9 Customer Service Hacks Every Installer Should Know
If asked what a company is known for, you might assume their logo, colors, or even a catchy tagline. And this isn't a bad guess considering the emphasis we place on marketing and brand recognition. But the truth is, a company's brand is ultimately defined by customer service. Therefore, how the public views an organization primarily hinges on the interactions between customers and employees - in our case, installers.
But, what exactly does good customer service look like in our industry? Of course, it includes a job well done and adequate conversational skills. However, the nature of working inside a customer's home requires an added layer of care. Installers have to be sensitive to this fact and go the extra mile to put their customers at ease.
Working in a client's home may sound like a daunting task, so we compiled several hacks to make customer service a breeze, beginning with your first impression.
1. Nail your first impression.
First impressions are critical in customer service because they set the tone for the entire experience. Therefore, it's imperative to put your best foot forward during your introduction - speak clearly, make eye contact, and smile!
On top of a polite introduction, body language and a clean uniform are equally important aspects of a first impression. As an installer, you should stand upright, walk with confidence, and dress for success - tuck in your shirt, wear a belt, and iron your pants.
2. Be Patient.
It's important to remember that customers hire us for a reason - our expertise. With little to no experience in closet installations, customers rely on you - the professional - for guidance in this process. Therefore, you should expect them to ask questions, voice concerns, and make requests.
At times, many of these questions and concerns may seem silly or uninformed, but bear in mind, YOU are the expert - not the customer. As such, be patient with your customers. Hear them out, never interrupt or respond rudely, and be willing to explain any step of the process.
3. Mind your manners.
In customer service, using your manners is half the battle. The simple act of saying "please" and "thank you" will often win over the respect of customers and reassure them of your professionalism. But remember, your etiquette includes more than simple pleasantries. A significant aspect of being polite is how you behave.
Here are some courteous gestures that go a long way in a customer's home:
4. Honesty is the best policy.
At times, it may feel easier to say what the customer wants to hear, but it's always better to be honest. For instance, you may be tempted to guarantee an installation within an aggressive timeline. However, you should never make such promises unless they are 100% feasible.
Similarly, if you don't know the answer to a customer's question, be forthcoming and assure them you'll find the answer. Situations like these are why we have coordinators, so don't hesitate to pick up the phone. The Container Store Representatives are also helpful resources if you're unsure of something during an installation.
5. Bring a positive attitude.
When working in a customer's home, nothing reassures them more than a positive attitude. After all, not everyone is comfortable having a stranger in their home. That's why installers need to be amiable and upbeat in everything they do.
As mentioned before, body language is a significant aspect of interacting with customers. Simply carrying yourself with an upbeat attitude will put the customer at ease. However, your most invaluable tool is your smile. It's proven that smiling elevates the mood of those around you and even reduces tension. Therefore, it's always advisable to strike a friendly grin when interacting with customers.
6. Practice active listening.
Active listening is the hallmark of good customer service. When you're attentive to a client's every word, it demonstrates your commitment to creating a positive customer experience. Furthermore, the customer will feel comfortable expressing requests or concerns directly to the installer, likely reducing service orders in the future.
Fortunately, active listening is an easy concept master, as long you practice the following tips:
7. Be personable.
Customers expect to be treated as human beings, not statistics. If an installer is aloof, customers will feel like they're just another KPI. That's why installers have to be amiable and show genuine interest in the customer and their installation. The best way to do this is to get to know the client - ask questions, exchange anecdotes, and share a laugh.
That said, remember that there's a fine line between being personable and inappropriate. When getting to know a client, remain within reasonable boundaries of what's acceptable in friendly conversation. Use appropriate language and never ask deeply personal questions.
8. Bring a positive attitude.
As mentioned before, the customers aren't experts and probably don't know construction jargon, such as the names of tools or materials. Therefore it's important to keep your language simple and straightforward, so the customer can easily understand. Otherwise, they might feel alienated and unnerved about the installation process.
When trying to describe aspects of the installation to the customer, several communication tools may be helpful. On top of keeping your language simple, be sure to ask the client if they have any questions or need clarification. Furthermore, use visual aids such as showing them plans, pictures, or demonstrations.
9. End every installation with an invitation.
The end of an installation shouldn't be the end of a relationship. You should always conclude a customer interaction with an offer for further service. Doing so demonstrates that you're willing to go the extra mile for your customers.
Below are some examples of invitations that display your commitment to customer service.