Winning the race to the bottom

Issue 2/3 2023 Editor's Choice

Today’s market is a race to the bottom. Installers push suppliers for larger discounts to win jobs based on price. I hear this daily from suppliers and installers, but what happens when you reach the bottom? What happens to you when there is no more fat to trim? Why would customers choose you over someone else who offers the same product for R100 less?


Charles Freedman.

While our industry is focused on keeping people and property safe, it is in the way you treat your customers that ultimately determines whether they will choose you again in the future. In this article, we will explore why customer service is so critical to your business and what you can do today to improve yours.

People buy people. A great customer experience is the foundation for building strong relationships with customers. When you take the time to listen to their needs, answer their questions, and address their concerns, you build trust and rapport that leads to repeat business and positive referrals. Today, technology makes it easy for you to show off your best self. Detailed notes, photographs, and checklists can be easily shared with customers in real time giving them transparency and peace of mind alongside confidence that you are the right person for this job and the next one.

Keep your promises. A great customer experience is the product doing what you say it will and that your jobs are completed on time, and to a high standard. You might get by on bits of paper, whiteboard and an Excel spreadsheet, but technology helps take you to another level. Streamlining job cards, quotes and invoices, so you can quickly get customers accurate pricing and timelines, whilst managing their expectations and preventing misunderstandings is another level. It also helps to avoid disputes and delays, which can damage your reputation and mean you miss out on future business and referrals.

Stand out from the crowd. A great customer experience is essential for differentiating yourself from competitors. In an industry where the person down the road sells similar products and services at an ever-decreasing price point, your ability to go above and beyond for your customers that sets you apart. In this case, it is not what you do; it is how you do it. Demonstrating your professionalism and commitment to quality, from the uniforms your team wears, to the emails you send or the quotes and invoices your customers receive. All of these things can help you to win new business and retain existing customers.

Ask for feedback. Whether it is a WhatsApp message or a feature built into a job management software, understanding how your customers experience you and your team is a powerful tool to help you improve the experience you offer. If you do not ask, you do not know. If you do not know, you cannot act.

Remember that trust is worth a premium and your customers will pay for it. So, if you are running a security installation business, make sure that you prioritise your customers’ experience in everything you do. Your customers will thank you for it.

Charles Freedman is the CEO of ServCraft (www.servcraft.co.za), a South African-designed and built job management application for security installations and other field service businesses.


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