How Contractors Can Improve Customer Satisfaction Rates

2By Roy Rasmussen

The construction industry is poised to rebound and grow in 2017 after a temporary slowdown this year. Construction starts will grow 5 percent next year to reach $713 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. As the construction industry recovers from this year’s slump, competition will be fierce for new business emerging from a growing market, as companies coming out of today’s saturated market strive to win over new customers.

One of the keys to winning over customers against your competition is to deliver superior customer service. Here are four ways to build your customer base and expand your construction business.

 

Understand Customer Needs

Delivering increased customer satisfaction starts by understanding your customers' needs and wants. To achieve these stated goals, it's important to have open dialogue with your customers so you better assess their needs and get clear answers before defining the scope of a project. Too often, construction companies leave the task of defining a project to architects and engineers, which may cover the contractor’s legal liabilities but does not necessarily translate into happy customers.

Develop standard discovery questions you can use to proactively identify customer needs. Make going through these questions part of your standard operating procedure when talking to customers. Finally, review your customer’s answers with them to verify that you have correctly understood what they want.

Build and Foster Relationships

Your customers' satisfaction depends on the quality of your relationship with them as well as the quality of your work. Without a good relationship, you can do excellent work and still leave your customers feeling unenthusiastic. A good customer relationship is built on effective communication. Establish standard proceduresto communicate with your customers, like setting up a policy about the appropriate time it should take to respond to customer phone calls or emails.

Additionally, look for common interests when talking to customers, such as business goals, mutual business associates or even shared hobbies. Use customer relationship management software to keep track of your customer interactions so you remember what you discussed during your last conversation. You may even want to send birthday and holiday greetings to your customers to let them know you value this business — and perhaps personal — relationship.

Respond Promptly to Customer Service Requests

One of the biggest keys to building a good relationship with customers is responding promptly to customer service inquiries. Making customers wait is one of the surest ways to alienate them. In fact, 75 percent of customers say their biggest customer service complaint is not being able to get ahold of a live person on the phone, according to a Consumer Reports survey. Make it easy for customers to contact you through the method of their choice, whether that be phone, email, text or social media. Adopting a cloud contact center, such as Aspect’s Zipwire platform, enables you to provide smooth, uninterrupted communicationwith your customers.

Track Customer Data

In order to improve your customer service, it’s important to track data that allows you to monitor your performance. Use analytics tools to keep track of your key customer service metrics for more objective insights into how well you’re doing at delivering customer satisfaction. Track key performance indicators that measure the:

  • Total number of support inquiries you receive on each support channel

  • Average response times

  • Average hold time

  • Average number of issues resolved on first contact.

Finally, use this collected data to improve your performance and boost your customer satisfaction and retention rates.

Roy Rasmussen, co-author of "Publishing for Publicity," is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

 

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