Making The Ask: Customer Confidence in the Age of COVID-19

Making The Ask: Customer Confidence in the Age of COVID-19

At this stage in our collective battle against the COVID-19 market, maybe you and your company have caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve made the right decisions and prioritized safety. You’ve developed a financial plan to navigate diminished revenue. You’ve ensured responsible operation, invested in proper protocol, and you’re confident that you can deliver high quality work without endangering yourself or your customers.

It would be a win that’s hard to understate. And unfortunately, it wouldn’t mean much without your customers.

Your customers, who may have made it through the past few months with a finicky drain, or without the dream renovation they’d imagined, will need more than the green light to re-engage. Now, as always, it’s imperative that your customers know of and trust in your operations.

Showing Your Cards

While the background noise of service operations is something you’ve probably worked hard to filter out, it can now make or break a sale. Customers are looking for capability that goes beyond the technical aspect of the job.

Begin by communicating your process around service selection. Tell the customer if you’re able to do their kind of job, why you’re able to do it safely, and what’s changed for you to be able to do so. If you’ve held out on certain tasks, taken less work in the past few months, these are things the client wants to know.

Next, communicate the concrete precautions you’re taking. Peel back the curtain on temperature checks, contact tracing, symptom monitoring, what kind of PPE you’ll be wearing on the job. Even if they don’t know to ask, tell the customer about your process with manufacturers and how you go about obtaining materials safely.

Last, and most often forgotten, have a conversation around your insurance. It’s a time of trepidation, and customers want to know that they won’t be liable for any health outcomes that result from their engagement. Be transparent about the changes you’ve made to your policy, if any, and tell them plainly what happens in the case that the tradesmen develops any symptoms in the days after the job.

Making The Ask

The pre-corona market may have operated on customer convenience, but that too has undergone a definitive shift. Now it’s about making the ask. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, nervous customers are looking for ways they can contribute to the safety of the interaction. Any moves they can make toward doing so are actually a source of comfort. Luckily, there’s no shortage of ways they can help.

Don’t hesitate to provide the customer with some tasks before your visit. Ask that the space you’ll be working in is clean, and that the surfaces have been wiped down. Inquire about the path you’ll take to that space – is there a chance that path can be reserved for you and any co-workers on the job, so as to minimize interactions through the project?

In the same way you’re diligent about your health and that of your co-workers, ask if the household you’re entering has any signs of symptoms. Take charge of the payment strategy, and offer in advance a way you can make it as contact-less as possible.

Don’t be afraid to make some requests as you schedule the appointment. If you can’t have as many tradesmen working in one space, ask the customer for an extended window of availability. If you’re minimizing back and forth and prefer the job is completed in one day, ask for that flexibility. Do you need full vacancy to do your work safely? Do you need a small outdoor space reserved for safe breaks? Ask, and ask again.

While it remains a common instinct to be as accommodating as possible, ground rules provide a sense of comfort. Your customers want to be informed, and they’d love to be a part of the equation. By showing your cards and making the ask, you’ve created an exchange of trust with your customer. All that’s left to do is the job, and that’s what you do best.

About Darragh Timlin

Darragh Timlin has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is currently the Underwriting Director for Tradesman Saver, a trusted insurance company specialising in providing all forms of insurance to British tradesmen for over 30 years. In this position, Darragh manages the relationships with the insurers and has overall control of binding authorities.  

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