Monday, January 5, 2009

Being available – better playgrounds on the customers time

In this seasonal playground business (at least for us Northerners), it is important that when you are busy, you are never too busy for a customer. Now for me, this is not a 9-5 job. I am assuming it is not for most of us in this niche industry of installing playgrounds. So here are a couple quick tips on staying available.
1) Email – you must have it. Period! Exclamation point! Too many businesses and customers rely on email to allow them to interact with you when they want to. Whether that be 9 AM or 2 AM. Playground equipment buyers, like any customer wants to work on their time, not your time. This is one way to allow them that, without interfering with their work or play.
2) Cell phone – I have one and answer it religiously. If taking a call on a Friday night about a playground design minor change or color selection change means less headaches on Monday morning, I do it!
3) Schedule – Make one and keep one – but be a little flexible. If you can tell a customer which days you are available and then “STICK” to it, most customers will respect your planning and organization.
4) Call ahead – If you are running late – call ahead ASAP. Do not keep a customer in suspense as to when you might show up. They will better understand a legitimate apology (prior to the appointment) then an “oops” after you show up late.
Albeit my wife does not like the late calls and weekend emails, but she understands that if I take 5 minutes to help a customer or potential customer out, it will mean much more to me and that customer in the future. So when I am running late or need to leave early for my kids baseball game, the customer will respect my time as I have given them 24/7 most of the rest of the time.

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