Handling Customer Service In Construction And Manufacturing

No matter what type of construction or industrial production and manufacturing sector you work in, your efforts are ultimately for the customer. This applies to home builders as much as it does for large-scale fabrication operations. Because these careers are all working toward the end goal of customer satisfaction, the question of how to handle customer service issues becomes increasingly important as your business grows. 

Despite your best efforts, the fact is that you’re going to face customer service issues at some point in your career. Even if these are through no direct fault of your own, they are bound to pop up, and when they do, these concerns can be challenging for even the most skilled construction or manufacturing professional.

Don’t Take It Personally

It may be that you couldn’t get epoxy anchors delivered fast enough to finish a project by a specific deadline or maybe a customer is demanding complicated revisions on a finished project. In any case, when customer service concerns in construction present themselves, the first thing to remember is that it’s not personal. 

This can be difficult to keep in mind as human beings are social creatures that have egos. This ego often creates situations where individuals in a business setting feel personally attacked when the issue is actually about the business and not the person. While you may have an angry customer on the phone questioning why you can’t get your hands on AC 100 epoxy, A7+ epoxy anchors or HY200 epoxy anchors right this very second, you’re encouraged to separate the business from yourself when trying to handle and rectify the situation.

Protecting Your Bottom Line

Another pitfall faced by many in the construction industry is the conflict that can arise when solving a customer service issue may hurt the company’s bottom line. For example, if a customer demands a refund on a product or service, this is a lost sale on your behalf. It can be easy to look at the refund as a loss in the moment, but you may want to re-frame your way of thinking. 

If you provide the refund now, will you stand a better chance of getting future business from the customer? If you refuse the refund, is the customer likely to spread negative comments through word-of-mouth advertising or by leaving negative reviews online?

Of course, you don’t want to give everything away, but with some perspective, you may come to realize that the cost of the refund now is less than the cost to the business down the road. On the other hand, the refund may be completely undue and unnecessary, in which case, you’ll need to stand firm on your decision to withhold the refund. As always, there’s likely some middle ground that can be reached through negotiation and finesse, but you’ll want to approach each situation individually.

Have A Dedicated Customer Service Team

Something else to consider is that not everyone is cut out for a role in customer service. Perhaps you’re really good at framing or architectural design, but when it comes to dealing with customer complaints, you can think of a hundred other things you’d rather be doing. This doesn’t mean you’re not a professional, but it does mean that you will likely want to work with a customer service representative or team that has the soft skills necessary to handle customer complaints and concerns with grace and subtlety.

With a customer service team on your staff, you can focus on the things you excel at while your team handles customer service. This is a win/win for you and the customer since you’re able to continue providing superb workmanship while your team provides superior customer service.