It happened again today. I was at the home of a client we worked with in 2008 to design and build a library. They had just replaced some of their kitchen appliances and performed some surgery on their existing kitchen cabinets to accommodate the new appliances. They want A Cut Above to “do its magic” to repair the kitchen cabinets and disguise the areas where the “surgery” took place. We talked for a while and we have plan to take care of this for them.
While we chatted and got caught up, I asked if they had spoken to the general contractor who did their renovation work back when they hired us to design and build their library. They explained they had a “falling out” with the contractor’s firm and they haven’t spoken with him in a while. As it turns out, some of the work he did for them did not turn out very well and there were some issues with the quality of work in several of the projects he did for them.
As I drove back to the shop after the meeting I was thinking about my clients’ comments regarding their experience with the other contractor. It occurred to me that I’ve heard the same story from other clients many times over the years. In fact, I hear this sort of thing from my clients all the time. I’m quite happy that A Cut Above has developed a reputation of delivering high quality built-ins and providing excellent customer service.
However, it concerns me that there are so many other contractors, in a variety of trades, that regularly disappoint their customers. On one hand the poor performance of other contractors serves to make A Cut Above stand out. But, the clients don’t know this until after the project is complete. And worse yet, on the front end of the sales process we have to overcome the client’s preconceived notion that all contractors under perform. We combat this by ensuring to the best of our ability that all of our clients are completely satisfied and by getting their permission to use them as references.
Creating satisfied clients is not necessarily the “end game”. We maintain a current list of reference clients and we provide it to our new prospects at our first meeting. We follow up regularly to encourage them to make the calls to contact our references. In addition we have several client testimonial videos (a sample is below) on our web site and we’ve included a variety of quotes from our clients as well.
Finally, we just started collecting specific feedback from our clients immediately after installation. We’ve created a brief “Post Installation” feedback survey that we use to collect information from our clients on an ongoing basis. This provides valuable feedback to us as to how to improve what we do as well as providing great input to our marketing.
It really does pay always do the best thing for the client whether its being on time for appointments, delivering top quality craftsmanship, or providing good customer service. The results will be show up in referrals, repeat clients, and a feeling of satisfaction that you too are “A Cut Above”.
Chip Yawney discovered his passion for woodworking while renovating a historic building he owned with several partners. He founded A Cut Above Woodworks LLC, Jessup, MD, in 2005.
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