Small Tweaks for Massive Gain When It Comes to Accommodating The Changing Demands of Your Customers
It’s no surprise that customers dictate in large part how we run our business. After all, they’re our bread and butter so we have to keep them happy!
However, through personal experience working in our own trade business we understand that increasing customer demands equal similarly increasing levels of stress for a trade business owner.
Over the years customer behaviour has changed. Customers have options, and lots of them when it comes to the availability of quality trade services. So in order to stay competitive trade business owners have to drive positive customer experiences and the bar for this keeps getting set higher!
The challenge with a bar set this high is that (and I’m sure you would agree) trade business owners are already juggling enough as it is. They really have little time to focus on anything but getting the job done.
So, how can you achieve a balance between meeting your customer’s expectations yet not weighing in on the already heavy workload that you have?
In this article we cover two examples of customer behaviour changes and provide some simple tips on how you can make small tweaks to the methods you (hopefully) already use when dealing with customers to meet these behaviour changes for seriously major gain. We were inspired to write this article based on the number of comments we’ve had from tradies in relation to an episode of The Tradie Show that we filmed.
Increased customer connectivity is the first example of customer behaviour changes.
Once upon a time, the flow of booking in a job was as simple as 1,2,3…
- The customer would call.
- You would find a mutually beneficial time
- You would pen the time into their paper diary, which would signify a confirmation that the job was booked.
Those days are long gone , and sadly one phone call isn’t enough. Customers want options when it comes to connecting with you.
They want to be able write to you not just call you, and they want answers to their queries (written included) in a timely fashion.
TIPS for meeting customer’s needs for increased connectivity:
This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprise how often this isn’t available… Always have an email as well as phone contact (perhaps even a 24hr phone number) on every online platform that you market your business. You MUST have both methods available on your website, business directory listing, business Facebook page and any other social media forum or website you exist on (even if you don’t think any customers see you on it) because you never know who might stumble upon you.
On your own website, consider adding a live chat function so that customers can communicate immediately. Many customers, with their little amount of available time, want immediate answers without having to pick up the phone. Customers will appreciate the convenience of this!
When it comes to contacting you, customers expect it to be easy. They don’t want to be hunting down your phone number or email across your entire website. This will only encourage them to; a) Not be able to find your contact details and take their business elsewhere, or b) Consider it too much of a hassle to find your contact details and again, take their business elsewhere. The more clicks a customer has to take to contact you the more likely they are to move off your website and onto a competitors. Therefore, make sure you put all your contact details on your home page.
Customers lead complex lives. There always seems to be a million things to do and they’re struggling to remember what day of the week it is, let alone that a tradesman is due to arrive at their house tomorrow afternoon.
In all honestly, it might not seem like it’s your problem that they jam pack their schedule, but this second example of customer behaviour illustrates that customers have an expectation that you can structure the way you deliver your service around their busy schedules.
So, how can you meet this expectation and help them out without adding any extra tasks into your day?
TIPS to meeting the needs of customers leading complex lives:
Give customers a friendly reminder the day before you are due to arrive. An unexpected phone call may be a bit much for a busy customer. Instead, send customers a friendly reminder via text message. This way you can jot their memory to insure that they’re actually going to be home when you arrive and at the same time you aren’t being invasive of their time.
One thing that busy customers loathe is waiting around for 6 hours for a tradesman to arrive. In our business we provide a window of 2 hours and promise to call customers 30 minutes before we will arrive. Customers love this because it enables them to continue on with their lives as per usual. With a 2 hour window and a 30 minute call before arrival customers can easily plan their day. They can choose to run local errands or to do things around the house in that time. Not only this but now they know you respect their time and will be more likely to use your service in the future on the premise that you are more considerate of their busy schedules than other trade businesses. It’s been a real winner for us!
Customers have high expectations on trade business owners and this definitely doesn’t help stress levels. However, you don’t have to make big changes to the way you conduct your business to service these needs for major gains. Applying the ideas (above) will help, plus looking at technology to assist long term.
To find out more about how you can use technology to enhance customer experience (and improve many other area of your business!) make sure you watch Episode 2 of The Tradie Show.
- Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
- Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.