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Phenomenal Customer Service Starts with The Pattern for Excellence

You’ve finally found it… the ultimate guide to phenomenal customer service.

This post is a resource for home service businesses who want to set themselves apart by providing the most phenomenal customer service in their market. Whether you’re in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, pest control, garage door repair, or any of the other trades, this is for you.

It’s a roadmap… the kind of post you’ll want to bookmark, save, print, highlight, and share with your team and closest peers in the industry.

You see – all home service businesses are at various levels of STUCK. There’s just so much to learn and do.

From beginner to $100 million shop – we are all looking to get better and grow.

This page is here to help you get the very most out of what you’ve already got. It’s to help you book more calls from your existing inbound leads. It’s to help you create an experience that will make your existing pool of customers and leads say “WOW.”

Because that’s the most affordable growth strategy any trades business can implement: WOW and convert more of your existing leads and customers.

What you’ll read here is specifically for CSRs in the home services industry and how they can book more calls and WOW more customers. The principles apply to any and all positions in any industry and company though. If you improve the quality of customer service being provided by every person in your company, it will change your business forever.

So let’s get to it…

It Starts with a Belief

We believe if you WOW the customer, they will book the call with you. They will buy what you’re selling. And if they don’t book with you, they will remember you.

Most people in the trades believe this too. The problem we run into is HOW… HOW do you WOW your customer?

You might WOW your customer occasionally (especially if the customer is already in a good mood). But HOW do you train your team to WOW the customer consistently and predictably? HOW do you make it so that customers are complimenting the quality of your service and communication every day?

In short… how do you build a phenomenal customer service team?

There are only 3 ways to make customers loyal to your business:

  1. Always offer the lowest price
  2. Always help the customer immediately
  3. Create a WOW experience so they will want to work with you

Competing on price is a race to the bottom. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t meet every customer’s time expectation.

But you CAN WOW every customer… here’s how:

Read this article carefully. Read it again. Lean into it and study it. It can change your entire business.

The Pattern for Excellence and Phenomenal Customer Service

The Pattern for Excellence is a framework for learning best practices in phenomenal customer service.

Mastery of these principles will empower you to achieve at a higher level. You will become more aware and persuasive in your communication. You’ll be able to get more done in less time and you’ll be better able to work with your team to create WOW experiences for your customers.

One of our coaching clients, Kristi M. Peters of Logan A/C Heat Services, said this about the Pattern for Excellence:

“The 8 Principles formulated to create the Pattern for Excellence are to the customer service industry what the Declaration of Independence is to mankind…”

That’s some pretty high praise.

The Pattern for Excellence - a frameowkr for providing unstoppable customer service
The Pattern for Excellence

If you don’t have these 8 elements in your customer service… you’re NOT creating the best customer experience possible.

As you can see, a “WOW Experience” is at the center of it all.

Let’s look at each principle one-by-one.

(NOTE: I would be amiss not to mention that we offer a course called “Build an Unstoppable Call-Handling Team“. You can use it to train your team on all these principles. If you are the kind of trades business that wants to see customer concerns for what they really are, and who wants to book calls no matter what the objection is, this is for you. Check it out here.)

The "Build an Unstoppable Call-Handling Team" course will enable you to create the most phenomenal customer service in your market.
Build an Unstoppable Call Handling Team Course

Step 1: Be Positive

Be positive… common sense, I know. But common sense does NOT make for common practice.

Be Positive is the first principle of the Pattern for Excellence. It’s all about communicating with enthusiastic and contagious energy.

Positive Energy and Optimism Attract More Customers To Your Business

I’m not asking to throw your pom-poms in the air like a cheerleader… I’m asking you to let the customer know you are HAPPY they called in. From the moment you answer the phone customers start making assumptions. They like you or they don’t like you… they think you’re kind or they think you’re mean. They think you want to help them or you’d rather be on Facebook.

This is communicated in the greeting.

Thank you for calling ABC Plumbing, this is Zac speaking, how can I make your day GREAT?

Whatever words you use the customer should feel a jolt of energy when you pick up the phone. That’s what Be Positive is all about: ENERGY.

That brings us to…

Step 2: Be Confident

This is a lot more than just sounding like you know what you’re talking about. This is about being prepared for anything a customer may throw your way on the phone.

