If your sales haven’t been exactly what you were expecting last year, is it possible that your customer service practices may have something to do with sales? You might think you are providing an acceptable level of customer service but what if you went above your standard level – could that be a game changer for you?
Under promise and over deliver…
This is a great philosophy to live by when you are providing home staging services whether it’s a consultation, client consultation, recommendations or the actual hands-on home staging work, you want to give your clients MORE than they paid for! By giving them MORE you are going to attract MORE clients like them and you are going to get some fantastic testimonials and they are MORE likely to refer you!
Understand I am not suggesting not to charge what the project/job is worth, I am saying throw in ‘a little something extra’ that would make them feel ‘Over the Moon’ about you.
Assessing Your Customer Service Level
Take an assessment of some of the ideas here and see how you would rate yourself. How many can you say “YES I DO THAT” to.
- If a prospect/client has left you a message on your phone do you get back to them within 24 hours? I mean pick up the phone and phone them? If a prospect/client has sent you an email do you get back to them within 24 hours?
- If you do not return phone calls or emails on the weekend do you let your prospects/clients know that by putting this in your message? (Staging isn’t often just a Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm business so you might need to revisit this)
- If you are not going to be able to return emails or phone calls while you are on vacation or sick, do you have someone in place who can do that for you? Is everyone on your team someone you are proud of that can deal competently with your clients when you are not available?
- If you say/promise that you are going to do something for your client, do you do it on time and on budget? If things are off-budget do you take the time to consult with your client rather than surprising them at the end with an extra charge or do you absorb the extra charges?
- Do you always arrive just a few minutes early to your appointments and look professional? If you are going to be late do you let your clients know? Is your portfolio up to date with great ‘before and after’ photos that you will impress your client?
- When you do your hands-on home staging work do you do a little extra for your client and let them know what you did? Perhaps you staged a small area for them that you hadn’t agreed you would do? Brought in a small accessory that you knew would work well at no charge for them?
- Do you have a Follow Up system in place that allows you to keep in touch with your clients? Are you sending out a fabulous monthly newsletter that gives them great tips on what they need to do to get their property ready for selling? Do you let them know about your awesome Special Promotions you have coming up? If you know when their birthdays are and you have a close relationship with them – send them a card!
- Are your clients really aware of how much you enjoyed working with them and how much you appreciate having the opportunity to stage their property? Perhaps you give them a small branded gift that you leave behind after the job. Send Out Cards (or something similar) are great for saying ‘Thank You’ and you can enclose a small gift with your card.
- Do you take the time to phone your client to check in with how the sale of their home is progressing? If you staged a vacant home you will know when it has sold but it’s a great idea to touch base with your clients and if need be, do a little coaching to keep them positive and hopeful that a sale is just around the corner.
- Even if you did not get the home staging job you bid on, did you follow up with the realtor and/or client to find out what you could have done differently, better, etc.? Did you send them a ‘Thank You’ card and not an email?
Having said all of the above will improve your Customer Service it is a given that your home staging designs and talents are exceptional already! You may have been able to get a 100% on these Customer Service questions – that’s just great. If not, you can make the choice to change some of the ways you are doing business. Only you can determine your level of customer service but to really excel in today’s home staging marketplace, I think you need to pick up the phone more, meet more people in person and deliver on all your promises
Take a close look at what systems you have in place as part of your Customer Service program. Is it time to revisit this and/or add some new services? What are 3 new things you could do to show your clients/prospects that you actually ‘personally’ care about them? Get inside your client’s head and think what would put a smile on their face!
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Dana Smithers is founder and creative director of the PRES Staging Resource Centre, a company devoted to teaching entrepreneurial women how to start and run their home staging business. Through her workshops, courses, mentoring programs, and products, Dana shows her students how to live their dream of becoming a home stager whether part time or full time. She is committed to her students’ on-going success.