Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
Five areas of customer dissatisfaction and how to dodge them [2019 Update]April 10th, 2019 by
What makes a once happy customer pursue another contractor? Much like any break-up, trouble in paradise begins to brew when things like deception, rudeness, and inflexibility occur. For some interesting statistics about the specific causes of customer dissatisfaction, take a look at the infographic below from Business 2 Community, a resource for the business community to share and learn about best practices.
Most of the information in the infographic is logical and intuitive, but you’d be surprised by how many of us forget or disregard the basics. The following are some observations regarding each cause of dissatisfaction as well as some takeaways you can share with your team to build unbreakable relationships with your customers.
Five causes of customer dissatisfaction
Cause 1: Deception
Most lies begin because people are, generally speaking, conflict avoiders. Disappointing customers is never ideal, but it’s absolutely essential that your company honestly and clearly outlines what they can and can’t deliver.
Discussing expectations early with your customers will result in a strong relationship with them in the long run. And if timelines or other important details change, as they often do in the residential construction and home services industry, update your customers as soon as possible. Most people are understanding of project delays and other mishaps as long as they aren’t kept in the dark.
Cause 2: Rudeness
There’s a quote from Daniel Pink that we GQers love, “Treat your customers and prospects like your grandmother… but with 80 million Twitter followers.”
Being rude is never acceptable, but in today’s reputation economy, rudeness can end up costing you your business. Statistics show that on average, people tell 24 other people about their bad experiences. Remember that that number grows depending on how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers each of your customers and prospects have.
Cause 3: Incompetency
Homeowners have a lot invested in a new home build or home improvement project. When they choose a home pro to take on their project, they trust that who they select has the expertise to make their dreams come to fruition. As a business owner, you can’t be everywhere all at once, and pinpointing areas of incompetency in your company can be really difficult.
One tried and true way to determine where your company may be falling short is to simply ask your customers. Employing a third-party organization to survey customers is the best way to gather feedback. Not only does outsourcing this task help to ensure authentic answers, but in most cases, you ultimately receive a stronger response rate. Homeowners are typically far more likely to open up to someone who isn’t employed by or affiliated with the company they hired to do a job.
Cause 4: Inflexibility
Flexibility is a challenge for the residential construction industry. In some instances, home builders and remodelers work with homeowners who don’t always make selections on time, or they struggle with complications when scheduling subcontractors. Flexibility can also be difficult when it comes to warranties and refund or return policies—so much so that almost three-quarters of homeowners surveyed cite inflexibility as a major cause of dissatisfaction with companies and service providers.
These types of situations force home pros to become easily adaptable. Take the time to explain your warranty plan with customers and ensure they feel comfortable with the details. Many of our members also survey their customers and ask for their feedback regarding their plan. The surveys feature questions like:
[BUILDER] has been accessible and responsive regarding warranty issues.
I have a clear understanding of how warranty issues are handled.
I am satisfied with the work completed by the warranty and service technicians.
These questions help home builders and remodelers to identify areas where their warranties may be falling short as well as whether they need to spend more time discussing warranty and plan details with customers.
Cause 5: Lateness
Lateness and rudeness go hand in hand. While the infographic above specifically mentions lengthy hold times, the bulk of frustration experienced by customers of home builders, remodelers, and home services contractors arises when their project isn’t on schedule.
In most cases, customer dissatisfaction can be avoided by simply setting the proper expectations and communicating with your clients throughout the project. Delays happen, but if you and your team do your best to keep your customers in the loop, you’ll remain in better standing with them.
How to improve customer satisfaction: 3 quick tips
Maintaining and improving customer satisfaction is one of the most important things you can do for the long-term prosperity of your business. Happy customers lead to more work, so be sure to keep customer experience front of mind at all times. Check out these three easy tips to help you ensure that your customers are pleased through the entire project.
1. Find out how your customers prefer to communicate.
Communication is key when it comes to customer satisfaction, but people have varying preferences when it comes to the actual mode of communication. Some may prefer a text message to an email, while an actual phone call may be the best way to reach others. Be sure to ask!
Make your preferences known, too. If you have time to check email only once per day in the evenings, let your customers know that they’ll receive a quicker response from you with a text message or phone call.
2. Respond promptly when customers reach out.
In addition to clarifying preferred communication methods, be sure to set clear expectations with your customers about how quickly they should expect you to return calls, text messages, and emails. A good rule of thumb here is to underpromise and overdeliver. Days get busy quickly, but don’t let messages from customers go unanswered. Try your best to respond to questions and requests the same business day when possible.
3. Follow up after a job concludes.
A job may proceed and wrap up exactly as you’d planned, but don’t make the final exchange of money the last time your customer hears from you. Check in a couple of weeks or a month later to make sure that your customer is still happy with your work. This follow-up will give you the opportunity to correct anything that may not quite meet the customer’s expectations, and he or she will appreciate the extra attention to detail.
Keeping customers loyal is a tough job, but it pays off! Customer acquisition is, on average, five times more costly than retaining existing customers. Beyond these acquisition costs, building strong relationships with customers adds to your credibility and helps give your business the type of reputation you want it to have.