We spend a lot of time talking to restoration contractors and one of the most frequent questions get asked is: how do customers pick a contractor. While some customers may call the first company they find, others are likely to spend a few minutes researching contractors. In our experience, there are a few key things customers consider when picking a restoration contractor.
How Do Customers Pick a Contractor
Every customer is different but based upon the research from listening to all of lead generation calls we’ve isolated the five main things customers consider.
Not every customer is equally concerned about each of these five items, but most will think about them to some degree before agreeing to hire you. We also find that these five things are all interrelated. Trust is built by a positive reputation, being responsive to their needs, and arriving promptly to inspect their damage.
Reputation: Ask Customers For Reviews and Referrals
One of the first things customers see when they search for a restoration contractor is their Google rating. There are two critical parts to having a positive reputation. The first is providing good service. This is important, but it’s less important than asking your customers to leave reviews.
While your previous customers may love you if they aren’t sharing that with potential customers you could be losing out on jobs. Whether you use our Acquirly review generation app or you have your own process, make sure you are asking customers to leave reviews.
Word of mouth recommendations are also part of your reputation. Facebook even has a recommendations feature now that allows customers to ask their friends for suggestions. Part of your wrap up process with each customer should be asking them to leave a review and recommend you to friends and family that need your services.
Avoid being pushy or leaving tons of business cards behind, but just politely thank them for their business and ask them for referrals and a review. Explain that some of your business comes from referrals from customers just like them. Also, give them a specific place where you’d like a review, such as Google or Facebook. Make the process as easy as possible too.
Responsiveness: Answer Calls And Communicate Effectively
One of the easiest ways to lose a customer is to be unresponsive, so make sure you are answering calls quickly. If you do miss a call, call them back immediately. Customers are likely to call a competitor in less than two minutes.
Don’t forget to check other communications channels regularly too. Customers are likely to message you through your social media accounts or email you. Make sure to turn on notifications so you don’t miss a message. Even just a few minutes can make the difference between getting and losing the job.
While you may think you are safe once you have a signed work order, a dissatisfied customer is more likely to leave a review. If your customer service drops off once the job starts, it’s likely to hurt your reputation. This doesn’t mean you need to respond to every question immediately or at all hours of the night but set clear expectations for communication.
Punctuality: Arrive On Time And Stick To Your Work Schedule
Much like responsiveness, it’s important that you are punctual. Set realistic expectations about when you will arrive to provide an estimate. If you get delayed, call your customer and explain the situation immediately.
While may consider overestimating your travel time to ensure you don’t arrive late, don’t pad your arrival time too much. This gives the customer time to call a competitor, who just might beat you to the job site.
Limit departure delays by keeping your truck or van packed with your most important equipment at all times. Avoid relying on your own sense of direction and use a traffic app to get to get there promptly.
Once you get the job, be clear about your work schedule and when you will start work each day. If you need to adjust your schedule, call your customer and explain the situation.
Trust: Building a Relationship With Your Customers
One of the most important factors in how customers pick a contractor is trust. In fact, every aspect of your interaction with your customer affects their trust level. This includes your reputation, responsiveness, and punctuality.
A customer with a disaster needs reassurance that the damage can be repaired. A calm, confident tone is a great way to start building trust with your customers. If you are clearly distracted on the phone or seem unsure of yourself, it’s likely your customers will hear this on the other end of the line. Answer questions honestly and admit when you don’t know an answer.
Another part of building trust is being professional. Arrive wearing a clean uniform, no matter how dirty the job might be. Always be polite and courteous to your customers. Assume every job site is non-smoking and consider that neighbors and children will hear your conversations.
Price: Address Your Customer’s Biggest Concern By Provide A Detailed Estimate
Price is typically the biggest concern for your customers. This is likely to include both worrying about affording the cost as well as being taken advantage of. Start by providing a detailed estimate of the job.
While it may seem unnecessary to list every item in the estimate, explaining even the smallest cost helps the customer understand and builds trust. Be transparent about the price of materials, the cost of removal and disposal, your overhead, travel expenses, etc.
We also ask all of our lead generation partners to provide a free, no-obligation estimate on restoration and disaster mitigation jobs and recommend that you do as well. While this may seem counterintuitive to landing the job, we actually find it helps convert more jobs.
Include your payment options when providing your estimate. Whenever possible, offer flexible financing or accept credit cards to limit concerns over the price of restoration. Once you land the job, communicate cost overruns immediately and get the customer’s permission before proceeding.
Making Sure Customers Choose You
Disaster mitigation and restoration can be competitive industries. Landing more jobs starts by objectively evaluating where you rank on each of these qualities. Start by making small improvements where necessary. The key to getting more water damage, fire restoration, and mold removal jobs is providing good customer service. By considering their experience and focusing on these skills, you can stop worrying about how customers pick a contractor.