How to Manage the Emotional Home Owner
Challenging customers come in many shapes and sizes and remodelers must be able to identify them early in the process and have the coping skills to handle any sticky situations that may arise, according to Beverly Koehn, GMB, CGA, CAPS. She has developed business strategies for remodelers, including customer relations, for managing interactions with emotional home owners.
Koehn tells remodelers to carefully consider whether they will be well-matched to the needs and demands of the customer.
As in any professional relationship, she says, it’s important to work well together and get the best job done. The initial assessment and the success of the relationship requires being able to hear and understand what the client is saying.
“Smart remodelers ask essential questions and listen carefully before proceeding,” says Koehn. They work on developing the relationship from day one by asking the right questions and being sure they understand what the customer is saying.
Where Potential Conflict Lurks
Certain stages of the remodeling process are more delicate and susceptible to sparking conflict:
- Developing the purchase agreement
- Working with policies or procedures
- Maintaining quality standards
- Interacting with neighbors or community members
- Conflicting personalities
Sometimes many issues arise at the same time, making it all the more important to maintain a cool and professional attitude, Koehn says.
When customers contact a remodeler with a complaint or are angry, remodelers need to communicate expertly to repair the relationship.
Koehn provides this advice on handling customer dissatisfaction:
- If the customer is angry, acknowledge their anger and stay calm. Try not to take it personally and allow the customer to cool down before attempting to solve the problem.
- When probing into the problem, be empathetic and take time to consider how to respond.
- Listen carefully to what the customer is saying without interrupting.
- Mirror back to the customer what they said to ensure the complaint is clearly understood.
- No matter what, apologize to the customer, even if innocent of the accusations.
- Ask the customer what can be done to make them happy.
- Mirror back the customer request to ensure it is clearly understood.
- If possible, deliver the request as described by the customer.
- If not possible, suggest other solutions and be sure to take action and follow through on any commitments.
For more advice on business management, e-mail Beverly Koehn.
Increase Your Professional Credibility
The Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) designation emphasizes business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling operation.
Remodelers who earn the CGR become members of an exclusive national program and gain recognition as industry leaders.
To learn more about the CGR designation, visit www.nahb.org/CGRinfo, or call The Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154.
'How to Find a Professional Remodeler' Available at BuilderBooks.com
The brochure guides consumers from the dream to the reality of having their homes remodeled by skilled and trained professionals. Sections include what to look for in a professional remodeler and what questions to ask.
To view or puchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665 to order.