Whether they just want a ball park price…

Or they want someone to come out yesterday…

Maybe they want to cancel their service agreement…

Or they want to “call you back”…

Whether they’re just plain angry…

Confidence is all about being prepared.

Average CSRs just go with the flow. They take little or no thought for HOW they will react to the curve balls customers tend to throw at them.

Elite CSRs are different though. They are ready for anything. They have a response planned for all of these situations and more.

When (not IF) a customer threatens to hang up because they “just want an estimate over the phone”, an elite CSR knows exactly how to handle the situation and book the call.

When an elite CSR notices a repeat customer is NOT a member of their service agreement, they know exactly how to sell that customer on becoming a member.

Prepared CSRs book more calls, WOW more customers, make more money for the company and themselves, and are CONFIDENT.

And confidence set us up for step 3, which is…

Step 3: Listen

One of the most common mistakes CSRs make in this industry is trying to take information before they give their attention.

For example, the first thing they say after a customer tells about their problem is “ok, what’s your address?

Seriously?

That’s like walking into a doctor’s office to tell them about a pounding headache you’ve been experiencing for weeks, only to have the doctor say “ok, who’s your insurance provider?” (which has actually happened to me before)

You have to LISTEN FIRST. Give your attention BEFORE you take information.

The best ways to show the customer you are listening are:

  1. Ask questions about their situation
  2. Rephrase what they say in your own words

You might ask “how long has this been going on?” or “has this ever happened before?

Then, you tell them everything you’ve heard from them in your own words. This shows the customer that you understand them and gives them the confidence to keep the conversation going. Because you’re not the only one who needs confidence… they do too.

The principle of Listen is closely related to step 4…

Step 4: Care

I could go off about this for DAYS…

You have to show the customer that you care about them and solving their problem. Empathy is the most under taught and underutilized skill in the entire world. The few people who are skilled at showing others they care always come out on top.

Why?

We trust people who actually care about us.

This trait is so rare that I am convinced if you do just this ONE THING, it will set you leaps and bounds ahead of all your competition.

But, most people won’t…

When we teach CSRs and their teams about showing the customer empathy, many scoff. They insist that customers don’t want us to show empathy. “They just want to get right to the price” they say. “In our area, customers aren’t like that. They don’t want us to do that.

Lies… all of it, lies.

Your customers DO want you to care. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.

I’ll prove it to you. Did you know that when you look at a cross section of the human brain, it’s broken up into 2 parts: the limbic brain and the neocortex?

The limbic brain is responsible for all our feelings and decision making. It has NO capacity for language.

The neocortex is responsible for language and analytical thought. It has NO capacity for feeling or decision making.

SO… what?

That means that human beings are emotionally driven creatures, and ALL our decisions come from the part of the brain that is responsible for feelings.

Still not convinced? Read this, this, this, and watch this.

To build a phenomenal customer service team, you HAVE to care about your customers and SHOW them that you care.

Phrases like “oh no!“, “that’s terrible!“, “that’s the worst“, or “I hate to hear that” are extremely effective in connecting with customers’ emotions and showing them you care.

One CSR I coach struggled for a long time feeling comfortable enough to show empathy. So, we decided to pick one phrase she could use to show empathy: “that’s frustrating.

When a customer talked about their problem, she would say “that’s frustrating.” By sticking to this one phrase and using it over and over again on the phone, empathy started to come more naturally to her.

If you struggle with this, pick your own phrase and commit to using it every time a customer expresses what’s going on. Pretty soon, your ability to show that you care will expand and you will become phenomenal at customer service.

And that’s because people will like you and trust you. Always remember… you’re not just there to fix the broken “thing”, you’re there to fix the broken person too.

That brings us to step 5…

Step 5: Give (or say “YES”)

Focus on what you CAN do to create phenomenal customer service

The key here is to always focus on what you CAN do and reassure the customer that you CAN help.

Even if a customer asks for your technician to come over in a hot air balloon, we DON’T SAY NO. We tell them what we CAN do.

Why?

Because when you say “NO” the customer says “NO.”

