Last week while dining with my family, my mother told us of a situation with their house. It had to do with their furnace and air conditioner system.
But, the bigger issue had to do with customer service.
My parents bought their house about 6-7 years ago. It’s a nice house. It’s custom built with just about everything they wanted in their “dream home”.
They chose their builder because they claimed to specialize in upper-end custom homes. Everything they talked about was quality and service. And, for the most part, they delivered.
Now, there’s a recall with some furnace systems installed in some of the houses this company has built over the past few years. So, they sent letters to their customers with a list of products that have been recalled. The list included product numbers and the description:
“heat recovery ventilator”
(Or something like that.)
My mother had to call the company to translate. It turns out, a “heat recovery ventilator” is commonly known as a “heat exchanger”. In fact, that’s what the people at the builder called it when she talked with them.
Then she had to find their heat exchanger and locate the manufacturer and model number, to determine if theirs needed to be recalled. She did all this while on the phone with the people who built her house.
The good part of this story is the company is still in business, they still track product recalls and they’re friendly, helpful people.
But they could do so much better.
What if they had everything in a database so they already knew what products were in each customer’s home? Then they could easily check to see who needed a recall and deal with them. The other customers would never have to know about it. They wouldn’t have to take time to call the company. They wouldn’t have to climb around their furnace trying to identify what make and model it is. They wouldn’t have to scratch their heads wondering what a “heat recovery ventilator” was.
They’d have one less thing to consume their time and attention.
Sure this might be way beyond what this industry does. So what! Is that a reason to not consider it?
Too many people and companies base their level of service on what their competitors do. Why not define your level of service based on what works best for your customers? When you design your company this way, no one can take your customers from you because you offer them something no one else does.
Define who you want to serve and then exceed their needs and wants. If you position yourself as a high-end supplier of houses, then don’t just build great houses. Build a great experience. Your customers know the difference. And they’ll reward you with their loyalty again and again.