Asphalt paving contractors have never been at the forefront of customer service. National giants and local paving companies alike have rarely even been considered “middle of the pack” when it comes to customer satisfaction. For the vast majority of us who are residential or commercial paving contractors, we are outside in the field and up to our elbows in bitumen. It can be hard to find the time or energy to provide a high level of customer service, but customer expectations are growing, and the asphalt paving industry is more than a sloppy patch job from catching up.
Traditionally speaking, a residential customer would look up a paving company in the yellow pages, see an ad in the paper, or ask the neighbors and family members for recommendations. A commercial customer might have a few more resources by requesting information from another business owner, connecting at a chamber of commerce event, or perhaps know of a good properties management group. All of these methods can still be very effective, and one could probably get by at that level of operation for another five years. But for many of us (myself included), we are looking to grow and succeed by conducting professional work and providing a growing number of job opportunities in our communities.
“Where to start?” can be a daunting question, but it does not have a complicated answer. Start with what you know, even if it feels like you are asking stupid questions. Now is the best time to have simple questions answered. So, if you have wondered what abbreviations like SEO or PPC mean, if you heard Facebook ads are cheap, if you feel like a particular old form of advertising is letting you down, the time is now to start investing or, at very least, researching.
Use the resources you have. Unless you are grimier than an old hopper at the end of an august day, you will know someone who has tried anything you are thinking about for improving your company. An idea might seem too crazy or cheap to work, but if you ask, an answer almost always appears with ease. Three resources I have used when upgrading anything pertaining to customer service or acquisition are: search engines, young people, and the doers.
I will be putting more time into explaining how I utilize those three research methods for next week’s thoughts, but I want to finish with customer service because business begins and ends with customer service. Learning new ways to present your customer information so that it is easier for them to make a decision, followed by that customer leaving you a great review is the fastest way to start your journey to bigger and better opportunities.