Local companies will go the extra mile to get job done
Home owners could not only save time and money by using local businesses, but also cut out a lot of heartache if something goes wrong.
So says Allan Tofield of Richmond Home Improvement Co, which has been supplying and fitting doors and windows throughout Poole and Bournemouth and the wider Dorset area since 1999.
“There’s nothing like supporting the Dorset economy and using a local business to get the job done,” says Allan. “We live and work in the area so it’s in our own best interests to do the job well and deliver on our promises.”
But what happens when the customer needs help?
Allan says very often the quality of a company is only revealed when the customer has an issue.
“In my experience clients rarely ask any, let alone enough, questions about the company, its history and credentials, as well as product guarantees and on-going service. The number one question is always: ‘How much?’ Then comes: ‘How soon?’
“Use local businesses, we offer a far better personal service and can react to a customer’s issue promptly. In that way matters are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction with the minimum of fuss.”
In fact, Allan welcomes questions from customers and if any situation arises it gives him the opportunity to improve the way Richmond does business.
“Sometimes we only learn about specific problems with a particular products when our customers provide feedback,” he says. “That alerts us to the issue and we can sort it out for that customer and take it up with our supply partners.
“Local companies are often built on good, old-fashioned customer service. That’s how you build a reputation and no matter what industry you’re in you have to deal with issues immediately in order to protect your reputation and maintain your customers’ satisfaction.”
Six of the best: Tips on handling queries
- Don’t be defensive. Taking a customer’s issue personally makes it more difficult to resolve the matter and move on. Focus on the information and the resolution will be less disruptive and cumbersome.
- Understand the facts. Don’t jump to conclusions, learn the facts, look at the issue from all sides and ask the customer to explain their view.
- Listen properly. Customers want to feel you have listened and understood their problem so ask them clarifying questions to show you have. Apologise for mistakes and listen to what they want to happen next.
- Try to solve the problem or offer alternatives. It’s obvious really, but the quickest way to take care of an issue is to solve the issue. If a solution is not possible, it is important to offer an alternative solution.
- Thank people for constructive comments because they can help us identify problems and improve procedures; while listening to and thanking others for sharing comments will strengthen relationships.
- Involve the right people. You may not be the best person to resolve the issue and will want to bring in others to do so, but don’t think for a moment you can wash your hands of it! If you’ve taken the query it’s down to you to make sure the person gets a response.