The top service companies on earth don’t do what is expected – they do more than is expected. That additional effort or offering is what makes them exceptional. Over time, exceptional companies stand out from the crowd. Eventually, a tipping point is reached and the exceptional company is no longer “the best available choice”… it’s the only choice. On a long enough timeline, the company that wows its clients and customers with a greater frequency and to a greater degree than every competitor eventually wins the sector and becomes a titan in their chosen market. Exceptional service is that powerful of a tool.
But you don’t have that kind of time. You aren’t interested in “eventually” or “later.” Your paint company needs to differentiate itself from the competition today, not tomorrow. These four unusual, seemingly small customer service tips are all set in motion once the painting is complete, and will set your paint company apart from the competition in the client’s mind even after you’ve moved on to the next job. We can’t guarantee that your sales pipeline will magically fill up overnight, but these four strategies will guarantee that clients don’t soon forget the professionalism of your company or the quality of your work.
- Schedule a Real Completion Assessment. A surprising number of professional painters don’t ever return to a job site to inspect their work. Why not?! Any additional opportunity to interact with the client should be taken advantage of. Before leaving when the job is finished, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment after the paint has completely dried and cured to inspect the work. During the meeting, ask the client if they will review the work with you since their continued satisfaction is your highest priority. If there are any places that need touching up, be proactive in pointing them out instead of hoping the client won’t notice. Clients greatly appreciate the difference between a painter who has cashed the check before the paint is dried and a painter that follows up on the job in person.
- Provide a Before-and-After Photo Portfolio. When you complete a job, the reaction you hope for from your client is one of delight and complete satisfaction. Providing before-and-after photographs to the client is a great way to demonstrate the stark difference between what things looked like when you arrived and when you finished. Furthermore, giving the client before and after photographs when the job is done gives them something to show friends or colleagues with pride. Make sure the material you offer has your company name prominently displayed. Our suggestion is a small folder that includes two or more photos and a business card. Even if the client chooses to discard the photos soon after they receive them, the gesture goes a long way toward reinforcing your professionalism and brand in the client’s mind.
- Send a Handwritten Thank You. When is the last time you received a handwritten card in the mail for anything other than your birthday? Mailing a handwritten thank you card or thank you letter to a client approximately one week after the job is one more positive impression you can make to enhance the customer’s experience with your services. Even better, you are doing so in a unique and thoughtful way.
- Add Flowers That Complement the Room. EXEC is a San Francisco area “startup” company that started out by offering personal assistant and concierge services. The EXEC staff could deliver your dry cleaning to your house or help put together furniture and toys that required assembly. However, for months they had trouble gaining a large audience until they made a simple change. One of the services offered by EXEC is house or apartment cleaning. But maid and house-cleaning service providers are common in most every market and standing out from the crowd is tough, so how did EXEC do it? Every client comes home to a clean house and a flower arrangement that fits their decor. The result? EXEC charges higher rates than the competition and can barely keep up with demand. If you are painting an interior, particularly a home or office reception area, it can be a nice touch to follow EXEC’s lead and place a flower arrangement that complements the room and the new coat of paint on the walls and trim. (Tip: Avoid anything that could be construed as romantic, like roses, and flowers with a strong scent, like lilies).
A number of conventional marketing techniques work great for paint businesses of all sizes, and ultimately, your reputation for good work will open the most doors for you. That said, the ideas above should get you thinking about outside-the-box and unconventional ways to help people remember your work long after you’ve completed the job. Referrals are a key source of new clients and offering not just a great experience, but a memorable experience, is the best way to ensure that your satisfied clients are singing your praises to others. “They did a great job…and would you believe they even placed a gorgeous flower arrangement on the counter? The entire room looked great!” or “You know, I was pleased with the work but the best part was that the painters seemed excited to do a good job. One of them even sent me a thank you note in the mail. When’s the last time that happened?” These small, unusual additions to your core service give people a reason to keep talking about you…and that’s a good thing. Click here to learn more about marketing and differentiating your paint business from the competition!