If you look up “customer-service etiquette” online, there are many tips to consider. Most of the recommendations apply to those of us who sit in an office, monitoring incoming calls and emails, among our many tasks. If you are always in the field, your customer-service ground rules are a bit different. Responding to current and potential customers, as well as suppliers, distributors, and other contractors, is an extension of your duties and establishes your reputation—whether you are at a jobsite or in an office.
According to etiquette experts, emails should have a response within an hour. If you are in the middle of something, send a quick note acknowledging that you got the email and that you will respond in full as soon as possible. As an email sender, you are expected to wait 24 hours before emailing a follow-up version.
There is an adage out there that if you wanted a faster response, you should have just called. If a customer follows this and really wants to talk with you, the same rules apply for voicemail messages—return calls as soon as possible and always within 24 hours.
Today, most people want answers fast. Companies now have texting options, including us. Information about this feature has been added to our website, in the yellow banner that runs at the top of the homepage and says “Need Answers Fast?”
Click on the message icon and our texting number, 405-308-4550, displays. You can click through to automatically text us if you are visiting our website on a mobile device. We monitor the texts during regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CST. More information is in this video. If you like this idea, you can apply the same information and technology to your website.
You might notice the “Need Answers Fast?” feature has a phone icon that automatically opens your device’s phone to call us. Feel free to also go old school and dial 866-443-3539 to reach us. Sometimes a phone call is best, just like the adage says.
In the Field
We understand that it can be a challenge to maintain customer service if you’re actively working at a jobsite. Being distracted by your phone also can be a safety hazard; safety must be the No. 1 priority at every jobsite. Setting daily guidelines will help you to maintain high customer-service levels.
It might be helpful to return all emails left from the previous day first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh, before you head out the door, and after you pour a cup of coffee. Texting can be done throughout the day as you take breaks. For phone calls, prioritize the calls that you have to answer now and what voicemails you should return later. You know what fires to put out first! Call back new customers or new GCs looking to hire you when you can give them your complete attention. Your quality work speaks for itself, but so does the manner in which you interact with someone.
Mr. and Ms. Manners
These communication etiquette tips were not created to confine you. They exist to remind you that people notice what you do and what you don’t do. Those people are your customers and colleagues, and their time matters just as much as yours does. Check in to see if your customer-service practices are effective. And call, text or email us so we can work on ours too.