At MyBuilder, we know that great tradesmen possess skills they’ve honed over many years if not decades of experience. It could be the perfect way to paint corners of a room, how to get a great smooth finish when plastering or perfect symmetry when tiling. One skill that isn’t always honed though, or even thought much about by some tradesmen, is a major part of their customer service and that is communication – undeniably an important factor for any service provider.
We’ve taken a look at some of the factors that homeowners really value – many of which good tradesmen will do naturally. It’s worth highlighting here though, as these attributes can really make the difference, in not only which tradesman gets chosen for a job, but transforming a good job into a great job.
Communication is key. Right from the start, homeowners want reassurance from tradesmen for a variety of things – that they are skilled and knowledgeable in their field, that they understand the project and what is being asked for (including any uncertainties), and that they can be trusted to do the job well, on time and on budget.
It’s not only understanding what is expected to complete the job (less relevant for a boiler servicing than an extension), but letting the customer know that all the details of the project have been understood and planned accordingly.
The difficult thing about communication is that there are so many parts to it. It’s not simply what you say, it’s also about how you say it. If the first impression is via written text such as a web page, a text message or email, then communicating clearly is important, including checking for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Even though a great speller doesn’t mean you’re a great tradesman, a message littered with errors which is difficult to read won’t help!
Written communication can be key throughout the whole process, especially at the start and end when it comes to quotes and invoices. Whilst it might seem that a formal written quote for a relatively straightforward job is overkill, it does help reduce any potential for conflict when the job has been done, in terms of what work was agreed and at what cost. This is especially relevant if the scope of a job expands (which is not uncommon) and more work needs doing, and in turn more parts need ordering and there are more hours of labour to add to the costs. The final invoice is also useful for both parties, such as explicitly stating when the final balance is due.
The promptness of any communication should not be undervalued. Even if putting together a quote takes days, the important thing to note is to make sure the customer is aware of this. Sending a message letting the customer know the quote is still being worked on avoids any thoughts of being neglected or ignored. We all miss appointments for various reasons, but one call can make the difference from being a minor inconvenience to damaging the relationship between the tradesman and the customer.
Great tradesmen will do a lot of the above naturally, but it doesn’t hurt to remember that for many homeowners, there is a degree of uncertainty over how the project will pan out and how difficult it can be to judge a tradesman before any work starts. Good communication can make the whole process smoother, and ultimately help both the tradesman and the homeowner.
Gavin Chan is the Online Marketing Manager at MyBuilder, a UK-based site which brings over 65,000 tradesmen, reviewed by previous users, together with homeowners.