What’s Your Problem, Buddy?

Siding isn’t sexy, but homeowners do experience problems with it from time to time.

I was one of those homeowners. Several years ago, when our composite siding was installed, the workers used some nails that left unsightly rust. And some of the boards were cut with dull blades, making them chip at the ends.

Were those problems the end of the world? No, not really. The work was adequate and the house looked better, but these issues did bother me when I focused on them.

What’s key to the story is that the problems didn’t bother me enough to want to call the installer and complain. I needed the company to call me and ask me how I liked my siding.

And that’s exactly what they did. Given an opening, I gave them an honest “since you asked” answer. The company took action and now my siding is looking better than ever.

What’s the lesson here? I think it’s this: Not all unsatisfied customers will complain, but you want to give as many customers the opportunity to complain as possible.

I don’t mean complaining about silly or frivolous things, but about service that was just average or work that was only fine. This is the segment of your customer base that won’t write scathing Yelp reviews, but neither will they recommend you to friends and colleagues. In fact, while they might not be your loudest or most vocal customer segment, they may in fact be the largest.

Your goal here is simple. You want to turn customers with meh customer experiences into those with wow customer experiences.

How? Call them (or schedule time to meet for coffee or [fill in the blank]). Then ask them a simple question: What could we have done better?

Take notes, mental or otherwise. Listen and see what else you can do to add extra value. Then surprise them with that value. It might even be fun.

And going forward, see what processes you can put into place to warm up your lukewarm customers so they set your business on fire with great referrals and powerful testimonials. Better yet, try to reduce the number of lukewarm customers in the first place by looking at the customer experience you provide and taking it to the next level.

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