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Want to avoid mediocrity? Follow these 5 business best practicesJune 26th, 2019 by
As your business continues to grow and expand, there comes a point where you’re so busy and have so much going on that things may start to slip through the cracks. This is when it’s important to learn to balance and delegate tasks to your team members—otherwise, you run the risk of sliding into mediocrity.
Maybe you forget a follow-up call here or push out a strategy meeting there. When you’re accustomed to juggling so many balls on your own, adjusting to the support of a team can be difficult. You have your own processes and may be accustomed to doing everything yourself, but now that you have a team behind you, have you laid the foundation to keep things running smoothly?
Successful home builders, remodeling contractors, and home service providers rely heavily on their team members to foster efficient processes and create a noteworthy customer experience—two important parts of keeping a business running smoothly and successfully.
To help you avoid falling into bad business habits, we’ve compiled a list of guidelines and business best practices based on recommendations from Shawn McCadden, an expert in the remodeling industry.
5 business best practices
1. Have defined policies and procedures.
The quickest way to mediocrity is not having in place clearly defined policies and procedures that are known by all employees in your organization.
You may have a certain follow-up procedure for each homeowner you work with throughout a project, for example. Employee A follows this process each and every time and has great communication with your customers. Employee B, on the other hand, doesn’t always follow up within an appropriate time frame and may occasionally forget altogether. This creates an inconsistency in your customer’s experience and may lead to more issues or slip-ups down the line.
Ensure that everyone on your team knows what their job is and how to do it effectively. This important role clarification increases productivity and reduces the risk of errors and inefficiencies.
If you do have written policies, make sure your employees understand why certain policies are in place, how they benefit the business and the customer, and the consequences for not following through with those procedures.
2. Use criticism and feedback for improvement.
Criticism is never easy to hear, no matter who it comes from (and even when it’s constructive and requested). But to be a successful business owner, a thick skin is an essential attribute.
View feedback and criticism as a way to improve yourself and your business, and consciously encourage an open, constructive workplace where no one is afraid to speak up. This will do two things:
- You’ll create a more open, collaborative, and empowered work environment where your employees feel safe coming to you with concerns and issues.
- Your customers will be more inclined to share feedback with you, both positive and negative, that you can use to identify strengths and weaknesses within your business.
Getting your entire team comfortable with openly voicing their thoughts and concerns may take some time, but it’s a worthy investment. The last thing you want is to falsely assume everything is working smoothly just because no one speaks up.
3. Communicate with your customers.
When communication breaks down or stops completely—either with clients or among your team members—the success of your company is on the line. Frequent, clear communication is key to long-term business success.
Be particularly mindful of communication with your customers. As a member of the home services industry, one of your top priorities should be forming ongoing relationships with your clients. Monitor these relationships closely. If you notice that established customers stop contacting you for work, don’t keep yourself in the dark—take the initiative to find out what happened.
Customer acquisition is exponentially more expensive than customer retention, so it makes far better financial sense to put your time and resources into your established customer base. If you don’t bother to find out why a long-time customer suddenly hired a competitor, you could continue to lose existing (and prospective) customers at an alarming rate.
4. Take a proactive approach to customer satisfaction.
Satisfying customers and creating a great customer experience requires ongoing attention and a willingness to adjust processes as your clients’ needs and wants change. Don’t make the mistake of operating from a reactive mode—in other words, only making updates and improvements to your company processes when a customer contacts you with a complaint.
Instead, be proactive. Put in place a set process for collecting customer feedback. This allows you to hear from all your customers, not just those that fall on either extreme of the satisfaction spectrum. You’ll also gain a better sense of why people are or aren’t doing business with you.
If you take the time to listen to that feedback and make adjustments, you’ll have far fewer long-term customers deciding to leave you for your competitor.
5. Keep a close eye on your business.
While the saying “ignorance is bliss” may hold true in some instances, it’s certainly not the case for running a business. Being unaware of problems or unwilling to recognize and fix them is the beginning of a quick downward slide for any business. Always have a pulse on how things are going, both internally and externally, so you can take action if needed.
As you’re staying in touch with your company and team members, don’t forget to monitor what your customers are saying. Reputation management is an important part of running a business in today’s world, and you need to know if your company is mentioned online (and in what context).
It’s also good practice to maintain an active presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter so you can interact with your customers and monitor what they’re sharing about your company.
Keeping your spot at the top
As a business owner, you’re likely well aware of every bit of hard work you put forth to advance your company to its current status. Make sure it stays there (and even rises in the ranks) by sticking to a few important best practices.
- Prioritize your customers’ experience by proactively seeking their feedback—and making changes in response.
- Set internal policies and procedures to create stability and consistency for both your team members and your clients.
- Know how your business is perceived in your community, and cultivate an active social media presence.
By taking these steps, you’ll have a better understanding of your business and how you need to operate to avoid mediocrity. If you’re dedicated to constant improvement and customer satisfaction, you’ll set yourself apart from the pack as a leader in your niche of the home services industry.