As a home improvement professional, you know that every contractor/client relationship is different. Part of the sales process is finding clients, and determining what they want from you and how you can work together to make their dreams a reality. Unfortunately, sometimes things aren’t as easy as they might seem. Here are some of the most common customer problems faced by home improvement professionals like you—and a few ways you can solve them.
This is one of the biggest barriers to a successful home improvement project, whether on the end of either the professional or the client. A lack of communication can be a result of any number of factors, and it can lead to further problems later on down the line (such as unhappiness with an end product, unhealthy client/pro relationships, and negative reviews). This is why nipping any communication problems in the bud is essential for home improvement professionals.
To keep the lines of communication open on your end, follow a few simple steps:
1) Let customers know you’re always available to chat or answer questions.
- Keep a separate business phone and email address to deal with client queries.
2) Regularly update your social media accounts.
- Facebook is particularly useful for contractor and client relationships as it’s the quickest method of getting in touch.
- To further streamline the process, you can use a social media aggregate tool such as Buffer or Amplifr to schedule posts and access all your accounts from one place.
3) Be clear about your clients’ needs/desires/budgets.
- Make sure to explain your processes, fees, and any policies you have in place for overrunning on timescales or budgets
- If possible, get any agreements in writing so you have proof of your communication
It can be easy to get carried away with fantastic ideas and sky-high budget remodels, but for most homeowners, it’s essential to remain realistic. Make sure your clients are aware of exactly what you’re able to provide with their given budget from the very beginning.
The same goes for materials, furnishings, and design styles. Communication is crucial here, so make sure you’re crystal clear about the limitations of their proposed budget to ensure there are no unhappy surprises once the project is complete. Keeping hard copies of your business’ pricing policy and service lists is good practice, but any successful home improvement business also needs to stay current online. To avoid any confusion, make sure update your website and social media accounts on a regular basis to reflect your current offerings and pricing structures.
Customers, like the rest of us, can be fickle and change their minds at any stage of the building process. Understandably, this is frustrating after you’ve spent time and money perfecting a product or service for your clients. But be warned, because the way you handle customer dissatisfaction will have a lasting effect for your business. If communication is strong (see above), you should feel comfortable enough talking to your customer about the elements of the building project that they are unhappy with so that you can come to an agreed-upon resolution. Compromise is inevitable, so you need to be flexible and change some of your expectations in order to make your clients happy.
However, there are also times when nothing you do or say will change their minds, so knowing when to cut your losses is just as important as well. Just remember that everything you do, say, and write can be accessed by your clients, so keeping a positive and professional attitude about it will only help your case.