Good Business Practices Generate Loyal Customer Base

The proper approach can go a long way toward building a loyal customer base and a strong business.

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The customer is always right. It sounds so trite. Anyone who has ever been in any kind of business knows customers regularly have no idea what they’re talking about. In a very direct sense, there couldn’t be anything more wrong.

The fact that good contractors utter that axiom frequently in these pages speaks more to a philosophical approach to business than a literal truth. It’s not that customers always understand the problem they’re experiencing or how to fix it; if they did, they wouldn’t be calling you. It’s that the customer is always right in expecting to be treated fairly and dealt with honestly. Customers always want to be respected, to have their problems and their property respected, and in that way, they are always right.

Frankly, any contractor who doesn’t show customers that level of respect is doing things the wrong way. I like to think of it this way: The customer always comes first. Their needs and concerns trump your own. That’s what it means to be a service business.

The Waterworks, profiled in this month’s issue of Cleaner, is a great example of how this philosophy leads to happy customers and a strong business. Customer service is at the core of every part of the company’s operations, from small details to major initiatives. The results speak for themselves. Since emerging from the recession, the company has enjoyed double-digit growth for four straight years.

Customer loyalty has played a big role in that success, and treating customers right has fostered that loyalty. The Waterworks strives to create a strong sense of professionalism among its employees, beginning with the call center and including everything right up until the job is complete.

They try to offer every possible convenience, including online scheduling to make it easier for customers to make service appointments, and second-shift appointments for nonemergency work – from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday – at no extra charge. That way, for instance, if a husband and wife both work, no one has to take time off to come home for a service call.

The Waterworks isn’t the only company offering these types of conveniences, but the company is a great example of how treating customers right is good for business.

We’ve told you stories about contractors who do pro bono work for people in need, and who help rebuild their communities after disasters. We’ve told you about contractors who go above and beyond to help their customers, even when it’s not in their best financial interest. That’s what’s great about this industry and the contractors I get to talk to. You can see beyond the flat-rate price for unclogging a drain. You can see that your work, and the manner in which you do it, can have an impact on people’s lives. And there’s great reward in that.

Don’t look at yourselves just as drain cleaners. You are much more to the communities that depend on you.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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