Customer service is an integral part of business at any company, and good customer service can be the difference between a successful and failing company. Why is that? Because customers are the bread and butter of any business, and the way your company attends to your customers’ needs and demands determines their loyalty to your brand. Sometimes though, in any company, it is hard to cater to exactly what your customers want. When you start a home service company, or help to manage one, there is generally a specific vision in mind for how the company is going to be run, what services you are going to offer, and how you are going to appeal to your target market. However, you want to make sure that you are also considering what it is that customers want from YOU, other than the services you provide. Doing so will help you provide effective customer service so here are five things that customers want from their home service company.
- Knowledgeable staff: Home service customers want the people providing them with services to be experts in their field. After all, they are entrusting you and your staff with one of their most prized possessions; their home. If you are a cleaning company, ensure that your staff can communicate effectively with your clients, including a thorough knowledge of the products you use and what steps you take when cleaning to maximize health benefits. Provide a background of your company emphasizing your expertise.
- Friendly staff: Customers are also looking to have a good relationship with the people at your company, as well as trusting that your staff is well-informed and skilled. Customers want to interact with courteous, friendly, staff members. This shows that your company values the customer’s business and that your staff enjoys their jobs.
- Good value: This is where the price matters. Customers are looking to get what they paid for. They are looking for quality service for a low price. They look to have their expectations exceeded. However, price is only one component of the “value package.” Customers consider good value to be a combination of price, service, and experience. You may be a plumbing company that charges a little more an hour then your neighborhood competitor. However, if part of your service includes explaining everything you are going to do and providing an estimate before starting a home project, wiping the floors and cleaning the area when you are done, and then following up with the customer the next day to see how the repairs are, a customer will probably consider your services to be of good value.
- An online presence: In this day and age, customers want to be able to go online and find your company. They look for a clear, well thought-out website that visibly displays what services your company offers, contact information and third party validations (customer testimonials). They also look on sites such as Angie’s List or Yelp to verify the legitimacy and popular opinion of your company. An on-line presence gives a sense of authenticity, breadth, and business understanding.
- Timeliness: Being on time and reliable is one of the most important things to customers. Customers want to be able to count on their service providers to arrive when they scheduled to, or provide proper notification if that is not possible. Having scheduling, billing, and contact management software will help keep you and your staff to stay on top of appointments, helping you present yourself as an accountable company to your customers.
How can you keep up with what your customers really want? Listening to your customers is important, as is keeping up with the latest news, trends, and developments in your specific industry, and in the overall customer service industry as well. Giving your customers what they really want will, in turn, give you what YOU really want; a successful home service business.
Guest Author: Mollie Coons
Graphic Designers are perhaps one of the most important pieces to beginning or sustaining a small business. Hiring a good Graphic Designer to aide in branding your business presents additional expenditures in both money and time but will be the legs your business stands on for its entire life.
When you hear branding, you might instantly think logo and business cards. Branding is much, much more than just those things. A good Graphic Designer will assign your small business a visual identity that can be applied to any variety of mediums from a logo and website, to a style of writing or what color tie to wear when presenting to a board of investors.
I like to refer to visual identity as visual identification: how will someone pick YOU out of a crowd? A trained Graphic Designer will assist you in developing your visual identification. He or she will talk with you, not to you, share knowledge with you and brainstorm strategies with you to help you decide what will be best for your business. Consistent visual identification is the first step to building your reputation as a brand. Remember….
Consistency = Trust
Some key branding things to keep consistent are your logo, business card, letterhead, Facebook page, Twitter background and marketing materials. You’re probably wondering, “what’s the catch here?” The computer screen is only one area to check for consistency…here are a few others.
: the Digital world
: the Printed world
The digital world consists of HOW you use your logo and things like company colors. Is your logo always in the upper left corner of things or the upper right corner? Is your logo roughly the same size on your letterhead as it is on your envelope? Are all your company colors the same on your customers’ computer screens? These are all things a trained graphic designer will check and double check for consistency.
The printed world consists of HOW your logo and company colors look printed on paper. Is your company’s shade of green the same on your envelope as it is on your business card? I can guarantee if your envelopes are printed at a different place than your business cards the greens (for example) will be a drastically different shades. It’s because greens, yellows and oranges are the most difficult colors to print consistently. And remember…
Consistency = Trust
A great Graphic Designer will constantly scan all these areas, and more for brand consistency. He or she will make sure all of your business’s visual identification is consistent…giving YOU strong legs to launch your small business empire from.
You might be overwhelmed by all of this but don’t be. While there are many things to think about when it comes to branding your business, a graphic designer will take you through the steps and help transform your business into a professional, attractive company with a competitive edge. I would like you to imagine for a moment how freeing it would be for you to not have to worry about these things! It’s nice, isn’t it.
When starting to work with Gerald F. Crysler, owner of Crysler Encapsulated Sealing Systems and a colleague of mine, Megan Hughes of http://www.keenbeandesign.com (Graphic Designers often work in collaborative packs to provide the best branding and design possible) we began by simply starting a conversation with Jerry…asking him what he was passionate about and why he wanted to start his own company. From there we started designing his logo and gave him a sheet of 5-10 different ideas to choose from. After he chose a concept he felt represented his company well, we began to refine it and work it, much like clay, into the first foundational brand pillar of his small business, Crysler Encapsulated Sealing Systems .
Stay tuned for The Digital World Continued: Why you NEED a website
About the Guest Author: Mollie Coons is a freelance communications graphic designer based out of Burlington, VT. She holds a BA in graphic design from Champlain College. She is also a featured graphic designer for the company Keen Bean Design. She works with various companies from different industries in developing their brand through print and web mediums. For more information about graphic design or to hire Mollie to help design your home service business visit her website here.