Remember the old days when you needed to wait for everything? This may be shocking to younger readers, but I recall ordering something from a catalog and waiting weeks – if not months – for the post office to deliver it. Worst of all, you never really knew if your order was actually coming. The idea of a tracking number was science fiction.
In fact, there was nothing you could do but wait. Imagine how that would go over today! Now that I use the Internet every day, I can’t stand waiting. Not only do I want my stuff to come in a day or two, but also I want to be able to order it from a booth at Denny’s at 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Customer service is no different. Nowadays, a reasonable customer may not expect his electrician to be available to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week (unless it is an emergency, of course) – but he does expect to be able to send his electrician a message immediately.
Our online culture has taught people that there is no time like the present and, like it or not, that way of thinking now includes your business. If they can’t get a message to you – and if they don’t have a solid idea of when you will get back to them – then your customers may very well find someone else who is more accessible.
Take a look at your communication with your customers. A phone number/answering service is a start, but it’s not the complete answer. People under twenty-five would rather type on their phone than speak to you with it. Your web site needs a dependable way to send you or your team a message, 24/7. You don’t need to monitor it every minute, but you need to tell the user what happens next. For example, “We will reply promptly during regular business hours.” Then you need to follow through with that claim. In fact, it’s safe to say that the faster you get back to a prospect, the better the chances are that he or she will hire you.
Great service is about convenience for your customers, not convenience for you. Successful contractors are now accessible, even when they’re not available. You should be, too. When your customers know they can get a hold of you, they’ll get a hold of you a lot more.