In the words of
Matt Gohlke
Gohlke Pools
Denton, Texas

Good customer service is meeting client expectations. Great service exceeds expectations. We don’t just want satisfied customers — we want strong advocates for our business.

Communication is critical, and clients want real-time answers. We find out how they want to connect (text, email, call) and how often, and we do that. We also require clients to attend our preconstruction meetings. We go through a checklist and discuss every conceivable situation, to clarify what’s going to occur and set expectations. We do final walk-throughs with clients to address questions or concerns and make sure we’ve delivered on everything.

In developing our approach to customer service, we realized our clients’ expectations are not the same as ours. We used to say, “Treat a client like you want to be treated.” Now we say, “Treat a client like they want to be treated.” Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and look at things from their perspective.

We hold departmental meetings, daily huddles and mandatory weekly training sessions where we discuss customer service successes and failures.

To measure customer satisfaction, we send surveys and monitor online review sites. But generally, we ask our clients to tell us if we are not meeting expectations at any time throughout the project, so we can make corrections before losing credibility with them.

If a client does complain, we consider it a second chance. We coach our staff to thank the customer for making us aware of the problem and allowing us to make it right. Most times, unhappy customers don’t complain — they take their business elsewhere and perhaps tell others about their experience. Therefore, we are grateful for complaints. Besides, we might not have known we needed improvement in that area — it’s free business consulting.

If you have an upset customer, don’t let your ego get in the way. Instead of getting hung up on who is right or wrong, do your best to fix it. We have to go beyond what the contract says and just do the right thing, regardless of the cost. Tim Murphy of Presidential Pools refers to it as “settling the claim.” It’s great advice and a great business philosophy to live by.

Think long term. You might have to take a loss periodically for the overall good of your company.