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How Your Availability Affects Your Online Reputation

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Contractors need to create a plan to address new and current customers requests daily, within a standard timeframe, using the right system tools to organize and track requests and the right people and technology to provide consistent customer service.

What are the key elements of creating a positive or negative customer experience with your roofing company?

You might think that doing a good job, with good workmanship, at a fair price are the driving factors of the experience.

But recent surveys have found that customer communication—or lack thereof—is one of the top reasons for dissatisfied customers. Biz411 highlighted how the roofing industry is among the top 10 industries that receive the most BBB complaints and 36% of those complaints are related to customer communication—being unable to contact the company and poor customer service.

Even if you are getting back to customers, did you know that you might also be losing them because you aren’t getting back to them “in time?”

For many homeowners, their definition of an acceptable response time may be very different from your definition. 

For many local businesses, 24 hours has been considered an acceptable response time to get back to customers. This general standard was created over 10 years ago, before the rise of social media and instant messaging, so it’s no surprise to learn that today’s customer expects a response even sooner than one business day.

Today’s consumers expect prompt responses to their questions, within minutes; not hours or days.

So you can no longer plan to just email or call back during the next business day or a slow period in the afternoon. To keep up, you need to make sure your team is taking all the necessary steps to cut down response times for all types of customers: Prospective and current; happy and unhappy customers; and prioritizing those that need immediate attention.

When it comes to leads and prospective customers, response time is even more crucial as you are in a race against your competitors to win new business. The name of the game is speed to lead.

Did you know that according to the Harvard Business Review, 78% of new business goes to the first responder? Companies that respond first have the opportunity to educate and influence their prospects, rather than just to be compared to other competitors.

Getting back to prospective customers might seem like a straightforward task, but only 27% of all leads get a callback, according to Forbes. And for those that do get called back, it’s an average of 47 hours from the time that they received the lead and made the call.

By then, the person who inquired probably won’t remember your company name and have probably already engaged with other providers, so you may have missed a key opportunity.

Many social media platforms provide links for homeowners to connect directly with local businesses and for the owners who use this feature, the average response times are posted there. In the two examples below, consider which roofing company you would contact if you were a homeowner.

Homeowners that have critical roofing issues that need to be solved soon and are dealing with multiple organizations such as insurers, need answers right away.

They probably can’t wait 12 hours to get the required information to move on to the next step in the process. So they are contacting the roofer that typically responds in 10 minutes, when it is convenient for them, on their schedule. This can be a challenge to many roofers, especially considering that 30% of inquires are made after hours (on evenings and weekends).

So what happens when you don’t respond within the timeframe that your prospective customer expects from you?

Unfortunately, it can vary. While many customers are understanding of business owners’ needs to have time away from work, they may still have a very specific window in which they expect a callback. If they don’t hear from you at all; or even worse, get a response that assures them that you will respond within a set time and you don’t follow through; you are likely to see negative online reviews of your business like these:

“My 1 star is primarily no response from this company. They requested a contact name and number which I provided for them to have a salesperson follow up with me. Guess what? No call or contact. I guess these guys are just too busy for our business.”

While we’ve been covering prospective customers, it’s just as critical, if not more, to have a plan to respond quickly to current customers who have a request or complaint. 

Recent studies show that 75% of today’s customer complaints made by telephone are handled by businesses within 24 hours and only 67% of customers are satisfied with the response time. So this would indicate that about one-third of your customers may expect you to call them back in less than 24 hours. Are you doing that most of the time?

When it comes to communicating with customers via email, it’s even worse. Only 61% of customers who had issues were satisfied with the speed of getting an email response. That is because almost half the time, it’s taking business owners more than 24 hours to respond! (Only 52% of e-mail complaints are addressed within 24 hours.) Much too slow for this crowd.

As a result, contractors need to create a plan to address new and current customers requests every day, within a standard timeframe, using the right system tools to organize and track requests and the right people and technology to provide consistent customer service.

At Signpost, we help contractors respond instantly to requests, streamline customer communication, and build online credibility. In future posts, we’ll cover industry best practices for good customer communication and how that can lead to positive reviews.

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