Launching a business can feel like building a boat at the same time you set sail. Figuring it out along the way may have worked in the early days, but that practice can lead to disaster down the road. Lay the groundwork for what you want your business to be by practicing transparency in service details. 

Open communication about service details 

Honest communication is key to any relationship, and your customers are no different. It takes trust to hand over hard-earned money to a stranger, so communicating details at every step of a project builds a layer of certainty in your ability to get the job done. Whether it’s progress reports on a service or an extensive update about a challenge, your customers deserve to be aware — and when they are, it makes all the difference. 

Be upfront about what is within your company’s wheelhouse and pass on jobs that veer outside of your realm of expertise. Remember, it is okay to say no when a job is not the right fit. It’s better to pass on the job than fall short and damage your reputation. 

And while no one likes bad news, it’s up to the business to share expectations – good and bad. An HVAC technician can’t share details of how they plan to repair an issue until they have seen it – but they can list the possibilities to avoid a blindsided customer post-inspection. 

However, communication extends beyond sharing the problems encountered while servicing customers. Caring businesses talk with — not at — customers, so be sure they can conveniently contact you.  

Consider all the ways customers might want to contact a business: 
  • Email 
  • Phone 
  • Website chat 
  • Video chat 
  • Social media 

You can build trust and rapport by being available to customers to answer any questions they have along the way or post-service. However, many businesses find managing all those communication channels challenging. Finding an omnichannel inbox to organize all the ways customers communicate with your business helps keep everything together. That way, customers can reach you at their convenience – without adding management tasks. 

Provide clear and accurate information 

Customers deserve to know exactly what they’ll receive when they make a purchase. Clearly outline what each service entails before customers pay, and your staff start the service, including the timeline for their project and all associated costs. 

When sharing what clients can expect, dig into the scope of the project, such as what you’re expected to cover. A carpet cleaner, for example, might want to clarify how many area rugs and rooms need to be serviced, the rugs’ sizes, additional costs for special fabrics, and other items like stain removal. Also, include any limitations so customers know what’s not included. By being upfront, your business can effectively manage the customer’s expectations and avoid dissatisfaction when the service is complete. 

Be mindful of how timelines for services are set to ensure a happier customer: 
  • Break Down Projects into Manageable Tasks: Divide larger projects into smaller tasks or milestones to allow for better progress tracking. This also helps keep you from overwhelming clients with substantial timelines. Laying out the tasks is also a handy assist when assigning responsibilities and allocating resources. 
  • Set Realistic Deadlines: Be sure any timelines and milestones you set are realistic and achievable. Consider factors such as the type of work being done, available resources, and any potential obstacles or delays. Setting overly ambitious deadlines can lead to frustration and compromise the quality of work. Realistic timelines, on the other hand, can help boost trust with your customers and their confidence in your ability to deliver. 
  • Communicate Proactively: Regularly communicate with clients about project timelines and milestones. Provide updates on progress, discuss any changes or challenges, and get feedback. Proactive communication shows both transparency and commitment to keeping customers informed, which reduces their feelings of uncertainty and lessens the chance of there being misunderstandings. 
  • Add in Buffer Time: Plan for potential delays by including a buffer in your project timelines. Buffer time helps accommodate unexpected issues or changes without completely derailing your customer’s project schedule. No need to keep a secret; communicate the reasoning behind adding buffer time to your customers, and they might be grateful for the attempt to under-promise and over-deliver. 

Your customer will appreciate a clear roadmap of what to expect; however, remind your staff that they are the professionals, not the customer. While industry jargon and acronyms might be common around your shop, office, or warehouse, try to avoid them while working with customers. Use language that customers can easily understand so they can ask questions. Better yet, stay ahead of the conversation by anticipating questions customers may have, and proactively addressing them. 

Build Lasting Client Relationships Through Service Transparency 

Trust and transparency play pivotal roles in establishing strong client relationships and ensuring the success of your businesses. By being transparent about service details with customers, your business can foster a sense of trust and reliability, while driving sustainable growth and success.