I recently had some plumbing work done at home.
Choosing the right plumber wasn’t just about his plumbing skills – it was also about whether I liked him and trusted him in my home. The different plumbers who quoted each undoubtedly knew their trade and were similar priced but what differentiated them? Why did I choose the one I did?
People like people who make them feel comfortable. When seeing a prospect at home, try to build a rapport with them. Rapport is simply creating a feeling of commonality. Try to connect with them – only 7% of the words we say create any kind of impression, so watching your body language and tone of voice becomes important: slouching and scowling, even late on a busy day, is unlikely to convey any interest in a job.
A tidy appearance conveys your cleanliness standards. Try to match your voice level and tone with theirs. Establish a little about their practical knowledge and use appropriate language. Are they a budding DIYer or have they little interest in anything other than the finished look?
More than a few prospects are uncertain about their specific needs so engaging in conversation with them to establish why they want a job done, and not just what they want done, will show you’re interested in their overall objective and will help build rapport further. Some prospects can be a little difficult: be patient. You can’t know their past experiences. For example, they may have a distrust of tradespeople from a previous bad experience. You will also need to weigh up the current situation: a couple without children may have different demands from their bathroom than a family. The key is to establish needs fast through conversation and exploratory questioning. They might suggest replacing a bath with a large shower tray.
What’s their reasoning? Exploratory questioning as part of the conversation can uncover more about their lifestyle and importantly indication of their needs, wants and expectations.
Satisfying these needs and wants and managing their expectations correctly is the first step to good customer service and further business through word of mouth advertising.
Up to nine people per disgruntled customer will get to hear about poor customer service, impacting on both your public image and ultimately your sales. Bad news travels fast especially with access to social media. Conversely good customer service might well result in repeat business or recommendation. A satisfied customer is a great marketing tool.
Customer service doesn’t stop once the job is completed. Leave the customer not only happy with the quality of work but with a good impression of you. Check the customer is happy and if possible ask for a testimonial to use to gain future business.
Stand out from the competition:
- Create rapport
- Explore needs
- Build trust
- Satisfy customer needs
- Manage expectations
- Gain post job feedback.
The CIPHE understands the needs of today’s consumer, and being able to recognise the importance of the ‘whole customer experience’ is one of the most valuable tools available to the plumber.
A professional plumbing and heating job is not just about water tight pipework or a powerful shower, it is also about effectively managing a relationship with the customer.