How To Prevent Callbacks | Checkatrade
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How to prevent callbacks

It's the one customer call you don't want to receive - a callback. This can cost you and your team time, money, and stress. Follow our top tips to help prevent callbacks in the first place.

The problem with callbacks

You’ve completed the job but have been called back due to subsequent problems or customer dissatisfaction.

We feel your pain. It’s not only disruptive to your schedule, but it can often see you working at a loss while draining energy and morale.

Knowing how to prevent callbacks from occurring not only lifts this cloud, but works to improve productivity, increase the likelihood of positive reviews, and can help to maintain your reputation.

So let’s get into it – how to prevent callbacks once and for all.

How to prevent callbacks in 3 easy steps

1. Communication

Communication is key to preventing callbacks and managing customer expectations.

First, make sure the job requirements are clearly outlined and shared with all parties, including the customer and any trades you’re working alongside.

Then, make sure you keep the customer informed throughout the job to build trust and provide plenty of opportunities to answer customer queries. If you come across an unexpected issue, discuss this with the customer and explain how you’ll manage it.

Finally, share your knowledge and expertise. If the materials you’ve installed need ongoing maintenance, for example, decking requiring an annual treatment, make sure the customer is aware. If there’s a possibility of colour variance in the materials your customer has selected, e.g. with flooring, let the customer know before ordering.

2. Automation

Who doesn’t want a simpler life? If you’re not yet using an app or software to plan and schedule jobs, you’re missing a trick.

Checkatrade members get an exclusive deal with Powered Now – the UK’s #1 app for tradespeople. It not only allows our members to manage jobs but makes light work of tedious admin, such as quoting and invoicing, with easy-to-use templates.

How does automation help to prevent callbacks?

  • It allows real-time scheduling of jobs, which streamlines operations and sharpens your customer service.
  • It reduces the risk of paperwork getting lost or forgotten, helping to maintain professionalism.
  • It improves efficiency, which is great for customer satisfaction and your business.

For more tips on managing your time and workload, check out this post.

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3. Service level agreements

It goes without saying, one of the best ways to help prevent callbacks is to consistently deliver excellence.

But as your business grows and you employ staff, how do you make sure your high standards are maintained?

One way to do this is to set out your service expectations in writing. This can cover two key areas:

Company standards

Make sure all staff are aware of the standards you expect. This should include information such as appearance and uniform, invoicing and paperwork, inventory procedures, consideration for customer property, and your policy on sick days and absence.

Job checklist

To help to make sure customers receive the same great service every time, create a job or site checklist for your team to follow. A key part of this is making sure work is tested and double-checked before leaving the job.

How to prevent callbacks - plumber double checking his work

How best to respond to a callback

Some callbacks are unpreventable – we’re all human and mistakes happen. However, how you respond to a callback can directly affect how likely it is your services will be requested by the customer again.

It can also have a negative impact on your reputation and future work opportunities, as your unhappy customer shares their dissatisfaction with friends and family, or worse, in the form of a damaging online review.

Here’s how best to tackle a customer callback head-on:

1. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

Despite how frustrating it is to return to a job, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and anticipate what they need in order to satisfactorily resolve the issue.

Make sure you carefully assess whether it’s appropriate to charge the customer for the time and materials needed to put things right.

2. Own it, apologise, and follow up

We all appreciate honesty and transparency.

If, upon investigation, you discover a mistake has been made by you or your team, own it. It might be that you’ve been let down by a dodgy part, but in the customer’s eyes, the parts and service you provide are one and the same.

Explain what’s happened, how you’ll fix it, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Go the extra mile and follow up with the customer 24-hours later to check everything’s ok. Your diligence will go a long way to preserving your reputation.

3. Learn from callbacks

Another way to help maintain your company’s reputation is to let the customer know how you’ll learn from this situation.

For example, if the callback was due to a leak caused by a dud part, reassure the customer that you’ll feedback to the supplier. If it was due to human error, let the customer know you’ll be revisiting service expectations with the team to avoid this happening again.

Taking the time to learn from mistakes will help to minimise them in the future.

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