By Josh White
Customers today are continuously evolving, which means the importance of adhering to their desires—also known as being a customer-centric business—is paramount for any enterprise’s sustained success. For roofing and contracting companies specifically, much of their secured business derives from returning customers, as well as new customers who receive referrals from family and friends, or who study online reviews about a company they’re considering.
In fact, the probability of businesses selling to existing customers lands between 60-70%, compared to just a 5-20% probability when approaching new customers. Additionally, 97% of consumers reported they would tell others about very good or excellent customer service experiences. As we see with these two statistical examples, customers interact and engage with companies they know and ones that appeal to their personal preferences.
While the idea of having a customer-centric business may sound mundane, the reality is that many in our industry struggle to do so—talking the talk rather than walking the walk. The inability to adapt to and fit customers’ current makeup can minimize new job opportunities, leading to loss of revenue, high employee turnover, and many other severe consequences.
To help business owners in the roofing and contracting spaces avoid these complications, we dive into three principles that can be implemented into an organizational strategy to ensure businesses are making profits and properly serving customers at the same time.
HIRING THE RIGHT TALENT
As a business owner myself, I know the challenges that come with searching for ideal candidates who mesh well not only internally with the team, but also externally with customers. Employees are the face of the business, no matter if they’re sales staff or the on-site project team. Good or bad, they represent the company at all times, which is why hiring with a customer-centric focus in mind is a must.
One way to accomplish this is by promoting company culture within specific job descriptions and promoting culture when sharing job openings themselves. Job seekers are focusing more on company culture than ever before, with 77% reporting they consider it before applying to a specific company. Not only does promoting culture bring more applicants in the door, but it also attracts the top industry talent that provide the skills, experience and intangibles needed for a customer-friendly enterprise.
It’s also important to emphasize candidates’ soft skills during the interview process, in addition to their work skills and experience, which can be done by inserting more personable and conversational interview questions. While some prospects may be the most qualified for the job, a lack of interpersonal skills can cause rifts inside the company, as well as subpar customer communication, eventually leading to a poor representation of the company.
IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS
With a good chunk of industry business coming from existing customers and their referrals, an important method to use in securing this business is fostering long-standing relationships with customers. The value of relationships continues to grow, whether it’s utilizing personal connections during a job search, or securing upcoming opportunities with customers. Relationships, and strong ones at that, are king in today’s day and age, which makes having these with customers a huge asset for a business’ success.
The first step in this process is to befriend the customers, followed by sustaining that “friendship” over time. Tactics used in personal friendships can pay dividends in building friendships with customers, such as being honest with customers, building trust between both sides, genuinely caring about them and their desires, and more. With 79% of customers saying they want companies to show that they understand and care about them before they purchase, utilizing these tactics can secure a plethora of referrals and new customers.
What’s more, companies that hire with a customer-centric mindset will have employees with the intangibles and interpersonal skills to create these long-lasting relationships with customers, building a pipeline for future business opportunities.
GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
The 2020 Consumer Culture Report found that 71% of consumers prefer buying from and interacting with businesses that align with their values. Typically, this is seen through companies pledging donations to specific causes consumers are passionate about or giving back in other ways to serve the greater community. For business owners in our industry, giving back may be one of the more feasible and effective ways to build brand affinity with customers.
Whether it be donations to local nonprofits or offering free services to neighbors in a time of need, our businesses can make a major difference across our respective communities with what we bring to the table. Additionally, customers will feel that the local company truly cares about them and the communities’ well-being, leading to them being more inclined to seek services in the future.
Businesses must not forget to be genuine when giving back to their communities. Sure, it can help bring in new job opportunities and can be a good public relations boost, but the most important thing is what can be done to better the community and the lives of its citizens.
While it’s important to excel in the individual services and expertise a business provides, they must not forget to also excel in their customer service and customer appeal. Consumers now desire companies that are friendly and unique to them, rather than just offering the best service or the lowest price, making it a necessity for all businesses—especially for those in our industry.
About the Author:
A disabled veteran from Indianapolis, Indiana, Josh White has served as the president of Hoosier Contractors since 2013. Hoosier Contractors is a locally owned and operated residential and commercial contracting business serving the greater Indianapolis area. Using a customer-first approach to build business, Hoosier Contractors is part of the National Roofing Contractor Association and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. For more, visit www.hoosierroof.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2021
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