A happy customer is a loyal customer, and good communication is the first step
Contractors know that happy customers are the best kind of customers. They pay on time, they call back for more work, they leave positive comments on social media, and they tell their family and friends about your business. Those happy reactions have spin-off benefits to you, like bringing in more business and increasing profits.
However, knowing that you need happy customers and actually creating happy customers are two different things. It takes a lot of intentional effort to your processes and methods to make sure that you are making your customers as happy as possible. Here are three communication strategies that can help.
#1. Communication is much more than just words
Most of us think of communication as the words that come out of our mouths. But that’s only part of it. Communication is also about our tone and our body language. When combined, our words, our tone, and our body language make up the full message we communicate — and sometimes our tone and body language end up communicating a different message than our words.
When you show up to your customer’s home to help them, remember to check your words, your tone, and your body language. For example, when a customer opens the door, are you towering over them on the steps and speaking loudly? Or are you a step back from the door and speaking pleasantly?
As the knowledgeable expert, and a stranger in the person’s home (and also if you are a male entering the home of a female), it can be extremely easy to come across as dominant and aggressive even if that’s not what you intend. Instead, practice your words, tone, and body language so you appear professional and in-charge without seeming overbearing.
#2. Communication is also about the other person’s understanding
Imagine attending a dinner party and being seated between two astrophysicists. Their conversation will baffle you. You might recognize some of the words now and then, but you’ll leave the dinner party more confused than ever.
Guess what? This is what many customers feel like when they have a plumber show up at their home. They don’t understand your technical jargon and by the time you leave, they’re not sure of anything you’ve said.
In the dinner party scenario, all you may want to know from an astrophysicist is whether an asteroid will crash into Earth — a simple and practical question that requires a simple and practical answer. In the same way, your customers want a simple and practical answer, even if they don’t even know the questions they’re supposed to ask.
When you visit a customer’s house, listen to them describe the problem. Do your best to “hear through” the customer’s words to determine what their real concerns are, then address those in a clear and simple way.
#3. Communication is about connection, and connection is about empathy
If you really want to connect with a person — whether they are a lead, a customer, an employee, or even your spouse — the very best way to build a strong connection is to develop empathy for whatever they are feeling.
Empathy is when you have a similar emotional response to someone else’s emotion: You’re happy because someone else is happy; you’re sad because someone else is sad. You connect with them through a shared emotion.
Empathy is such a powerful communication strategy when used genuinely. For example, when a customer seems to have a high energy level, you mirror their energy level. When a customer is quiet and subdued, you mirror their quietness. When a customer is happy, you’re happy. By using this approach, you create a connection with a customer and you will understand each other better. You’ll also do a better job of addressing their concerns and fears.
Important to note, though, is that empathy can be more than simply mirroring. A confused and worried customer doesn’t need a confused and worried professional. They need a professional who acknowledges their confusion and worry but has the clarity and confidence to solve the problem.
About the Author
Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building Gold Medal Services’ success, as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.CEOWARRIOR.com.