Why is customer service important to your business? Customer service is important to my business because without customers I would have no business. It is OK getting a new client but I want them to keep using me and more importantly recommend my services to their friends and family.
How do you provide a good customer service experience? When a new customer calls me I will always ask if it is urgent. There is nothing worse than not having electrics, it is a worrying time for most and they just want to have their power back on. If I am able to get their immediately I will, if I am at work and it is not convenient at that moment in time, I will always state when I can get there. I am also available at weekends, which tends to surprise a lot of people in France. Weekends are viewed as rest and recreational time. If a customer has taken the time to call me, then I will make every effort to attend that call out situation. If it is not urgent, where my diary allows, I will always visit that client as quickly as possible or arrange a time that is convenient to them. I turn up when I say I will and if I am going to be delayed I will make contact with them. People's time is precious in France particularly if there is a distance factor involved.
What sets you apart from other electricians in the area/region? I don't dwell too much on what others are doing. My work and knowledge speaks for itself when I attend a property to find that current installation is not as it should be. I spend time explaining to a customer why it is incorrect and make recommendations to improve. My business is about keeping people electrically safe in their home. I always make sure that I turn up on time, my devis [quotes] are typed correctly, issued timely and that my terms and conditions are clear and without ambiguity. I have a website, so that customers can visit it and see who I am, what I do and also see other testimonials of my work. I always ask questions and listen and make notes. When it is urgent, people just want power back and I feel proud that they trust me to get on with it. When it comes to renovations I work with a customer to produce what they want. It's about good communication.
How do you know your customer experience works? I find that customers will tell me while I am on site how well things are going. Keeping the lines of communication open means that any adjustments or aesthetics can be addressed as we go along. After the job is completed, particularly for those jobs where I have been on site for some time, I will ask for feedback from my clients. I will always ask if I can use this feedback as a testimonial as part of my marketing activity, none have yet refused. Many of my customers have recommended me. You cannot underestimate word of mouth recommendations, and it is always nice to receive a call from a new customer and they say so and so recommended you to me.
How do you keep in contact with your customers? With some customers there is ongoing work, where time and finances dictate what work gets done and when. I use my work experiences for blog updates. These help existing and potential customers who visit my website get an understanding of what I do and that I can be trusted to talk about electrics in a technical way that they can understand. I have recently started sending regular newsletters to my customers and sharing links to my blogs and information on other products and services from other reputable trades.
What keeps them coming back? By doing all of the above each time I see a customer. I have been fortunate in that some of my customers have turned into great friends and it is a satisfying feeling that I can socialise with them knowing that the work that I have done for them is of a high and safe standard and that they are electrically safe in their own home.
How do customers find you? I advertise in local magazines to keep my business name out there I keep my Facebook page busy with interesting information and links. When I first started here, my flyers would be actively placed on windscreens at vide greniers... this actually worked. One of my best customer acquisitions was when my van was parked in the car park at Mr Bricolage in Angouleme and a chap tapped me on the shoulder in the shop and asked if I was the electrician. We chatted, I gave him my business card and have since carried out some work on his property.
Paul Wilkins of Electrcien Anglais En France lives in Brioux and operates within a 50km radius of the area. More information about his services can be found at www.electricenanglaisenfrance.com, where you can also see a number of testimonials to back up his work.