Why don’t more contractors ask their customers to rate their services?
Of three dozen subtrades and installers that John Bleasby dealt with on his recent new home build, not one asked him - as the general contractor - how satisfied he was with their work. There is money to be made - serious money - in asking that question.
By John Bleasby
As I was building my family’s new house last year, I asked the various trades how they usually found their next projects. Most said through word-of-mouth. Some said repeat business. Obviously, it can vary between a septic tank installer and a painter!
Thinking about this recently, however, it struck me lately how few of the trades even contacted me after their work was concluded, let alone to formally ask me about my level of satisfaction – or my willingness to provide a reference. It’s not as if I was ever unsatisfied at the time. In fact, with perhaps two exceptions, I was extremely happy with the work that each of the three dozen or so trades and specialists performed.
If word-of-mouth reputation is the Number One Asset that can set one company ahead of a rival, how can you build it? In my opinion, you nurture it.
For example, when I buy a new mobile phone, when my car comes back from service, or I buy something on Amazon, I am smothered with opportunities to rate my satisfaction. Last week, I bought a latte and muffin at a nearby cultural centre using my credit card; software somehow tracked me down through Trip Advisor! A bit freaky, but that’s the modern world.
It’s not really that hard for even the smallest of trade operations to contact customers after a job to get an approval rating and feedback details. It can be as simple as a 1-to-5 score card on a 4-question survey covering professionalism, punctuality, cleanliness, quality, and value of the work or service performed. If a questionnaire seems too daunting, simply ask your customer to take a few minutes to rate your work on Home Stars or whatever on-line referral service works in your region.
There are two huge benefits: First, the feedback in fact can improve your business. Second, the act of asking for the customer’s opinion means you care about your work. Those two things alone will help you build a better business and improve your word-of-mouth reputation.
Don’t be afraid! Unless there really were problems with your work, which you should want to rectify anyway, chances are your past customers will continue to be your best sales representatives going forward.
Follow John on twitter @john_bleasby