Get Serious About Service Excellence
By Christine Corelli
Outstanding customer service is an imperative for business success in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Regardless if your company had the lowest bid, customers will seek out competitors if your business falls even the slightest bit short in its level of service.
Three Things to Do Right Now to Achieve Service Excellence
Below are three steps that can help improve your company’s level of customer service.
1. Gather Your Team & Hold a Meeting
Communicate that you are serious about customer service. Let your accounting team and entire staff know you want the company to become the preferred construction company among competitors, which will require the dedicated efforts of every employee. Inform them that their involvement in consistent service improvement and achieving excellence in all areas is imperative.
Communicate that all employees are “in sales” – regardless of their department. Whenever a customer or potential customer has contact with someone in your company – especially a foreman, it is imperative that care and concern are demonstrated.
2. Identify Moments of Truth
In his best-selling book, Moments of Truth, Jan Carlzon identified moments of truth as “every opportunity to make a difference when in contact with customers.” Go through the “touch points” of the service experience in your accounting department and entire business.
For example, just as location is critical in the world of real estate, reputation is critical to a subcontractor’s ability to attract customers and bid on more projects.
3. Obtain Answers to Tough Questions
Consider how your company handles these aspects of a customer’s experience.
Phone:How do you and your team sound when answering the phone? Do you sound knowledgeable, professional, and ready to serve?
Friendliness of staff: Do your office and field staff greet customers when they call the office or walk onto the jobsite?
Project start: Is your company proactive? Does it take responsibility for monitoring all projects by conducting early jobsite visits and regularly staying in touch instead of waiting for a project superintendent to call?
When you get the call to start, are you ready? Are the materials approved and available? Is your team familiar with the project? Are you ready to man the job as required to maintain the schedule?
Responsiveness:How long does it take to respond to requests for information, bids, and service customers? Does everyone in your company recognize that they must have a sense of urgency to respond to customers and requests?
Forman: Does your foreman display a higher level of professionalism than those from other companies? Do they contribute ideas for improvement, even when the ideas don’t specifically affect their area of the project? Do they know how to stay cool, calm, and collected when dealing with an angry or unhappy customer? Can they run a safe job? Can they read the plans and understand codes? Do they know and understand the contract details?
Workers: How professional are your workers? Is their appearance clean and neat? How competent are they? Are they committed to generate a superior deliverable from beginning to completion? Have they been trained on safety and do they adhere to safety precautions? Do they come in on time? Does your accounting team encourage others to submit paperwork on time for payment?
Developing a reputation for service excellence within the construction industry involves a great deal more. However, these steps can help demonstrate that you are serious about the level of service your company provides.
Christine Corelli is an author, conference speaker, and facilitator. She has presented at numerous CFMA events and provided hands-on workshops for construction, architectural, and engineering firms across the globe. She can be reached at 847-477-7376 or www.christinespeaks.com