Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Show Me

(1:00) If you happen to follow our canine crew's cruising blog, you know that we put our house on the market recently. It's a 180 year old house and was in need of painting to look it's best for potential buyers. We weren't able to line up our usual painter so had to find another. In addition, the painting couldn't take place until we had already left to get back on the boat. All of that made us very nervous. We are not in the habit of having major work done when we're not there, whether it's our house or our boat.

(0:49) Last week as we were cruising across the Neuse River I got a phone call. It was from the painter. He wanted our email address so he could send us some pictures. When we got in that evening we downloaded nearly a dozen photos of our house from every angle. He provided zoomed in images of the areas that were a particular problem. Of course, he also sent his bill.

(0:40) Now that's customer service.

(0:38) By sending me those photos he showed that he understood how unnerving it can be to have a costly job performed in my absence. He showed confidence and pride in the quality of his work. And it did look nice. He gave me confidence that going ahead and paying the bill was the right thing to do. I will definitely recommend him to others.

(0:30) The service industry is hard. You are mainly selling time and that can be hard to quantify. Bills are not paid until the work is done. That makes problems doubly difficult. If I buy a vacuum cleaner I'm not happy with, I can return it to the store. How do I return hundreds of hours of painting?

(0:22) So it is important that you work to gain your customer's trust. It is more common for boaters to leave their boat and have major work done in their absence. It's an issue of time and of the inconvenience of living on the hard or going to a motel.

(0:16) Go that extra mile to make your customers feel their home on the water is as important to you as it is to them. It should be standard procedure to keep boaters informed of the progress of the work being done. I can think of no better way to do that than through images.

(0:09) Periodically send photos of major jobs. It not only will decrease the boater's anxiety, it can catch issues before it's too late. Send a picture of the final work. It shows that you want me to be happy. And we all know that happy customers are your best advertisement.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.