Earning customer trust is paramount for an electrical contractor business. After all, who would let someone wire their house unless they trusted them and their credentials? But in this day and age, customers can read dozens of horror stories about dodgy tradesmen who were responsible for accidents and even fires.
By faking certifications and slapping some decals on a truck, anyone can impersonate a pro electrician and then proceed to carry out some very expensive DIY.
It’s definitely good that homeowners are more vigilant and do their research before hiring someone but why is it that in their vigilance, they’re singling out your business as untrustworthy? What’s making your technicians look like dodgy tradesmen? It could be one of these things:
Ordered socks from Amazon? Confirmation email. Paid for lunch with your card? Confirmation email. Booked a dentist’s appointment? Confirmation email. How could your customers not be apprehensive if you don’t send them a confirmation email when they’ve just booked an appointment with you? Whether it’s online or over the phone, a confirmation email should always follow a request.
The point is, everyone sends confirmation emails these days, we’ve become accustomed to only considering an appointment as “booked” when we hear that ping on our phones. Bonus points if there’s a link in there to automatically export it to a digital calendar.
2. No technician tracking option.
Why do some electricians find success and profit in starting their own electrical business while others flounder? You’d be tempted to say because “the former is a better electrician” or even “the former is a better businessman” but the actual answer is because “the former thinks like a customer”.
Taking every detail of the customer journey into account then thinking of how to make it remarkable will blow the competition out of the water and have customers flocking back to hire you again.
When a customer is told to take a day off from work or other responsibilities just to sit around the house and wait for an electrician who might arrive anytime between 7AM and 7PM, it’s no wonder they spend a big part of those 12h regretting their choice of contractor and vow to never hire “dodgy tradesmen” ever again. A tracking link can make all that hassle go away.
This dodgy tradesman alarm bell follows the same thought process as our previous one: how can customers trust a contractor that can’t give a reasonable ETA and let them know who will be entering their home?
Peace of mind is something a lot of people will be happy to pay extra for, allowing you to charge premium prices. A customer who receives an SMS or an email with a tracking link, can see exactly where their technician is, how long it will take them to arrive, and, most importantly, who will arrive.
Joe, the electrician with the curly brown hair and winning smile will always receive a warmer welcome than a stranger that just happens to knock on the door at midday “claiming” to be your electrician.
It’s OK for you to trust your technicians. After all, you hired them, you’ve known them for some time, and you wouldn’t send any dodgy tradesman to someone’s home or business. But how do your customers know that when you’re not keeping them up-to-date? They will want to know who’s in charge of their issue, what the tech’s certifications are, and who they can contact if something doesn’t go according to plan.
Keeping customers in the loop and in control is what made companies like Uber and Booking.com successful and any electrical contractor can take a page from their rulebook.
If you’re diligent at storing data and recording your job history, you’ll always have an answer when someone calls 3-4 months or even 3-4 years down the line about a recall on an appliance. A database will tell you exactly when the installation took place, who did the work, and what parts were used. Always keep the long-run in mind!
5. No soft skills.
What does the phrase “dodgy tradesman” bring up in your mind when you think of it? A scruffy individual who walks in without saying hello or wiping the dirt off his boots. They might grunt a perfunctory “Hello” then get on with their business. Same thing when the work is done.
Barely a “goodbye” and a “office will call you” then they’re out, a cloud of dust and your ripped up home left behind. Dodgy tradesmen are not known for their soft skills, so don’t let your technicians fall prey to the stereotype by letting them act like their mother never taught them any manners.
6. No digital inspection forms.
Inspection forms are the true mark of an honest, trustworthy tradesman, aren’t they? Indeed, they are! But not all are made equal. The problem with paper-exclusive forms is that they’re easy to fake and dodgy tradesmen hand them out by the dozen, leaving a trail of disgruntled people on the internet telling other prospective customers to be wary.
Additionally, a truly reliable electrical contractor would always email a digital form just in case the paper one gets destroyed or misplaced. Additionally, if someone calls a couple of months down the line, they can rely on the database we previously mentioned and check the customer profile.
7. Errors in estimates and invoices.
Few things make you look more unreliable than financial errors. Sure, mistakes can happen and some customers will be understanding at first but mostly because they might be in too deep to call your competitors at that point.
They’ll definitely remember the electrician who sent them an estimate for approval that states the whole job would cost under $1000 but ended up with double the amount on the actual invoice, just because someone didn’t reconcile their deposit invoice or mispriced a spare part.
It’s often how dodgy tradesmen operate: send a ridiculously low estimate, then pile hidden fees on the gullible customer. A good manager will have an efficient system for creating estimates and invoices, automatically reconciling any paid amounts, and then creating invoices assigned to the customer’s profile. This way, errors are reduced to a minimum.
8. Delays in sending documents.
Having electrical work done to a house or a business location is stressful enough as it is. You can imagine the customer’s anxiety if there are any delays on top of that. From taking a week to send in a formal quote to forgetting to send an invoice until your cash flow turns bad, these are all consequences of running a paper-based business and not using any customer portal software.
You wouldn’t be using a tool that causes you so many headaches in your electrical work, right? So instead of the aforementioned scenario, your technicians could be using digital tools to generate formal quotes on the spot, via their phone, then email it for instant approval via digital signature. Similarly, an invoice could be going out automatically when a job is marked as done.
No wonder customers are put off: delays tarnish reputations and turn 5-star reviews of excellent electrical work into 2-star disappointments.
Many great electrical companies suffer the consequences of dodgy tradesmen: whether it’s having to fix shoddy work, or dealing with already frustrated customers through no fault of their own.
It’s not ideal but a good manager or business owner will know that establishing the correct processes and investing in quality tools—like a technician tracking portal or a customer database, or a complex all-in-one software will put the customer at ease in no time!
After all, what’s more trustworthy than a company that can prove they’re keeping up with the times? If you’d like to know more about the benefits and what a personalized customer journey looks like, check out this infographic!
Hi! I'm Cristina Maria
And I want to bring next-level strategies to the field service industry. When I'm not working on the best tips to grow your business, I'm on the lookout for a sci-fi novel to beat The Foundation.