Example Call

Listen to this amazing phone call demonstrating all 5 principles we have covered so far:

Tiffany is Positive, Confident, Listens, Cares, and Says “Yes”

(NOTE: I would be amiss not to mention that we offer a course called “Build an Unstoppable Call-Handling Team“. You can use it to train your team on all these principles. If you are the kind of trades business that wants to see customer concerns for what they really are, and who wants to book calls no matter what the objection is, this is for you. Check it out here.)

The "Build an Unstoppable Call-Handling Team" course will enable you to create the most phenomenal customer service in your market.
Build an Unstoppable Call Handling Team Course

Step 6: Ask

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s that simple.

Asking is all about taking responsibility for solving the customer’s problem. If you sit around, merely answer questions, and wait for callers to say “sign me up!” you are going to have a very low booking percentage.

That’s why we proactively ASK for the appointment.

After you say “yes“, ask “when would you like us to come out?

Asking “when” doesn’t mean you are committing to come out at the time they desire. You’re simply finding out what their expectation is.

After you know their expectation, ASK for the address, email, phone number, and any other logistical information you need.

We make progress when we ask…

Asking for the appointment will enable to you book the call. Once you’ve booked it though, there is one thing the customer still doesn’t know: price.

That’s where step 7 comes in…

Step 7: Build Value

If you tell the customer “it’s going to be $89 for us to come out” (or whatever your dispatch fee is) don’t be surprised when they hang up or insist on “calling you back“.

Who on earth wants to pay for you just to “come out?”

Hint: NOBODY.

You and I both know there is a lot more to that fee than just “coming out”, but the customer doesn’t know that. That’s why it’s CRUCIAL for you to build value. You have to tell them everything that is included in that dispatch fee… all of the VALUE.

For example: “We are going to send John out to your home in a fully stocked truck. He’ll have all the parts and tools he needs to get started on the work the moment he arrives. Our van is also marked so you’ll know it’s us when he pulls up. John will begin the service with a thorough inspection of [insert problem]. He’ll take a look at what’s causing [problem] and then sit down with you to let you know what he finds. It’s like an in-home consultation. He’ll go over all your options with you, give you a quote for the exact cost of repairs, and make sure you are completely informed. To have John come out and do ALL THIS, THERE IS A SMALL FEE OF $89.

Now $89 doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Always… ALWAYS build value before you present any fees.

Then…

Step 8: Be Grateful

Much like Step 1: Be Positive, this is common sense. But, common sense does not make for common practice.

The most important part of showing gratitude is that it has to be sincere. Customers can feel if you are just saying it vs. when you really mean it.

Think about it… we ALL start conversations with people by asking “how’s it going?“, but virtually none of us actually care about the answer. We’re just going through the motions because it’s a good conversation starter.

Occasionally, though, you’ll find yourself talking to someone who actually cares about “how it’s going.” You can feel their interest in you. It’s the same way when you show gratitude.

Customers can feel when you are truly grateful for their call. And when they feel that you are truly grateful, they also feel that THEY MATTER. Not only are you helping them, but THEY HELPED YOU by calling in.

And when they feel that they matter to you, well, they become a customer for life.

Phenomenal Customer Service = An Unstoppable Business

I could go on and give you examples of all the Goliaths in business who have built their empires by providing phenomenal customer service. You know… Amazon, Zappos, Chick-Fil-A, Google, etc…

But I’m sure you’ll hear about them from the next keynote speaker you listen to (and I hope you’ll remember reading this when they bring them up 😉 )

All I’ll say is that when you use the Pattern for Excellence to WOW your customers, you will build an phenomenal customer service team. And when your customer service is phenomenal, your business will be UNSTOPPABLE.

(NOTE: I would be amiss not mention that we offer a course called “Build an Unstoppable Call-Handling Team“. You can use it to train your team on all these principles. If you are the kind of business that wants to see customer concerns for what they really are, and who wants to book calls no matter what the objection is, this is for you. Check it out here.)

The "Build an Unstoppable Call-Handling Team" course will enable you to create the most phenomenal customer service in your market.
Build an Unstoppable Call Handling Team Course

Zac Garside is the Marketing Manager here at Power Selling Pros, but his title is “The Dark Knight”. He’s never really sure if he should write his bio in the 3rd or 1st person… so for now, he’ll stick with the 3rd person. Zac is hugely passionate about leadership and marketing as the most powerful forces in business.