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The Customer Focus Series – Part 4

Posted by Amy Lynch on June 29, 2023
Woman working with her team

Set the right tone and be ready for exceptions.

Last time, we were talking about The Five Rules of Friendliness, numbers one and two. Today, we’ll hit number three.

Five Rules of Friendliness: #3 Set the Right Tone

Our people undergo customer service training about setting the tone with the customer right from the start. We want them to feel that having Nolan Painting in their home will be a good experience. Right off the bat, you can ruin the job by stepping into someone’s house and engaging them poorly.

They should feel we respect them, their space, and their home. We also try to make them comfortable, so they’ll think, “Yeah, I hired the right people. They were respectful, professional, and kind to me when they first walked in the door.” It’s so important to set the tone correctly.

Sometimes you can’t win, even if you set a friendly tone. Accept this and plan for it.

Most people are nice, but last year a customer complained about her century-and-a-half-year-old shutters because they didn’t look perfect. The shutters were pretty beaten up and had been neglected for most of their long lives. We cleaned them up, painted them, and did our best. However, the customer thought we could have done better.

Try not to get cheeky… Make them happy and move on!

I wanted to accommodate her and make her happy, so I started the conversation by first asking, “How are my people? Were they polite and friendly?”

My customer said, “Yes, of course.”

“Well, that’s the most important thing,” I said.

She interrupted me to say, “No, it’s not! Quality is the most important thing!”

Now, I can get cheeky after 40-plus years in business. So I said, “Oh, you must have hired the wrong painting company because customer service is our most important thing.”

She looked at me like I had three eyes. Nevertheless, we reworked and repainted the shutters but decided never to work for this person again. We noted that in our database by putting a star before their name. When we email blasts or correspondence, we remove all the starred customers. Mostly, we’ll have many repeat customers who are happy and easier to please; they’re great customers with realistic expectations.

Making customers happy – we do that every day, and we have thousands and thousands of satisfied customers and terrific customer reviews. It’s really about setting the right tone and learning what is required to make customers happy.

Think about the tone you’d like to set in all of the kinds of interactions you have with your customers. For us, it was always hiring friendly, nice people to work in customers’ homes. Set the tone.

Build muscle. See you Monday.

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