Does anyone know for sure what customers want from Painting Contractors? There are quite a few consumer surveys and of course our own experiences here in Toronto. Sometimes what we think the customers want from painters and contractors may not be based on reality. If we are lucky, the customer will tell us about our service, our professionalism and our work. Most of the times, they will not. There are two main ways that a customer can express their dissatisfaction. The easiest way is to never call us back in the future for any additional work. Even worse, they can share their negative experiences with friends, relatives and co-workers.
So, what do customers really expect from contractor?
A lot of this is from on our own experience painting in Toronto during the last 15 years. Some of it is based on industry surveys of customers in the home services industry. Of course opinions by customers and consumers are always welcome.
Listening, really listening.
When the customer first called the painting contractor, they had certain needs they needed taken care of. Most of the time, they make a fairly good job of describing what it is they are looking for. Sometimes people are not as expressive, but an experienced contractor has ways of finding out. The best way to do that is by listening. That means real, attentive listening. Waiting for a break in the conversation and then jumping in with a sales pitch is rude, selfish and most people can sense this. After listening to the customer’s concerns, offer suggestions of real solutions. That is why you are there. You are in the business of offering painting solutions. If this conversation leads to a paint job, the communication needs to continue throughout the duration of the project.
Transparency and clarity
What gets painted and what does not. How many coats of paint are included. What level of preparation work is specified. What colour goes where? There are so many questions that need to be clearly answered. They need to be answered in a written contract. This written contract should include a scope of work and a colour schedule. The scope of work should become a work order for the painting crew. It needs to be understood and carried out as described. Two coats means exactly that. Priming means priming and not the first coat. During the duration of the project, there are sometimes things that need to change. Maybe the colour is not right, maybe the closets should be painted. This again should be discussed in the open and any changes should be documented and approved by both parties. Contracts and documents may sound very cold in a relationship, but transparency and clarity are great for building trust.
Respecting the customer means calling if you are late five minutes. This shows that you care about their time and care about them. The customers belongings, their home, their pets, their family, they need to be respected and protected. That means observing some of the following:
- Use zero VOC and low odour paint and build in a more eco friendly painting company.
- Dispose garbage daily.
- Keep the tool area organized and away from children and pets.
- Handle customer property carefully and cover with clean drop-cloths.
- Be aware not to let any pets out the door.
- The painters should wear clean uniforms (whites) and be presentable.
- Being Friendly and understanding. That does not mean “please and thank you” and calling them by their last name. It means that the painter needs to understand the importance of a customer. Painters are almost like guests, sometimes for a few days. Spending days being uncomfortable in someone’s home is not fun for anyone. Understand the customer’s position throughout this process and value their presence and point of view.
The price of the painting job is important. How important? It is a major component of the whole decorating experience. Nobody wants to pay more for a service than they need to, but convenience, service, follow up, and professionalism are also important. There is a market that will always be looking for “cheap” painters. My own personal experience is that most consumers recognize value and we can see that in their everyday purchases and shopping habits. A paint job is a large investment that people have to budget for, so it makes sense that it needs to be long lasting and well thought out.
I did not mention good work, experience or product knowledge as this is taken for granted by customers.
Ecopainting is a painting Contractor, serving the Greater Toronto Area. For more information and a Painting Quote please call 416 733-7767.