One thing that technology has done is make it easier to communicate with customers. Contractors now have the ability to automate project updates, set up real-time video conferences, and get real-time alerts when someone has a question.
Technology has also brought higher customer expectations for responsiveness and anticipation of their needs, meaning more challenges to face in an already very competitive industry.
54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today than they did a year ago.
However, if you’ve got the right digital tools and technology guidance, that challenge can be an opportunity and allow you to outshine your competition with better customer service.
The Right Digital Tools Can Streamline Your Customer Service
Contracting companies are in a unique position when it comes to customer communications. They often need to communicate with multiple stakeholders of a project and ultimately, bring several moving parts together to please their client.
When it comes to overall customer satisfaction, it includes areas of your operations such as:
- Responsiveness to inquiries
- Lead nurturing
- Ability to provide realistic expectations
- Timely project communications
- Quality of work
- Final cost matching the estimate
There are multiple ways you can handle all of the above, but an integrated cloud solution approach is the best way to avoid dropped balls, lack of communication and missed expectations.
So, what do we mean by an “integrated cloud solution approach?”
For example, say you’re using email for customer communications and a team member receives an urgent message from a sub-contractor about a change to a countertop material. That message is in one person’s inbox, who may or may not see it right away, and it might not be the inbox of the person that actually needs to call your material supplier and update your order before it ships. This can result in cost overruns and delays.
Say that instead you used a CRM program with ticket forms that your clients and sub-contractors used to communicate project changes. That CRM is also integrated with Microsoft Teams (real-time chat). So, when a ticket comes through for that change in countertop material it goes into the CRM and alerts the project team in Teams, and everyone immediately is aware of the change and can adjust plans accordingly.
That type of integration helps you both reduce mistakes and have the ability to be nimble and flexible when it comes to the demands of your clients.
Here are a few other ways to use technology to improve customer service for your contracting business.
Connect Your Methods of Communication
If someone on your team likes using email instead of messaging, you can set up systems that allow them to email as usual, while messages are still getting captured by a centralized system. This means no one is out of the loop on important communications and you’re also not at risk of losing an important piece of information should someone’s hard drive crash.
Using a central messaging platform, which can be something like Teams, Slack, or a larger project management tool, you can capture all your communications:
- VoIP phone calls
- Web forms
- Social media messaging
So, instead of having your project communications trail spread over multiple platforms, messages can be brought together into a single place to ensure everyone is on the same page and no one misses a beat in serving your customer. Your customer also has multiple ways they can contact you and know that the right person will get their message.
Use of Digital Forms
Using forms to capture important data, such as initial project specifications or customer satisfaction surveys after the fact can help you keep your data organized, reduce time spent keying information into a database, and eliminate confusion.
For example, if a customer is just sending you an email with their color specification for the exterior of a building and they write “Light Blue,” that can mean any number of shades of blue, and your project team has to follow up with them to try to sort out which blue they want, meaning more time spent.
If you provide an online project specification form for your clients to use, it can already have color options built-in to choose from along with links to images of the colors, so your customer can easily tell you exactly which light blue they want the first time.
Plus, that digital form data can automatically feed into any project management or ordering program you need, saving time and reducing manual entry.
There are multiple stages to any construction project, and while each stage doesn’t necessitate a phone call or email to a client, they might appreciate quick status alerts by text or email just so they know things are progressing.
For example, if you’ve got an alert system set up with your warehouse receiving application, it could mean that as soon as you scan in the custom railings that just arrived for customer X, it could automatically trigger a message to that customer stating “Custom stainless steel railings, cobalt blue, just arrived to ACME Contracting.”
That’s the type of customer support that makes a company stand out among their competition.
Need Some Help with Responsive Digital Processes?
Genuine Technology Group can help you put processes into place that improve your customer service while also helping your team be more productive and reduce dropped balls.
Contact us today and to schedule a technology consultation and let’s streamline your digital processes! Call 971-288-0880 or reach us online.