Whilst all good tradies will have a well-established client base built on the back of the quality of services delivered and subsequent referrals, is that enough to sustain consistent growth or even to just maintain current sales levels? Having robust administrative processes in place is a key pillar for your success. Just being a good bloke or lass who turns up on time, cleans up after yourself and does top quality work is not enough to truly stand out from the crowd. You have to have good systems and processes in place to reinforce all the good work you are doing on the job.
We all know that the trades landscape is highly competitive and that customers are increasingly becoming less loyal and shopping around more. It’s all the little things you do that will make you stand out from the crowd. And, if you want to grow you have to stand out from the crowd, so make damn sure you are doing the little things well. A lot of those little things live within your admin and customer service systems and processes.
In the current marketing age of customer experience, the benchmarks of customer service have been set extremely high with the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, Flight Centre and most other successful organisations supremely focused on delivering their customers the best customer experience possible. This means that consumer expectations around customer service have substantially increased. So your customers and prospects will all be expecting ever increasing levels of customer service from you and all other tradies.
Every single time a customer communicates with you and vice versa, these expectations need to be at the very least met, or even better exceeded. If expectations are not met you will lose that customer. Research shows that even if expectations are met, customers are becoming less and less loyal with decreasing retention levels. Only exceeding expectations guarantees a returning customer. So it’s business critical that your systems and processes are backing you up to deliver the service levels that will help you grow your trade business.
What are some of the key areas tradies should be focused on to streamline admin processes?
- Get on top of your emails – do not let customer enquiries sit unanswered for longer than a couple of hours or worse lost in an unorganised email inbox
- Make sure you are answering your phone – if not your prospects will be calling someone else to get the services and information they need
- Quoting – get quotes out as fast as possible, time kills deals and the longer you leave it, the less likely they will go ahead
- Documentation – all documentation must be professionally presented and accurate
- Invoicing – the faster you get invoices out the faster you will have that cash in the bank, any errors will cost you money
- Follow up regularly – you spent the money on marketing, make sure you are following up those quotes regularly. People are time poor, so follow ups are usually appreciated, show you are on top of things and it will help you win more business
- Job Management Software (JMS) – There are some fantastic job management systems and software on the market. These all have many features and functions that will help you run your business more effectively. If you are not using job management software then you should be. The cost of a licence is negligible compared to what is delivered in terms of management tools for a trades business
- Capturing customer data– make sure you are capturing all customer information accurately and storing it in a centralised database. That could be your Job Management Software or even better a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Returning customers expect you to know everything about your relationship with them, not knowing will cost you. It also helps for marketing in knowing where your customers come from and so that you can market to existing customers with special offers in quieter times
- Bookkeeping– make sure you are on top of paying your suppliers. Reputation is everything in the trades and loosing track of your books could cost you
It’s all about getting things done efficiently, effectively and accurately. All helping to gain trust which will win you more business and just as importantly, help you to exceed customer expectations. If you can do that we guarantee that your business will grow.