We have several honest, high-quality air duct cleaning companies as customers, so it pains me to watch videos that have gone viral of unscrupulous contractors. The investigative TV programs Inside Edition and Dateline have both aired segments that show air duct cleaners ripping off their customers.
These two reports made me cringe and laugh:
Residential companies set the customer service expectation for all contractors, even those that work exclusively in commercial facilities. Regardless of your service specialty or your location, dishonest companies like these are a big problem, and I’m sure you know who they are in your area. So how do you stand out from the crooks?
Technology can help you show that you’re a reputable company when you:
- Set the right expectations during the sale
- Make it easy for the customer to see and understand the services you provide
- Let your existing customers speak for you
Use Before and After Photos to Build Trust
Customers shouldn’t feel like they have to follow you around their home or facility to know that you’ve done what you said you would do. So take photos of what you see and do every step along the way, and review them with the customer as you go along (if it makes sense to do so), and at the end of the service call. This is especially important if your services are invisible (hidden in the walls) or you provide them outside of your customer’s business hours.
Our mobile application and Service Link feature make it easy to collect that evidence and share it in a useful, online report after the job.
Sell with Customer Service
Knowing how you’ll prove your trustworthiness and backup your services with evidence of a job well done are compelling during the sale. Consider using your technology as a sales tool with your customers so they will experience before the sale what they’ll experience once they’re your customer.
For example, we’ve heard from a few ServiceTrade customers that they set up a prospect’s location and assets in the application, and use that in the sales presentation to show them exactly what they can expect by choosing them as their service contractor. When you’re striving to build a long-term relationship, giving the customer an experience that shows how you’ll ensure that they’re getting a good value, and how you are a good steward of their facility places you far above the competition that doesn’t.
Own Your Online Reputation
How many positive online reviews do you think the companies in these stories had? Your online reputation tremendously impacts your sales win rate. Your online reputation consists of:
- Your website content – make your brand promises and show how you back them up
- Happy customer stories – a third party that praises your brand is more powerful than anything you say about yourself
- Positive online reviews – ask as many happy customers as possible to review their experience working with you online. These reviews can go onto your website, and they also help with your local search ranking! (Check out our Service Review feature.)
And one bonus tip: Don’t lie. Just don’t lie.
Do business as though Chris Hansen is going to pop out of a dark corner at any moment. Ok, maybe he won’t, but it’s becoming increasingly true that cameras are everywhere.
A friend was recently at the ServiceTrade office to help with a project. He picked up his phone when it vibrated, then showed us a live stream of the contractors who were working at his house taking a smoke break on the front porch. We had a chuckle, and went back to work. But what if they’d been doing something less innocent?
We know that we do not need to tell our customers to be honest. The increasing affordability and accessibility of cameras and monitoring systems in businesses and homes is putting us all under a microscope that makes every minute of your customer engagement matter.