(My contribution to this month's MZM's group writing project - I think?)
Our - 5 year old - company Wood You Like Ltd prides itself on its high level of customer care. Everyone of our clients knows what they can expect from us from the start, we have webpages filled with (free) information to help them decide and select the best (for their circumstances, interior design wishes and their budget) products and or services we can supply.
And our customer care doesn't stop the moment we've delivered or installed their floor, we don't 'close-the-door' on them (like one 'fellow' installer once told me he did). Our clients appreciate our care, and are happy to tell us so too.
And to be honest, we don't get many complaints or negative remarks from our clients, but we are only human so of course it can happen. We're not afraid of that, of course not! We will always do our utmost best to remedy any issue our clients are not really happy with.
How else can we create word-of-mouth? Because, as Andy Sernovitz so truly states in his book "Word Of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking": Marketing is NOT about what you say, it is about what you DO!
This week we received a (long) letter from one of our clients. We worked on a flooring, part renovation job for them last year. Four months ago!
Their letter starts with a sweet remark on how they appreciate the enjoyable relationship they have (had?) with us, which made it somehow hard for them to put pen to paper to state a list with items/issues they're not happy with. And could we please contact them to remedy the situation? OF COURSE! VERY HAPPY TO DO SO! YESTERDAY IF POSSIBLE!
Why on earth did they wait 4 months? It's not that we tell them they can't contact us after we've closed the door on the job, on the contrary! Every client, no matter if we only delivered the floor or delivered and installed it, receives a letter within 4 weeks of delivery/installation. The very first paragraph in this letter states:
"You recently purchased a natural wooden floor or service from us and we trust everything is to your liking and in good order. Please feel free to call us if you are in any doubt. Remember there is always a 4-seasons guarantee on our labour (if we installed the floor for you)."
We cannot make it any clearer than that! Our clients waited 4 months to inform us of their doubts. And what frustrates me most is the ultimate reason they finally did so: more and more friends, family, neighbours remarked on their floor. 4 months of 'festering' doubt if we are the proper company we make out to be, 4 months of generating 'bad publicity' without us even knowing about it, 4 months without us being able to correct the situation if we've made mistakes - we are only human, we do make mistakes (not many fortunately but still, we do!).
We will remedy this situation, no doubt about it and it doesn't matter if it is just a perception or indeed a case of having made mistakes, we will remedy this. Rather sooner than later!
That leaves me with one big 'festering' question:
How do you stop clients NOT complaining?
(update: see comment box)