Lead carpenters should consider potential areas of concern while on a project and deal with them in the moment to reduce the likelihood of future warranty calls.
Who isn’t looking for a simple, painless way to keep repeat and referral rates up? Repeat clients and referrals account for 92% of our produced jobs and 43% of our leads at Rochman Design Build. They’ve become our bread and butter.
To get (and keep) our rates at those levels, we treat a warranty call just as importantly as a new job lead. And when it comes down to it, handling calls about warranty issues costs us about 70 hours of labor a year—a tiny percentage of our overall work. We’d be foolish to not do something that takes so little effort but brings in such beneficial returns.
When it comes to addressing warranty issues, here are the steps we follow that allow us to take advantage of the opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and subsequently our repeat/referral rates.
Make Warranty Calls Top Priority.
We return every call regarding a warranty issue within 24 hours, without exception. Oftentimes with these calls, resolving the problem immediately is not crucial. Quick response shows the client that they continue to be a top priority for us.
Lead carpenters often get pulled from current jobs to do warranty repairs. As a result, they’ve learned to think ahead on current projects. Now when they’re working on jobsites, they consider potential issues that could arise in the future as warranty calls. They then deal with them in the moment rather than waiting for the homeowner to call back in a few months for a repair, saving everyone time and energy.
On the Return Call, Set Out Clear Next Steps.
Whether we’re dealing with leads, current jobs, or warranty calls, the worst thing for a client is to not know what’s happening next.
When returning the call, don’t hang up without setting out concrete next steps for them. Will you be sending someone out today, or is it an issue that can be tabled for a few days until you have someone available? Is a follow-up call needed to set a time and date for a visit?
Being realistic about the timeline and setting concrete next steps reassures the client that we take the issue as seriously as the original job. We try to get someone out there within two days, but even if you can’t get anyone on the project right away, staying in touch lets them know you’re doing all you can to get the issue handled.
With warranty issues, the top priority usually isn’t resolving the problem right this moment. It’s letting the client know they are our top concern.
Address Past-warranty Issues, Within Reason.
We have a standard one-year warranty, but we take care of a lot of out-of-warranty issues as well as those caused by homeowner neglect. You might take a loss in the moment, but the fact that you solved their issue will yield returns in the future, especially if it’s a client who produces a lot of referrals.
Some out-of-warranty or neglect issues might be too much to repair pro bono (our rule of thumb is to replace anything that’s under a couple of hundred dollars). That’s a decision we leave up to our production manager. But even when we charge for repairs, our clients are pleased with the quick return phone call and clear communication. Both remind them of why we stand out from the crowd.
Make It a Point to Check in, Even Before a Warranty Call.
Our standard is to check in with past clients at least four times within the first year after a project. It reinforces the relationship and reminds them that the company did the work and did it well.