Building Better Relationships with Your Customers

Tips & Advice
builder talking to customer about a project

When you start working with customers, you are placing a lot of personal investment into them. Most roofing jobs are lengthy projects that require a lot of commitment, funding, and long hours, usually exposed to the elements. On top of all this, you may be working for a relative stranger with no idea how they’re going to react to bad news or unexpected development.

This can lead to some animosity between tradespeople and consumers, and this isn’t helped by the many negative stories and personal experiences that often find their way circulating via word of mouth or the internet. It’s important for both roofers and their customers not to fall into this toxic headspace, and instead look at how they can work together to get the job done as smoothly for both parties as possible.

Below we’ll be looking at how you can improve your working relationships, helping to achieve the goals of both parties: a fantastic job at a great price for the customer, and a job well done, prompt payment and good reviews for you.


Negative Tales

Consumer rights are improving all the time, and that's no bad thing – it's easier now than it ever has been to separate the wheat from the chaff in the professional world, allowing the talented and dedicated to stand out. However, many stories from the pre-and early-internet days still remain, when customers had less of an idea of a roofer’s reputation and were more susceptible to scams and cons some of which, unfortunately, still persists to this day.

It doesn’t help that – according to studies – we are able to recall bad experiences more easily and, in more detail, than good ones. Researchers believe this is likely an evolutionary feature that allows us to learn to avoid troublesome situations in the future. However, it also leads to far more negative stories being circulated between people than positive ones.

The internet hasn’t helped this – if anything, it has made the situation worse. For every positive story, you read you’re likely going to come across at least double the number of negative ones. The whole situation often breeds a level of distrust from customers that can feel unwarranted to many roofers, further exacerbating the issue.

Bucking the Trend

However, it’s not all bad news. Firstly, such freely available information helps everyone to avoid scammers and fraudsters. It is also easier than ever to consult and communicate with customers and ascertain what they’re looking for.

One of the most important things to remember, however, is to not allow the stories you hear of problematic customers and roofers alike to discourage you from operating your business. Take your concerns and adapt them to your circumstances accordingly.

For example, if multiple individuals – online or in person - tell you of a negative experience with a particular potential customer, ask them for the details and avoid them if you believe working for them will prove problematic. Don’t take it to mean that all of your customers are going to cause you problems and allow such a belief to curtail your work.

Communication is Key

When you begin work with a customer, it is important to establish effective communication from the offset. This will better help you keep them informed of the tasks you are carrying out, keeping them in the loop and allowing you to get on with the job quickly and efficiently.

You need to ensure that the customer has made it very clear from the start what it is that they want to achieve. You will then need to set and manage their expectations – if what they want is unrealistic, be upfront about this. Try to offer alternatives by listening to what they desire from their chosen plans, and then offer a different, more viable solution.

Keep in close contact with your customers throughout the day, while also avoiding inundating them with information (especially if they are at work/away from the house for the day). However, never hold back on developments and updates, even if it is bad news. Deliver the developments respectfully and calmly and try to be understanding if you are delivering bad news. It's common for people to get heated when it comes to their homes, but responding in kind will very rarely help either of you.

Technology is Your Friend

Many of the ways we communicate today utilise the internet in some shape or form. This wonderful resource can benefit roofers in several ways, from picking up new skills to easily accessing supplies. However, it is also a great way to further develop customer relations.

Social media is one of the best examples of this. Having a page on Facebook and creating a presence on Instagram or Twitter are all excellent examples of becoming more approachable and more contactable in this internet-reliant age. It also allows potential customers to get a better idea of how you work and how to work with you.

A dedicated email is vital for any roofer. You’ll want to keep business and personal accounts separate to better allow you to switch off outside of your work, whilst also having the power to jump back or stay alert to your inboxes in case of an emergency.

Another good idea is setting up a website advertising your services. In the age of social media, some deem websites unnecessary, but in fact, a professional, well-maintained website can drastically increase the likelihood of a customer opting for your work over others.

On-Site Etiquette

When you’re working at someone’s home, you are a guest there, regardless of whether or not you are carrying out a service for them. By treating their home with respect, and the owners with a polite, friendly, and enthusiastic, you are much more likely to be called back or, better yet, recommended to others.

Ideally, your client will attempt to accommodate your needs in some shape or form, such as showing you to a useable toilet, offering tea/coffee/water, and clearing the space for you to work. There is a chance they don’t do this, however, and you’ll need to adapt to this by always bringing your own food and water as well as organising a port-a-loo or similar facility.

No matter how much or little facilitation you are offered, you should always avoid disrespecting your client and their property in any way. Take care not to damage anything, including lawns and verges when you park your vehicles. Also, clear up as much as you can after you’re done each day.

Finishing Touches

Once the job is complete, there will be the matter of final payment. Be sure that this is discussed in advance to avoid any tensions once the work has been done. Avoid revealing extra costs suddenly. Instead, they should be reported to your client as soon as they arise, with their reason for being explained.

If your client calls you back to report problems, make it your priority to get to the bottom of the situation. This is the stage of the process where your customers are likely to be at their most nervous; the job is supposedly finished, and money has been exchanged. They don’t want to be left high and dry. Reassure them that you are committed to the job and offer to return to inspect the issue as soon as possible.

If you feel your job went well, ask your client for positive feedback in the form of online reviews, supporting your social media page in the form of likes, comments and ratings, and also tell others of your services via word of mouth.

Final Thoughts

Roofing is no doubt a difficult industry for a variety of reasons, and both customers and roofers themselves can find certain projects challenging. It really does benefit both of you to work together to try to make the atmosphere as friendly, efficient, and safe as possible.

If you have any more questions or are looking for quote on some of our products, don’t hesitate to contact our award-winning customer service team either on 01295 565565 or using the chatbox below. We will be happy to help with any queries you may have.

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