Customer service: the tool for the trade

Customer service can make or break a business, particularly in the service industry. I pride myself on being a ‘people person’, and as a result, interactions with my customers have always been at the forefront of my mind. I have seen firsthand the effect positive word of mouth that comes as a result of providing strong customer service.

For my business, That Ladie Tradie, customer service is more than just the way we greet and treat customers. We make sure they aren’t just satisfied with our overall service but are happy with every single aspect of the exchange. This has helped That Ladie Tradie grow from a one-lady band to a six-person operation.

Here are my top tips to help other small-business owners create positive customer experiences and encourage those all-important positive referrals:

Treat customers like family

Any successful business owner, big or small, knows the importance of valuing your customers, and I am no different. Investing in my customers in small ways, like making the effort to be available when they call, and treating them with honesty and trust, shows them they are more than just a number to me.

Treating my customers like family and making sure they feel valued and important ensures the experience of dealing with my business is memorable for all the right reasons.

Make their lives simple

I make sure processes are as seamless as possible for my customers. For instance, I use mobile invoicing app Invoice2go to accept numerous forms of online payment, to be sure that I’m offering my customers a way to pay that suits them best. I can also send my customers invoices from the palm of my hand the second the job is done, via email, text or Facebook Messenger, whatever best suits them. This means they don’t have to go out of their way to pay me. Going the extra mile to provide a convenient service leaves them with a lasting and positive impression.

Build trust in your business

From time to time, customers come to us with a preconceived lack of trust because they have been taken advantage of by other tradespeople in the past. When this happens, we try to build up their confidence in us and our services by focusing on the small details, like arriving on time, meeting deadlines, and providing professional-looking estimates and quotes that are easy to understand. Focusing on every detail not only builds trust in our ability to get the job done but keeps customers coming back.

Communication and professionalism go hand in hand

Outstanding communication is very important in maintaining honest and friendly relationships with my customers, particularly when it comes to sensitive matters, like following up an overdue invoice. My first course of action is typically to send a friendly email reminder or give them a call to see if there has been an issue, which often clears things up and they pay right away. Not only has this clear communication helped me build friendships with my customers, but has helped me portray a sense of professionalism, encouraging customers to refer us on.

By constantly thinking about how I can better serve my clients, I’ve learnt a lot about providing great customer service. It doesn’t just come from me, however; my superstar team is well aware of how important customer service has been for That Ladie Tradie. With the entire team committed to providing great customer service, it means, as a business, we can really stand out from the crowd.

Michelle Hargreaves, Founder, That Ladie Tradie

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