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What Not to Say

What motivates a client to return to you and your company the next time they need a restoration service? We’d like to believe that clients make completely rational and impartial purchasing decisions solely based on expertise, quality of work and service, but it also has a lot to do with your client’s level of comfort and trust in you and your employees. It’s human nature to be prideful, to put off bad news and to want people to like us – in fact, these tendencies can be very strong and can cause us to say things that can do more harm than good. We want to say the “right thing” at all times, especially when dealing with a client, but sometimes what we believe is the “right thing” to say can turn out to be very wrong.

Restoration Contractors Might Not Want to Say:

• Never promise a dry or “all finished” date. It’s much better to say that you’ll be finished when it’s completely dry and then explain why. If a customer insists on some kind of a time frame, give them one beyond what you believe is necessary. Then when you finish earlier, you’ll be a hero!

• Don’t put down your competitors to land a job. If you do, you may annoy a potential customer by sounding like a complainer and trash talker. Explain how you’ll handle the job and why, then do it. Once you create a happy customer, you won’t have to worry that they’ll ever call anyone else.

• Don’t act overly friendly and keep your distance. The fastest way to lose a client is to creep them out. Be friendly, yes, but be businesslike at the same time, always addressing the client by their title (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) and not by their first name, unless they specifically ask you to do so. Also, most people value their personal space and get uncomfortable, mad or anxious when it’s invaded, so keep an average of about three feet between you and your client at all times.

• Never say, “I know how you feel,” because you don’t. Even if you’ve personally experienced a similar disaster, you’ll never know the emotions and concerns that this particular person is experiencing. Express empathy, but don’t presume to know what they’re feeling.

• Don’t downplay the noise factor. When explaining how the job will be done, tell the homeowner up front that the equipment needed to do the job is going to be very loud, but that it’s needed and will be shut off ASAP. If they’ve braced themselves for “very loud”, then once the equipment is turned on it may not seem so bad. As John Lennon sang, “We’re playing those mind games together…”

• “It’s not my job.” This is probably one of the worst things you can say to a customer, no matter the circumstance. Even if it’s true, to them it sounds like, “I don’t care”. If they have a question or problem that’s out of your knowledge base, then the least you can do is help them find out who they need to contact – in fact, you can compile a list of trusted referral partners to utilize in this exact situation. If you can’t offer a suitable referral, do your best to help them out. It’ll go a long way towards keeping that customer for life!

Saying the wrong thing, even unintentionally or without malice, can still get you in a lot of trouble and once we’ve said something, there’s no taking it back – especially if your client decides to share what you’ve sad in an online review! Before you speak impulsively, take a moment and self-edit any comments you’re about to make, because choosing the right words and statements can make all the difference in your relationship with your customers and the growth of your business!

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First Choice Equipment Sales & Service

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Wade Lauhon
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