It’s easy to wrap up a project and shift focus to the next customer or client’s job, but there’s always a lingering feeling that begs the question, “Did I forget anything”? Or there’s always the client call or text as you’re rolling up to the next job, that reminds you you indeed did forget to plug in the lights or take your ladder from under the deck!
There are a lot of details that have to come together in the right way to make a deck project successful, and managing details and expectations well are certainly a big part of it. Here are some recommendations that can help you build a service level that can eliminate callbacks and invite referral business in the future.
Service Level – Should I need to be present to fix a callback issue?
We all know that it’s tough to cover every single detail in a final walkthrough on a deck project, and most likely there is an angle or perspective that isn’t seen at the time the job is finished. There might be a few screws missing, or a scuff or ding that may have been overlooked that still needs attention.
You work hard to connect with your client in a way that builds trust, helps them anticipate deliverables in regards to aesthetics and time frames. Setting expectations about how you continue to stand by your product after you are paid and the project is done is important as well.
On occasion, a client may call about an issue that may not have been caused in the construction process (or you know it wasn’t), and still a visit to the site is warranted as the client may not have been prepared for what to do in the case of the issue.
4 Ways to Help a Client Help Themselves
Here are four ways we believe you can help a customer help themselves when it comes to dealing with issues that come up regarding the deck you’ve built for them.
Every deck accumulates dirt and debris, especially during construction. We like to recommend that a way to extend the polished look of a finished deck to a customer is by giving them a bottle of The Deck Cleaner, and telling them about the benefits and how to use the product if any part of composite deck or their pvc deck boards need a quick cleaning.
Every deck job is a construction site regardless of the scale, and regardless of how careful the crew is, the chance that materials are going to be bumped or scratched or nicked are probable. When it comes to taking care of railing products, It’s important to keep touch-up paint handy, to take care of incidents that don’t have significant dents with a color and texture match profile that keep a rail looking new. Giving your client a can of color and texture match aluminum railing paint when the job is completed, and by telling them how to touch up blemishes like scratches and scuffs with this paint, you can save a great deal of precious time.
Composite and PVC deck boards today are durable, stain and fade resistant well beyond the life expectancy of an average treated wood frame. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t instances where a board occasionally needs to be replaced because it gets a significant gouge, or is defective and needs to be addressed by the manufacturer.
Leaving a sample of the composite decking you installed for your client, including a manufacturer’s sticker describing the color and variety can help them identify their product easily, any time after you’ve left the site. Informing your customer about the deck manufacturer’s warranty, and how to submit a claim on the product can help your customer bypass several phone calls and jobsite visits before any work can be done. We keep our showrooms stocked with dozens of vendors’ color and profile variations.
Also, you can recommend that the customer keep an additional deck board, at least 48” in length, in the event a replacement section is needed due a non-warranty issue like a puncture or breakage that may have been caused by dropping something heavy on the deck. It can be handy to offer a homeowner peace of mind, knowing that they can repair their deck, even if the decking has been discontinued by the maker.
Color Match Screws & Plugs
Almost every deck job is completed with a few extra composite deck screws. Rather than put these few screws back in your work truck, you can leave these with the customer. If there is ever an issue where a screw, hidden fastener or plug needs to be replaced, the customer is equipped to fix the issue, without questioning which product to buy or match, and without potentially needing to call you.
Good Impressions for Referral Business
Everyone wants to walk away from a job completed with the satisfaction that everyone got what they wanted! Homeowners want an updated space they can enjoy, and builders want to walk away from their craftsmanship that will speak the language of referral. Taking the time to set the customer up for success by educating them about what might happen, and how to manage the scenario, enhances your professional image by showing you are knowledgeable, and by being the solution to a problem if and when it arises.
These are a few of the many ways you can become even more reputable in a client’s eyes when it comes time for them to make a recommendation or offer a referral.