Installation Tips that Prevent Callbacks on Doors (Part 2)
By Conrad Mast
In the first of this two-part series on door installation, we covered a lot of technical tips that can help ensure that doors work properly, and prevent callbacks from homeowners. (If you missed it, you can check out Part 1 here.) Here in Part 2, we asked Conrad Mast, one of ProVia’s Field Service experts for doors, to share some insights about the education process with customers, and why being proactive is so important to ensuring homeowner satisfaction.
How can we proactively make sure homeowners are delighted with their door installations?
This really begins with the sales process. The best way to ensure customer satisfaction is to specify the right door solution in the first place. When you arrive to provide an estimate, take a look at the entire landscape of the homeowner’s situation. Of course you’ll listen to their needs and desires, but also analyze things like environmental exposures. For example, you may have a particular house that sits on top of a high hill, it’s facing southwest, and its exposure is extreme. In a situation like this, with the best interests of the customer in mind, the salesperson should tell the homeowner they might want to consider adding a storm door. By bringing this into the conversation early, what happens is the homeowner is usually impressed that you’re taking their individual needs into account. That’s a level of expertise they don’t have, and they value it. That’s why you’re there – to be the experienced expert! Being proactive early in the process ensures that the best door solution is in place that will perform to the customer’s expectations.
How does it impact referrals when homeowners aren’t happy with their door installation?
If a callback occurs, it can turn into a downward spiral. Not only does it make the installer’s company look bad, it makes ProVia look bad too, because people always tell their friends about the positive and negative experiences they’ve had.
On one recent occasion, I had a homeowner who was upset when I had to tell her – after the installation – that a storm door would really help her situation too. She said, “This looks really bad on your company.” I said, “You’re right, but that’s why I’m here, because I want you to be able to tell your friends and family that we took care of you.” When I left she was happy, and thanked me for coming out and taking care of it. But again, if the salesperson and installer handle everything proactively from the beginning, none of us are put into an awkward position.
Do you suggest that these proactive measures become a part of standard sales procedures?
The first thing I’d do is get my sales team together and say, “When you go out to the home, yes we want to make the sale – we do want to sell this door. But most importantly we want to give the customer the product that they need.” And if this means adding a storm door to an entry door because of where it’s situated, tell them that up front. And don’t overpromise. Sometimes I think it’s best to undersell so that the product ends up being more than what the customer expected.
Our product is not the lowest price out there. How much do you hear about that when you’re called back?
Often in the field, I hear something like “I paid X-amount of money for that door, and it’s doing this” or “I could have bought a door from the big box down the street, paid less, and it would have done the same thing.” What I tell homeowners is that when they buy from a big box or discount store, they’re not going to send someone out who will make sure the door is performing properly, and stick with it until it’s right. However, when you buy from a local ProVia dealer, their qualified service personnel will take care of any issues to your satisfaction. The “lowest price” can involve shortcuts that cause more headaches (and cost more) in the long run.
What about proactive measures during the actual door installation process?
When your installers go out to the job, make sure they have all of the right products. Sounds simple, but take a minute to make sure you have the right door, needed materials, etc. And when they go to install it, first get the floor taken care of, get it covered to avoid scratches and dents. Then check for items hanging or standing nearby that could fall if bumped during installation and have them removed. Lastly, check around to see if there’s a crack in the drywall or a cracked floor tile. Note this and talk with the homeowner about it so you’re both on the same page. If you miss this important step, you could get the door done and it looks great…but then the homeowner calls and says, “you caused a crack here or there.” Now it’s too late and becomes a he-said-she-said situation. But if you note it ahead of time, everyone will be on the same page and you’ll avoid a misunderstanding down the road.
Take that extra half hour to do it right the first time because, in the long run, taking shortcuts will end up reflecting on you, and might end up costing your company money.
You have a lot to say on this subject! Anything else you’d like to add?
What I truly believe is, everyone wants to do a good job. It’s about personal pride and satisfaction from a job well done, and creating a happy family of referring customers. People can only do what they know how to do, so equipping your team with knowledge is critical. ProVia is here to help, and our Installer Certification Program is a great way to ensure you can deliver the best door installations in the business. Who doesn’t want to be the best?
Tell us what you think! Comment below and share your thoughts or any tips you can add to the list we’ve started here.
Very good points and suggestions. I have been installing doors and home improvement products for 40 years. I even installed for a big box store for a little over a year, fearing they would hurt my business. I can tell you from experience that if a dealer is totally upfront and honest with their customer from the start, the process will be much more smoother. Don't hide anything about details of the job or installation. The customer will respect you all the more if you share a treatment of respect for each other about the total job is required of all parties. If they're only looking for price you probably will not make the sale but if they are looking for a fair price and someone who cares about them, you will win the job. I installed for the big box, the way the big box stores would sell an install and I would never treat my customers to that type of work. The "Professional Way" is the only way to go!
Great article. Just want to let you know that I mentioned and blogged on your blog in our own blog, http://www.newviewnj.com/blog because we sell ProVia Doors, and this is why!