Understanding the customer experience

15 December 2022

The “customer experience” is really important in building trust. Your customer identifies you by their experience with you, but not only that! Their experience is also determined by your company’s advertising, your store design, your tools and their interactions with your colleagues. There are many things that can enhance your customers’ experience.

Before a customer calls you

Customers will see newspaper ads for your maintenance or repair services, they may hear radio ads, or they may check out your website if you have one. All your advertising material is important. It needs to reach the average individual who needs someone to do a job like renovate their kitchen counter. What you don’t want to do is look or sound unprofessional, or talk over people’s heads by using overly technical terms like joint coupling or discharge pipe. Be concise in newspaper ads: “Mr. James, for all your kitchen cabinet repair and renovation needs” or something similar. If you have a logo, make sure it’s sales-oriented and represents you. A plumber whose logo shows nothing related to plumbing—no water, pipes or tools—may not inspire confidence.

When you’re with customers

You’ve had a customer over to your shop or home? That’s good, but make sure they remember you as a competent professional!

Arranging your workspace

The customer experience is very much based on your customer’s first impression of you. This comes from the image you project. Try to arrange your tools like you’re going to do a household appliance repair job. For example, hammers and screwdrivers of all sizes mixed up in a tool box or a repairer tripping over their work equipment are two negative images that you don’t want customers to see. Keep your tools organized in toolboxes so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Arrange your work equipment to minimize clutter when in your customer’s home. In other words, show them you’re organized, even if you are a manual worker!

Setting up a hardware store

If you run a business like a hardware store where people buy things to do their own repairs, the look of the store will determine whether people talk about it in a positive or negative way. For example, make it as easy as possible to enter the store. Desks and workbenches should not be placed by the entrance so as not to impede access. As much as possible, your entrance should be a passageway that leads to products to be purchased. The way should be clear so that customers can get to what they need. Similarly, when customers enter a hardware store, they should be able to find the most urgent items first, like products to repair toilets and replace leaky pipes, followed by tools (screwdrivers, nails, hammers, etc.). You should then set out items that people use for minor jobs, like plaster and painting supplies.

Knowing your customer

Sometimes there’s no easy way to know how a customer feels, especially if they’re complete strangers. For example, a person who is moving into a new apartment on July 1 will smile less and be less receptive to your offers because they want to spend as little as possible before the move. You may not get them to purchase an extended warranty on a sink part, for instance, because for now they’re only renting. You may be perceived as someone who just wants to sell a warranty to make more money. You can nevertheless suggest something that will have added value for them. For example, a warranty on bathroom ceramics has a lot of added value for a young couple that has just bought their first home. While the warranty comes at a price, it means they won’t have to pay for new ceramic tiles every time one cracks on their bathroom floor. You will appear more conscientious by giving them not only the materials, but a guarantee that they won’t have to worry about paying huge amounts of money to repair their bathroom floor in the future.

The customer experience also plays a role later on

When the customer calls about an issue with one of your repairs, even if you know you’re not at fault or that the customer has no warranty, try to be respectful and show that you’re listening and looking for solutions. You can refer them to good parts suppliers or offer to redo the repair if it’s urgent, although it will cost the customer. Your skill level will also contribute to a good customer experience. Or not. If you know your trade, it won’t be a problem!

 

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