What is Your Company Doing to Improve Professionalism in the Industry?
April 8, 2014
A window and door dealer that I interviewed the other day said, “We always show up for appointments on time and customers are surprised by that.” The emphasis on the latter half of that sentence is my own: I can’t believe that after a decade of writing about the building industry, of watching home improvement shows, of reading articles and books and talking with remodelers, builders, and replacement window people about customer service—I am still hearing the same things. That the bar to success is that low is astounding enough, but that many in the industry still can’t reach it is even more astounding.
Why does the residential construction industry have such a bad reputation? Professionalism—how you treat prospects, clients, vendors, and employees—in the long term influences the quality of your customer service experiences. What are some steps you can take to change the industry’s bad reputation, and why should it matter?
Geoff Graham, founder of Guild Quality, which measures customer satisfaction for remodelers, builders and specialty contractors, suggests the following:
- Any change that happens on a large scale begins with the act of a single individual. If you'd like to see change in this industry, then first look at your own actions. Have you and your team made your business into the embodiment of professionalism for which you'd like your industry to be known? If it isn't yet there, then that's where you should begin.
- Recognize, discuss, and celebrate professionalism. When you see exceptional service in others—your team, your peers, and even those outside your industry—share it with your team and with those in your profession that matter. Use listservs, discussion groups, and forums to get the word out. Make professionalism a part of the everyday dialogue in your business.
Graham also suggests that those wanting to raise their level of professionalism ask themselves the questions in the Rotary Club’s “Four-Way Test,” which is described on the Rotary website as a “nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships”:
Of the things we think, say or do
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
What is your company doing to improve professionalism in the industry? What successful strategies have you used, and how do they set your company apart from the competition? We'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and participate in this week's poll.
Survey Results for 04/09/2014 :
What do you do to improve the professionalism in the industry?
Always act ethically with clients, employees, and industry colleagues
All of the above
Participate in professional organizations, peer groups, associations
Require customer service training for field, office and/or sales staff