The most important skill a drain cleaner can have is, obviously, clearing drains. But customer service is a close second. It may not be your favorite part (that’s sharing crazy job photos in your Facebook group of choice), but it’s a vital part of the job, particularly for smaller shops.
At the core of customer service is communication. If you can communicate clearly with your customers, they feel better about their experience. It can make bad news (it wasn’t a hair clog; it was a collapse) easier to take. But experts often have trouble communicating clearly. Chip and Dan Heath, in their book “Made to Stick,” call this the “curse of knowledge”: the more you know about something, the harder it is to explain it. Here are four tips to make clear communication between you and your customers easier.
- Keep your explanations simple. The more complex your explanation, the less likely an amateur is to understand. If there are details that aren’t necessary for the explanation, don’t include them unless the customer specifically asks.
- Use analogies. A drain blockage likely doesn’t need an analogy, but more complicated topics can easily confuse your customers. Compare their plumbing problems to more familiar situations.
- Break it down. Breaking big ideas into smaller, more manageable concepts makes them easier to understand. If a customer is experiencing a problem that is the result of a few different things, break it down bit by bit instead of trying to explain everything at once.
- Avoid jargon. When you’re a drain cleaning professional, you become a fluent speaker of drain-ese. While you and your coworkers may understand what you’re talking about, your customers likely don’t. Your customer doesn’t know what a stack is, so try using words that are more descriptive.
If all of this seems hard, it’s because it is. Clear communication is something that requires time and practice. To help you out while you’re working to become a master communicator, we created our Drain Service Notepad. It features a straightforward visual of a residential plumbing system to introduce your customer to their plumbing issues and the solutions. Use the diagram to illustrate problems and solutions, write notes and price estimates, and leave your contact information so your customer knows who to call for the next problem. Request your free Drain Service Notepad: