than a personalized note thanking customers for hiring you for a project. It sticks out among the rest, and they’ll remember you the next time they have a job in mind.

Utilize technology.

There are so many technological resources at your disposal — why not use them to improve customer service?

One of the best ways to enhance client relationships is by using CRM, a software designed to help you manage contact information, schedule jobs and appointments, and maintain active communications with your customers. Some modern programs even let you create, send, and sign contracts electronically, making the process more convenient for both parties. This software is the ultimate resources if you want to be more accommodating to your busy clients.

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