Running a successful contracting business is more than producing quality work. You also need to provide a top-notch customer experience to set your company apart from the competition.
Managing projects, building your reputation, solving problems, filling the sales pipeline, and keeping customers happy is a lot to handle. But differentiating your business is easier than you might think. If you establish simple, yet solid, practices as your foundation it can benefit almost every facet of your business, both in the short term and the long run. It also can significantly help to offer premium products, such as James Hardie brand fiber cement siding and trim products.
Build a strong digital presence
If people are in the market for home remodels or renovations, their research often begins online, right from their smartphone. For many homeowners, this may be the first impression they have of your business, so you want them to find an active and polished digital presence.
Start with a professional website that provides an overview of your company, high-quality photography that shows off your work, and contact information. It’s usually a good idea to provide multiple ways for customers to reach you, whether via phone, text, email, or online form.
You should also actively maintain at least one social media channel, such as Instagram, which is perfect for such a highly visual space like home exteriors. Use this channel to highlight your best work, show customers how you service other clients, and even how you resolve problems or issues, whether it’s with homes or clients. It’s best to pick one platform, rather than attempting to manage multiple channels. Respond promptly to any questions, comments or reviews that are posted.
Communicate clearly and honestly
Homeowners can immediately tell if you are genuine. They want to be treated like people, not sales numbers. Be straightforward about what you offer and what you don’t. If you’re not the right fit for the customer, it’s better to be upfront about it and not waste their time (or yours). Maintain a friendly, yet professional, demeanor in all customer interactions, and avoid using jargon that the average homeowner does not understand. Help customers understand not only the services you will provide but the values that underscore your entire business.
Once a homeowner decides to start a project, it’s important that you respond to inquiries in a timely manner. After all, they’re in the home improvement mindset right now. If it’s a particularly busy season, it’s OK to tell the customer you may not be able to meet or provide an estimate until a certain date, as long as the initial conversations happen quickly. It’s never a good business practice to leave people hanging after they have reached out for information.
When you set meetings with customers be prompt, thorough and take time to answer all of their questions. Pay attention to what they want, establish a rapport, and let them know how they can contact you over the course of the job. Be equally responsive if a customer has a complaint or concern about completed work. Acknowledge the problem and resolve it in a positive, professional way.
Deliver on time and within budget
Homeowners don’t like surprises, even though they are often unavoidable. It’s important to set that expectation up front. However, once you’ve agreed on the scope of a project, it’s critical that you stick to the agreed-upon timeframe and budget. If something unexpected arises, clearly lay out the issue and come prepared with solutions. Give homeowners as much time as you can if the original budget is no longer feasible, or if a project will take longer than anticipated.
Create a premium customer experience
The best thing you can do for the long-term health of your business is keep your customers happy. Satisfied customers will contact you for future projects and refer you to their friends and family. Building a five-star customer experience
involves going the extra mile to make your customers feel appreciated. Follow up with customers a few days or a week after work is done, thank them for their business and ask if they have any questions or concerns. Ask if they would consider writing a positive review of your business, and offer referral discounts for future projects.
Add unique services that set you apart
Personalize your services to give your business a competitive edge. Using a digital design service like the James Hardie Remote Measurement & Design Tool
will allow you to show customers what you have to offer and spark their interest in working with you. The tool allows you to create a unique design with an image of an existing home. It also creates a well-rounded portfolio to showcase your work through every stage of a project rather than just providing before and after photos.
Offer premium building materials
Beautiful, long-lasting building materials can help you attract preferred customers. Homeowners who are serious about investing in their home may seek out premium quality materials for their home, and may be interested in using your services more than once. Contractors transitioning from offering vinyl siding to Hardie® fiber cement siding and trim can find success right down to the core of their business models. In fact, you can see higher levels of revenue and profitability
, and improvements to your brand’s reputation because of the quality of projects.
By following these basic tips you will help ensure your projects run smoothly, customers are satisfied, and your company builds a stellar reputation to generate additional future sales.