How many times have you heard someone say, trust me? How many times have you actually trust them? I’ll bet you cannot remember the last time you trusted someone just because they asked.
Trust is a funny thing. It can take a lifetime to build, and a second to destroy. However, trust is one of those rare commitments we ask others to spontaneously make, but rarely spontaneously make ourselves. Every time you clean a customer’s pool or repair a customer’s equipment, you are asking them to trust you. Is it any wonder then why some pool men have so much trouble with customers questioning their performance? No. It makes perfect sense for a customer to question a pool man’s performance when the pool man has failed to build trust with that customer. How do we build trust? We build trust by connecting with the customer.
You can be the greatest pool man in the world. You can take better care of a pool in less time than your closest competitor, but you can still lose the customer because of a lack of connection. If a customer doesn’t understand you or your services, how can you bond with the customer? I don’t mean bond as a close friend. I mean bond as in building trust between a vendor and a customer.
If you introduce yourself to a customer and explain your services, you may even give them an eight-point list of services, and that is the last time you have contact with the customer, excluding billing, how can you build trust with that customer? It is virtually impossible. Can you keep the customer for a period of time? Yes, but your hold is tenuous at best. Many customers quit service with a pool man by telling him they have decided to service the pool themselves. One of two scenarios ensues: either the customer is unhappy with the service and has decided after numerous pool men they can do a better job, and they actually clean their own pool, or they immediately run out and secure the services of another pool man, who will last as long as they feel comfortable. When they feel insecure again they repeat the cycle.
I know this is true because I hear it every day. I have spoken to hundreds of customers who tell their pool man they are quitting service because they want to take care of their own pool, but when I contact this customer, in a different capacity, I get an entirely different answer. They quit because of poor service. Poor service does not necessarily mean a pool was dirty. Service or poor service extends beyond the cleaning of a pool and into the realm of a relationship. You must have a relationship with your customer to have a successful long term service. You must build trust during the tenure of this relationship to have a long term successful service. How do we do this? We treat the customer as we would like to be treated. I know this is trite, but it is also true. If you like to be treated poorly, please skip this part.
One of the ways we connect with the customer and build trust with the customer is by keeping the customer informed as to the condition of their pool and the probability of necessary service work. We accomplish this through our inspection sheet. An inspection sheet is very easy to prepare, and even easier to complete if you are a sole proprietor. If you are not a sole proprietor, and if you have numerous servicemen, an inspection is a must, not only to keep your customers informed but also to help generate repair income. The more pools you inspect, the more repairs you will perform.
Whether you are a sole proprietor or a large service company, your pools should be inspected once a quarter. We accomplish this by either inspecting a few each morning or a number each week. Either way, you will build a better relationship with your customer and a fuller coffer from the additional repairs.
I cannot stress enough how important trust is to any relationship, but where money is involved it is even more important. Customers need to feel they are getting the service they expect. If their expectations are unrealistic, they need to be informed. An inspection sheet can also serve this purpose.
You cannot continue to bury your heads in the sand and let the world pass you by. You must constantly strive to be better. You cannot continue to churn customers. Competition for customers is getting stiffer and stiffer. You cannot continue to believe that doing a good job is enough. The competition will eat you alive.
The new people moving into this industry are motivated and hungry. If you lose your drive, they’ll take the wheel. If you lose a customer, they’ll get fat. At no time in the past has built a relationship with your customers been more important. Create that relationship. Build that trust. The reward for being better is a better life.
To learn more about the pool service and repair business, call our office at 877-766-5757 to speak with a specialized Agent today.