8 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service
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15

Jul

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Today’s world consists of two parts: the earth and the internet. It’s critical for any business, now more than ever, to maintain a positive online rating as well as through word of mouth. The path to a notable reputation is found in excellent customer service. It’s a given that negative online reviews can damage even the best company’s reputation. Which in turn, can have a significant effect on sales.[1]  No company is perfect, but incorporating these 8 best practices into your (customer service teams workflow) could change an unfavorable rating into a positive one. If you are really raising the bar, it might also inspire rave reviews… and referral business!

 

  1. Don’t Allow Issues To Fall Through The Cracks

Studies show that homeowners are far more likely to post a review about a negative experience than a positive one.  This means it is more important than even to create as many positive experiences as possible while limiting the negative ones. This mindset can be explained by the negativity bias or negativity effect which “refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of more negative nature have greater effect on one’s psychological state and actions than do neutral or positive things”.[2] Thus, it’s imperative when a warranty issue arises it must be treated professionally and in a timely fashion. Much like negative experiences, positive customer service experiences can spread like wildfire.  These positive experiences can be the single greatest way to increase both web-based and word or mouth referrals.  The industry mindset around the “warranty experience” needs to be changed.  Though the sale is over for this property, the warranty process shouldn’t be viewed as an obligation, rather an interview for future work with this homeowner and their expansive network of friends, family & colleagues.

 

  1. Keep Track Of Your Internal Staff

Does responsibility in the workplace often resort to “that wasn’t assigned to me” or “that’s not my job”? From a management standpoint, those excuses can be a huge headache. Regardless of who was actually responsible, the work remains incomplete. A trustworthy software can track assignments, schedules, tasks and most importantly, what work didn’t get done that we agreed to? This level of management essential to homebuilders of any size.  Embracing technology not only allows you to hold your employees more accountable, it allows each employee to become more efficient in day-to-day operations

 

  1. Keep your Vendors Accountable

When Vendors or Subcontractors don’t complete the work that has been promised on time, the homeowner often places the blame on you, not them. If you don’t have an efficient and reliable way to keep track of your vendor’s scheduled work, it’s nearly impossible to make sure work is getting completed to your expectations. Using a service & warranty management software enables you to see what has been contracted out, to whom, and track each issue from start to completion. Some tools even come with a vendor portal that allows your subs to log in 24/7 to see all work that is assigned to them and their current progress levels.  Lastly, you can run nearly a hundred reports that track and grade your vendors based on performance. With the touch of a button, you can notify every vendor in your application of their standing with your company and how many work orders they have assigned to them.

 

  1. Let Homeowners Submit Their Own Issues & Concerns

When issues arise, it can be frustrating for all parties involved. What’s even more annoying to the homeowner and disruptive to your team is when a homeowner calls back in about an issue and the individual they are talking to doesn’t know the current progress. With Punchlist Manager, homeowners can submit their issues through a customizable homeowner portal, and track results to their conclusion. The homeowner can even include pictures which will often eliminate the need for an initial site visit, saving your team a significant amount of time and money.  In the portal, you can customize what information HO’s see. This saves your internal staff an immense amount of time by giving them access to key documents and progresses while also increasing their view of your customer service without you putting out any extra energy!  This “homeowner experience” goes a long way in giving you a strong reputation

 

  1. Collect Pictures & Signatures – and Never Lose Track of Them!

How are you currently storing pictures and signatures? Can you easily access documents and pictures in the field or are they stored somewhere else (i.e. a computer or worse, a file cabinet)?  Without a mobile tool, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to access key information, documents and photos that are imperative to the issue at hand. Punchlist Manager can help. Using a robust cloud-based software allows you to separate pictures and documents into customizable folders. That makes it easy to identify and access them when needed.  You can also capture signatures on your smartphone or tablet and never worry about losing a piece of paper again!

 

  1. Make A Record of Communication

How many times has a homeowner changed the story on you? What about a vendor claiming they never got your emails and phone calls? Say goodbye to those dark days and hello to Punchlist Manager’s correspondence documentation.  With complete ease, you can make a permanent record of every communication with vendors, homeowners, and even internal staff. Best of all everything is name, date and time stamped the moment it happens to help you keep your team accountable.

 

  1. Assign Tasks to your Staff and Track Their Status.

Do you have a set of touch-points you like to make with your homeowners? Are you able to accurately track those tasks? Move away from the days of forgotten tasks and lost post-it notes. Upgrade to real-time task management.  Auto-generate tasks and start tracking performance the minute a homeowner come under warranty! You can schedule your entire workflow automatically the day you close on the house. Then from a management level you can track every open task by individual to make sure nothing slips through the cracks and you are maintaining happy customers!

 

  1. Run Reports To Discover Issues Before They Become Major Problems

How are you currently uncovering hidden problems? Can you track what types of issues are arising most frequently? What vendors are underperforming?  The average age of incomplete work orders?  When you know what problems are occurring most often, you can get to the root of the problem and head it off… before it costs you more money! With over 100 reports in Punchlist Manager, you can get very specific information on what your team could do to improve. Along with better control and improved efficiency comes peace of mind and happy customers.

Let’s not forget what we mentioned above, the warranty process is a time for you to build a strong relationship with your customers.  It is how you treat the customer after you’ve collected their money that is how they truly judge the character of your business.  If you keep these practices in mind, you will be just fine and not only will you start to see your ratings rise, but you’ll start to hear your phone ring more often as referrals come flooding through the door!

 

 

To learn more about Punchlist Manager or to schedule a demo, visit us at www.punchlistmanager.net.

 

 

 

By: Erica Fagien

Social Media Coordinator at Service Software Inc

 

References:

  1. Zimmatore, Nadia (2013) “Does a bad online reputation affect sales?”(WEB). com. http://www.massivealliance.com/2013/03/04/does-a-bad-online-reputation-affect-sales. Retrieved 2016-06-06
  2. Baumeister, Roy F.; Finkenauer, Catrin; Vohs, Kathleen D. (2001).“Bad is stronger than good”(PDF). Review of General Psychology 5 (4): 323–370.doi:1037/1089-2680.5.4.323. Retrieved 2016-06-06

 

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