How We Improved Our Customer Service In The Disaster Cleanup Industry
How We Improved Our Customer Service In The Disaster Cleanup Industry
We’ve never been as focused on our customers as we are now. In 2018 we began the simple practice of following up with all our customers after we had completed disaster cleanup work for them. It’s easy to see reviews customers leave us from sources like Facebook and Google. People often leave comments when they’re especially happy or angry. But we wanted to hear the details of what our customers liked about us… and didn’t like so much as well. We’re always looking to get better, and we wanted to grow our business too. Luckily, we have some huge supporters in Grand Junction, and last year was a great success. For those of you who are interested, the following steps are just some of how we improved our customer service in the disaster cleanup industry and increased our open market volume by fifty percent.
“Out of eighteen customers we got a hold of last month, three said that they were very happy with the end product, but they’re really unhappy with our communication.” For several months in a row in 2018, those were the general reviews we were getting as a disaster cleanup company. We began calling past customers at the start of 2018 so we could implement our culture of continuous learning. People often pull the punches when our techs and reconstruction crew are at their homes, but we discovered early in the year that they were much more likely to be fully honest if we called them after work was complete. We’d meet at manager meetings and hear reviews like these, regularly.
“Yeah, their homes are one hundred percent restored. All three of them are completely satisfied with our work quality. No concerns about any repairs whatsoever. All in all, we could call this a successful project from a technical standpoint.” All of the managers had confused looks on their faces and the thought was running through everyone’s minds… Then why aren’t they happy?
Recognizing Our Faults
It’s not easy for a company in a competitive market like disaster cleanup to admit their faults. We’re still a bit uncomfortable with it, truth be told. We had some big problems communicating properly with our customers last year and our customer review efforts were showing that very clearly. It was a hard pill to swallow, especially since customers have never complained about our work quality. It was hard at the time to imagine that anyone could be upset with wonderful disaster cleanup service and a perfectly restored home, even if we weren’t walking them through every step of the project.
But we took the education we could get from the experience and began implementing new processes and systems to prioritize customer communication. We found that the communication problem showed up when we were waiting for materials to arrive for customers during the reconstruction phase of their disaster cleanup projects.
There are often lead times when ordering material, especially if Lowe’s, Home Depot, or other tradespeople in town don’t currently have stock. During these waiting periods, we used to tell customers we’d get in contact when their materials were in. But after multiple weeks of not hearing from us, they’d begin to complain that our communication was bad.
“We said we’d call you!” Is what we wanted to say. “We’re doing what we promised!” Which of course, doesn’t fly very well when it comes to peoples’ homes.
So instead, we made the simple change of staying in touch with homeowners every few days, even if the only thing we communicated to them was that we were still waiting for materials. Or still waiting for their adjuster. Or still waiting for investigation reports from any number of city or government officials (with fire losses, etc.). Or still waiting for any number of other things completely out of our control.
Once we instituted that simple change, our reviews became almost entirely positive. There are always small issues that need fixing from time to time, but we no longer had any recurring complaints. That one improvement turned out to be one of the biggest changes we made in 2018, even though it was one of the simpler improvements. We believe that one change set in motion several other improvements, which ultimately increased our open market volume by fifty percent last year.
Disaster Cleanup In Grand Junction
The disaster cleanup industry is competitive. There are a number of restoration contractors in Grand Junction, and only a limited amount of water damage jobs per year. We live in a world today where everyone’s trying to appear perfect to their customers, because it can feel like you have to in order to survive. If a company gets one bad review online it can affect business and the bottom line at the end of the year. That could mean lost bonuses for employees, less options for additional training, or it could prevent us from getting new equipment. For disaster cleanup companies, that realization can be intimidating.
However, we believe at Delta Restoration Services that honesty and transparency should be at the root of business. It’s a positive thing for our customers and referral sources to understand where we’ve improved in the past, so you can know where we stand now.
As a business we’ve always liked to take the approach of “selling” or “marketing” ourselves by showing people the results. Anyone can say that they’re great at something, but everyone’s all overly inundated with ads these days, and no one likes to be “sold” on anything.
Especially in an industry like water damage repair and disaster cleanup. If you buy something at the store and you get buyer’s remorse you can almost always return the product. It’s easier to reverse a poor decision when there’s less involved. But when it comes to your house you want to get the job done right the first time. That’s why we do so much blogging, send out email newsletters, and communicate what we’re both good and where we’re improving. We think it’s important for people we work with to feel comfortable enough with our services, who we are as a disaster cleanup company, and as members of the Grand Junction community, to refer us to their friends and family.
With Your Help We Keep Getting Better
Every now and then we like to share what’s new with Delta and how our business is doing. Why? If we’re doing well it’s because people are happy with the work we’re performing. And in this case, we are doing well.
We grew our “open market” business by 50% last year. We don’t normally brag, but we are excited about the progress we’re making. We’re getting better because you, our customers and referral partners are telling us what you want from a disaster cleanup company. We’re listening. And we’ll keep listening to you and getting better so long as we’re in the disaster cleanup business in Grand Junction. Thank you for helping us get better each and every year.