A good first impression can be a powerful thing, especially for professional tradespeople on service calls. Customers are likely to spread the word about their experience with you — be it positive or otherwise — and their opinion could possibly spread to the internet for all to see. Online reviews matter for all business owners, including trade professionals. According to a 2020 online statistics report, 97% of consumers rely on online media to research services and products in their area.
94% say they have avoided a business due to negative online reviews.
Making a good first impression can set the tone for the customer's overall experience. Going out of your way to impress customers on every service call can lead to repeat business by building a positive reputation.
Explore steps you can take to help you impress your customers by creating an excellent first impression, and find more tips to help you grow your business in the Ideas & Learning Center.
1. Have an online presence.
Whether you claim your business’s Google location listing or have a social media profile for your business, you need to make it possible for customers to find you on the internet. As mentioned above, consumers today expect to be able to research a business online before they make a purchasing decision. Without an online presence, you can’t make a good impression — or any impression — because you’re invisible to customers who are searching for you.
2. Get a dedicated work phone line.
Almost all customer relationships include a phone call at some point in the transaction. Imagine a customer looking up the number for a service technician, but the number listed is the tech’s personal line. The tech doesn’t recognize the number so they answer in an overly casual manner, or they don’t answer at all and let it go to their personal voicemail. This could lower the credibility of the tech’s pro trade business in the customer’s mind, so the customer calls somebody else. Investing in a dedicated business line will let you know when you’re getting a work call so you can be prepared to put on your best phone voice and answer like a true professional.
Pro tip: Outsourcing your phone calls to an answering services could be a smart upgrade for your business. A professional answering service will ensure your calls are always handled in a professional manner and will free up the time you or your crew would otherwise spend on the phone.
3. Attitude is everything.
Ever notice that when somebody is in a good mood, being around them makes you feel better? Emotions are contagious. You can instantly make your customers think of you in a positive way simply by being positive. We all have days when this is challenging to do. Maybe your football team lost the big game or you’ve snaked drains all day, but leaving that at the door when walking into a customer’s home is worth it for the sake of your business’s reputation.
4. Image is everything.
If you see a person wearing a white coat in a doctor’s office, you’d probably assume they’re a medical professional. The same goes for tradespeople. It’s important for you to look the part and be recognizable as a professional tradesperson. Having a work vehicle with your business’s name on it and wearing branded clothing can help you look more credible in the eyes of your customer. It can even be as simple as t-shirts with your company’s logo on it. Your customers are looking for context clues that reassure them of your expertise, and branding is a direct way to indicate that.
5. Keep it clean.
And not just your language (although you should keep that clean, too). Keeping a tidy work space will show your customers that you are conscientious. Imagine what customers would think if you hop out of your work van and kick fast food wrappers onto their driveway or track dirty hand and foot prints into their home. Stock up on hand cleaning supplies, take the time to clean your work truck, put on work gloves and wear disposable work booties to show customers you respect the cleanliness of their home.
Pro tip: The COVID-19 pandemic led to a greater focus on the importance of cleanliness. Explore best practices for responding to service calls in a pandemic to protect yourself and your customers.
6. Make checkout a breeze.
When it’s time to collect the bill, you can make your business appear more professional by having easy-to-read invoices and offering convenient payment options. Consider investing in contractor management software designed for trade professionals with features like electronic invoicing, online and mobile payments, and mobile check processing. As an added benefit, you could consider offering instant financing to ease customer concerns about cost.
Ferguson is here to help you run the business side of your pro trade business with online tools and resources. Explore Business Insider to find innovative ideas to better serve your customers and boost your bottom line, and sign up for a ferguson.com account to save time ordering the products you need to get the job done.