If your business goal is to create satisfied customers, I recommend you rethink your strategy and strive for something better - customer elation.

If your business goal is to create satisfied customers, I recommend you rethink your strategy and strive for something better - customer elation. A homeowner can buy a new roof from hundreds of different installers in any given market. If you want to be the contractor that produces an elated client, the experience begins and ends with your people.

The best roofing contractors I know are the ones that have established a customer-centric focus to ensure that the project dazzles the client. When this occurs, the result is more business through referrals, word of mouth and organizational pride.

That’s right - pride! When you have an organization committed to customer elation, then you create an environment with positive attitude. If you think attitude is not noticeable to your clients, ask yourself if you have ever been able to feel the difference between the negativity and sincerity over the phone. The difference is attitude, and it is palpable to your clients.

The problem for most of my clients is that they believe attitude is something you hire in a person. To a certain extent this is true. But the reality is that attitude becomes part of a culture of positive thinking and commitment to customer elation. Here are three tips that will help you focus on crafting a better experience at the client job site.

1.Greet clients with a smile and by name. The Marriott hotel chain has amazingly created a practice where every person, from the maid to the maintenance worker to the property manager, greets customers with a smile and warm “Good morning, Sir!” every time I walk by them during my stay. If a corporation as large as Marriott can instill such pleasant client interactions, certainly you can.

Teach your field staff - i.e., the installers - to greet the client with a smile and hello. While you are at it, tell them the name of your client so they greet them personally with a “Good morning, Mr. Jones.” Besides the fact that it will make your clients happier and produce better referral opportunities, it just might save you money when something goes wrong. Your clients will be more reasonable. Perhaps most importantly, your team will be happier on the job and more conscientious in their efforts.

2.Manage the jobsite appearance proactively. While you are installing a new roof, the jobsite looks exactly as you would expect it to. To your customer it starts to look like a war zone as equipment gets put in place, grass gets trampled and debris begins to mount. It is essential that you manage the appearance of the site proactively. This means explaining the situation to your clients prior to the installation and even have them tell the neighbors what to expect. I would recommend asking your clients if they have objections to music being played and even if they would be offended by any form of music. Remember that you are in a fishbowl and your goal is to have the neighbors admire not only the finished product, but the quality of the staff on hand to do the work.

3.Clean up and then say goodbye. At the end of the day, most installation crews simply pack up and leave. You have seen it hundreds of times. This might be an acceptable practice for new construction and commercial projects. But when installing a new roof for a homeowner, I encourage you to teach your staff to ring the doorbell and say goodbye to the homeowner. They should offer the opportunity for a jobsite inspection to let the homeowner approve of the cleanup and even observe the progress on the project. The client will feel more involved and respected.

These three tips are very simple and, most importantly, teachable behaviors. Attitude is not something we feel but is something we do. Teach your staff, from the receptionist to the salesman to the installation team, to treat the client with professional courtesies that are beyond the norm and you will create elated customers.