By George DeMare, Vice President Business Development —

Successful contractors develop lifetime clients and return to the same property for additional projects. But when it comes to exterior projects – not so much.

When replacing a roof, siding, or windows, chances are contractors will never see that home again. So how can a contractor be sure they clients are not a revolving door?

Simple, give homeowners the service the least expect – customer service.

On the national Better Business Bureau’s 2016 list of complaints by industry type, solar energy contractors rank fifth, and general contractors are number nine. The BBB has local and regional branches, so rankings vary place to place, but where ever you look, a contractor is there. Consequently, exterior contractors tend to view their customers as a “one-and-done.”

When conflict erupts during a construction project it is usually the result of the process, not the final project. In other words, contractors might complete quality work at fair prices but lack basic customer service finding themselves on frequently on the verge of losing clients. A company may produce great work, but if employees are clueless about customer service then no client will be happy.

Service is all about professionalism. Contracting blogger Jaclyn Crawford suggests sticking with customer service basics: schedule in-home visits at the customer’s convenience; show up on time; wear branded clothing, and prepare a detailed estimate as opposed to a number on a business card. Always keep in mind to not track mud in the house, control dust and dirt in the work area (if working inside), clean up when finished, do not touch pets unless permission is given by the client, and answer all questions promptly.

While etiquette is just the beginning, communicate thoroughly upfront with clients to prevent any disputes. Ask how customers prefer to communicate, do not use industry jargon, create a service checklist are all simple ways to stop potential communication problems. It is the contractor’s responsibility to communicate and coordinate project details, updates, and post-project follow-ups!

Remember: customer service is the sum of the entire customer journey with your business!

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