Home Business Insights & Advice How to manage customer expectations as a tradesman

How to manage customer expectations as a tradesman

by Sarah Dunsby
25th Mar 24 11:19 am

As a tradesman, you’ll be running a self-employed business, and as such, you need to make sure that you are closely considering the needs of your customers at all times. Whether you manage a team of engineers or go solo, this is what you can’t afford to overlook. No matter the industry you work in, unhappy customers never help a business’s sustainable growth, which ultimately leads to a lack of profit and company closure.

With that in mind, managing your customer expectations is an essential part of your day-to-day operations, be it excellent customer support, reliable communication, or great initiatives. The more valued and important you make your clients feel, the more successful you are likely to be.

There are many important things you can do to ensure you’re managing customer expectations as well as possible. From investing in the right tools and software to setting realistic expectations and improving based on feedback, here are a few of the ways a trade business owner can ensure they set themselves up for success.

Be realistic

One of the most important things you can do is make sure that you are always being as realistic as possible with how you approach your customers’ needs. In other words, make sure that you are setting realistic expectations for them as to what is going to happen. To do this successfully, you should think carefully about how long a task will take and not promise results that are in a timeframe you can’t deliver on.

Sometimes, it can be tempting to warp the truth a little or promise something you can’t achieve. In the long run, however, this is just dooming yourself to failure, and it isn’t the appropriate route to take. Instead, make sure that you are offering a genuine and realistic vision of what you can offer and in what timescale.

When first starting your business, build your models and hourly rates after you have conducted thorough industry research and compared your services to those already out there. This will give you a better understanding of what you can charge per hour and how long each job should take your team. Having this clearly outlined within your business strategy will not only help your team day-to-day when managing customers, but it’s going to be much better for your success and customer satisfaction in the long run.

Under-promise and over-deliver

This is a very well-known phrase amongst customer-facing industries. If you are finding that you are often disappointing your customers and apologising for delays and unexpected circumstances, you are likely setting yourself up to fail. This is a clear sign that you are offering services, timeframes and quality that you cannot efficiently produce for them.

When making sure that your clients are happy with the services provided, it’s a really good idea to under-promise what you are going to deliver. This doesn’t mean underselling yourself and your team’s capabilities; it just means you’ll be adding extra time and expense to the proposed quote. This is a key strategy you’ll find most businesses, especially those in the field of trade, opt to take. This ensures you have room to make changes, correct errors and re-arrange timeframes if needed due to unforeseen situations out of your control.

This approach is known for being hugely effective. If you under-promise and over-deliver, your customers are always going to be happier and more satisfied with the service at the end. It’s always better to tell a client it will take longer and to surprise them with a quicker service than to tell them you cannot deliver on the day you previously agreed.

Use job management software

Do you often end up stressed, running around trying to complete the work to expectations you set whilst managing a team, sending invoices and completing dreaded paperwork? It’s a lot to juggle, and it’s a situation you need to fix – as soon as possible. Not only will you improve your productivity and mindset, but you’ll also improve your customer satisfaction, employee well-being and overall business success.

So, what’s the best way to fix this? Ensure you make good use of job management software. This software will help keep you in line when it comes to all aspects of managing a successful business, so it’s a really useful thing to have and to make use of in your daily work.

With the right job management, be it a plumbing, electrical or gas engineering software, you’ll find that everything is considerably easier to achieve. From sending professional invoices, quotes, and certificates to scheduling jobs and assigning the right tasks to the right teams at the right time, there are so many possibilities that can make your business operations seamless. Set yourself up for success as you approach 2024 in trade with a trade business management app.

Collect feedback

One of the best ways to understand how you are performing as a tradesman is simply to ask the customers you have worked for in the past. Soliciting feedback in this way is hugely important; not only can it be used on websites and social media as proof of credibility, but it also offers you and your staff insights into what can be improved. As the business owner and manager, making sure your team, service, and operations meet expectations is a priority.

To conclude, if you want your trade business to fly in 2024, you need to ensure you set yourself up for success with your clients. Underpromising and overdelivering on your services, implementing job management software into daily operations and seeking both positive and negative feedback will ensure your business remains compliant, credible and customer-focused.

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