Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
How is your customer experience track record impacting your business?May 8th, 2019 by
Now more than ever before, those of us in the building, remodeling, and home improvement industries are living in the age of customer feedback.
Homeowners and home buyers increasingly depend on the opinions of the customers who came before them when deciding which contractor to hire. And during their search for a contractor or home service provider, these clients want to see not only evidence of quality craftsmanship and expertise—they also want to know what kind of customer experience your company brings to the table.
On average, an unhappy customer tells 10 people about his negative experience, and you’ll need to have at least 12 outstanding interactions with that client to outweigh the one less-than-ideal encounter.
That’s a lot of work, and in a crowded marketplace, you’re unlikely to have that many opportunities to make up for customer service shortcomings.
So this raises the question: How is your customer experience track record impacting your business over time?
How does customer satisfaction influence business growth?
In 2009, we published some information about the correlation between customer satisfaction, growth, and business failure. What we found was that companies that were recommended by 95% or more of their customers were 10 times less likely to go out of business than companies with an 80% or lower recommend rate.
A decade later, those statistics haven’t shifted much. Customer satisfaction and a company’s overall customer experience are still the primary factors in a homeowner’s decision to work with a contractor (and hire that company for subsequent projects).
In fact, a Salesforce consumer behavior study showed that over three-quarters of customers place as much importance on the experience a company provides as they do on the company’s products or service offerings.
In the remodeling and home service industries, most companies offer very similar services and often use the same types of products. With a level playing field (relatively speaking, of course), the experience and service your company offers its customers is the best way to stand out among your peers. Customer opinion plays such a pivotal role in the long-term success of a residential construction business that making space in your schedule and your budget to understand and define your company’s customer experience (and refine that plan on an ongoing basis) is well worth it.
Using customer feedback to set business goals
You can likely see by now why devoting resources to improving customer experience and, in turn, customer satisfaction is a non-negotiable part of the success of your business. Beyond making your clients happy, however, what else can you do with the data you gather through customer feedback?
The short answer: A lot!
1. Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) customer experience goals based on your customers’ feedback.
Even if they feel overwhelming, company-wide goals rooted in improving customer experience can help everyone on your team work together with the customer in mind. Goals that are written clearly are easier to meet than those that are stated vaguely.
A good starting point is with a goal such as, “Increase the number of customers willing to recommend our business by 10%.” If several customers mention an issue with a certain process or part of your business, begin with a goal centered around improving that process or experience.
2. Leverage customer reviews to create a digital snapshot of your company’s customer service.
Potential clients who search for or stumble upon your company online want to see that you have a healthy web presence, but they also want to see what other customers say about their experience working with you.
Posting recent customer reviews is a great way to build loyalty with your existing client base and help potential customers see how you approach customer interactions. Avoid the urge to censor or cherry-pick the reviews, and don’t shy away from negative or probing feedback. Make an effort to respond to every review, especially the negative ones.
No business is perfect, and homeowners know that. Negative customer feedback is an opportunity for you to show prospective clients how your company handles project hiccups and the occasional setback.
3. Use the feedback you receive to tailor your customer satisfaction survey questions.
Customer satisfaction surveying is an art, and occasionally, the questions you ask your clients will fall flat. If you find that the feedback you receive in your first few attempts at surveying isn’t as in-depth as you had hoped, you may need to revise the questions you pose.
If you’re surveying customers on your own, remember to keep the questions short and specific to the type of job your company performed. If you’re working with a professional, third-party customer satisfaction surveying organization, your account representative can help you refine your surveys to make them as useful for your business as possible.
Grow your business through satisfied customers
It’s no surprise that satisfied, happy customers are your company’s best cheerleaders. A loyal customer base that consistently recommends your company to their family members, friends, and acquaintances is an asset that you should never take for granted.
A stellar customer experience is the key to attracting (and keeping) the customers you want, but to achieve that goal, you have to know what you’re doing right and wrong. If your company has been plagued in the past by a less-than-ideal customer service track record, third-party customer satisfaction surveying is a great first step toward addressing that negative feedback and shaping an outstanding customer experience going forward.