Peace of mind and trust should be just as much a part of your services as your sewer and drain cleaning expertise.
Professional sewer and drain cleaning companies have more duties than they realize when it comes to home and commercial pipe repair. While excellent work and customer satisfaction are undoubtedly part of the package, high-quality service and communication should not go overlooked.
The best service teams are those that offer more than just great work, but also outstanding customer service. You could do the best work of any contractor in your region, but your business will ultimately fall behind if you don’t treat your customers right.
In this article, I highlight some core principles and practices all professionals in the industry should follow – the how-to on treating each and every customer right.
1. Keep your pricing transparent
When working with customers and providing pricing estimates, include all costs involved in a given project. Don’t tack on unexpected labor costs that catch the customer off guard; let them know the total amount they’ll be paying, and inform them of any other costs or work before you complete that work.
Customers are more comfortable working with a company that offers a flat rate for its services based on the job type requested. Hourly fees come with a stigma and broad pricing window that makes some customers wary, or worse, untrusting, of your services. Offer a flat rate including all foreseeable costs, and inform customers beforehand if additional work may be required. Don’t stick them with costs you didn’t include in initial estimates without telling them first.
Additionally, don’t just offer guarantees — fulfill them. If there’s an issue with work you have completed and you offer a guarantee, live up to the mistake and resolve the problem on the house. Customers want to know they won’t be paying extra due to a minor mistake on their contractor’s behalf. If you slip up on the job (which happens sometimes, no matter how well-trained you might be), deal with the problem honestly and promptly.
2. Customer assurance is key
Beyond pricing specifics, you should also inform your customers of insurance policies and licensing. Home and commercial property owners want to know that they’re working with a dependable, trained and fully insured contractor.
Offering services without a license or liability insurance isn’t in the best intentions of your customers. The work you do must be more than just what the customer needs — it must also be covered if things go wrong on the job. If you can’t offer that, don’t take a single job until you can.
3. Don’t be a jerk
Above all else, excellent customer service in the sewer and drain cleaning industry (or any industry for that matter) comes down to treating customers with the kind of respect and professionalism they would expect of a service professional. Don’t be a jerk. Whether you’re working with a new or return customer, always listen openly to what they have to say, as well as their feedback.
If a customer’s house is flooding and they call your company for emergency help, take pride in that fact alone, listen to their problem and walk them through exactly what they should do to stop the issue from developing further. Don’t be rude and don’t downplay their concerns. Address callers and customers alike directly; peace of mind and trust should be just as much a part of your services as your expertise.
4. Service that goes beyond the job site
One of the best pieces of advice I can give aspiring contractors is to provide your customer base value beyond work done on location. Your relationship with clients shouldn’t end once you walk out their door. The best way to bring one-time customers back is by helping them in ways beyond on-site labor.
Do you feature FAQs, handy DIY plumbing guides or informative videos on your website? These are great ways to provide added value outside of physical work, while also building rapport with customers. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your clients.
Customers shop online when looking for people to service their home or property. A few bad user experiences lead to bad reviews, and bad reviews breed nothing but bad business.
By following the tips in this article, I hope you will be able to improve the way you work with customers, and, in turn, the way they think of your business.
About the Author
William Heinselman is the owner of Express Sewer & Drain (www.expresssewer.com) based in Rancho Cordova, California, which specializes in plumbing, pipe cleaning, bursting and relining. Heinselman worked 14 years as a supervisor for a sewer district in northern California before opening Express Sewer & Drain with his wife, Sang, a civil engineer.