John DeRosaLike it or not, we live in a hyper-connected world where some customers have unrealistic expectations and they’re literally one click away from writing a negative review if you fail to meet those expectations. Customer satisfaction used to be all about the quality of the finished project and your ability to deliver a positive remodeling experience. But in today’s world, people expect to be more than just satisfied. What they want, is an experience — something memorable, something that makes them feel like less of a check book, something that evangelizes them to your brand.

According to Google, 82 percent of homeowners conduct online research before making a buying decision and 64 percent of homeowners are searching for reviews before they contact you. Rather than focusing on how to manage and respond to negative reviews, I would strongly suggest we take a more proactive approach. This would include two areas of focus:

Take ownership of your customers’ perceptions of their relationship with your brand — resulting from all of their interactions with your brand during the customer life cycle.

Designing customer interactions that meet or exceed customer expectations — driving customer satisfaction, loyalty and brand advocacy.

So How Do We Get Started?

The first step is to create a visual depiction of interactions and emotions seen through the eyes of the customer while attempting to accomplish an intention with your company. This is called a Customer Journey Map and they provide human context around what it’s like to be a customer interacting with your brand.

The journey map is constructed of a series of touchpoints (interactions) that reveal what the customer is doing, thinking, and feeling along the way. Roofing contractors are consistently ranked as the least trusted business type (according to The journey map helps you identify the TRUSTpoint interactions that can make or break the customer’s trust in your company.

With a journey map in place, you can begin to ask yourself: which interactions are most important to the customer, what is the customers’ expectations of you at that moment; who is primarily responsible for the experience delivered; and how well are you meeting or exceeding the customers’ expectations? The answers to these questions will become the customer-centric catalyst for your organization and the burning platform that drives change.  

The second step is to validate your findings. Surveying your customers will help you verify the relative importance — and measure your customer’s satisfaction — at each of different touchpoints. The results will help shine a spot light on the performance gaps, highlighting the touchpoints that are critically important to the customer and those that represent the greatest opportunity for improvement. These are called “Moments of Truth”, which should be reviewed with your team to determine the best ways to quickly improve the customer’s experience at that touchpoint.

With your team now laser-focused on the customer experience, the final step is to survey every customer to measure how well you’re meeting their expectations. I’m a big fan of using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a benchmark to gauge customer satisfaction. NPS is different from other benchmarks, like a customer satisfaction score or customer effort score. NPS measures a customer's overall sentiment about a brand, versus their perception of a singular interaction. It’s very easy to use, highly intuitive, and is strongly correlated to increased business growth.  

The main goal is to create a consistent customer experience across all touchpoints to exceed your and your customers’ standards. By keeping an eye on the entire customer journey, you’re making sure that the promise of a positive experience is kept and you’re offering a superior service. Your ability to deliver will prove to be a critical differentiator that helps you increase revenues (based on repeat sales, lower price sensitivity, increased upsells, and positive word-of-mouth) and lower expenses (resulting from lower acquisition costs, fewer complaints, and the less intense service requirements of happy, loyal customers).

Are you seeking to satisfy your customers or create advocates who are eager to promote your brand?

DeRosa will speak during IRE Session TU14 (Customer Experience Excellence -- Keys to Turning Customers into Advocates of your Brand) on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in room 202AB.