Over the years, our founders have successfully grown and scaled a variety of service-related companies. While every company faces its own unique challenges and obstacles, there are a few constants that are key to building a successful service company.
Know your values
Establish your company’s core values early on and stick to them. Take an honest assessment of the key principles that are at the heart of your company and detail them out in a way that is easy for you and your team to remember and understand. Once you have thoughtfully identified your core values, don’t just put them on your wall and forget about them. Use them as the yardstick for every single decision and interaction with customers, vendors, and your own team members.
Get to know your customer.
The only way to provide exceptional customer service is by getting to know your customer and their needs. Rather than operating your service company on autopilot, get to know your customer and their specific pain points. Talk to them and ask them what would make your service invaluable to them and how you can better help them meet their goals. Get into the weeds and learn things like the materials that work best for their specific purposes, protocols and procedures you could implement that would save them time and energy, and what specifically they look for in your type of service company.
Put the customer first — always.
Once you have a strong understanding of the needs of your customer, it is crucial that you put your customer first. The most successful service-oriented businesses are built upon strong relationships where the customer knows they can rely on you to work in their best interest. By analyzing each interaction from your customer’s perspective and identifying ways you more effectively and efficiently meet their needs, you are laying the foundation for building a successful service company.
Invest in technology.
By investing in and efficiently utilizing technology, you can streamline the customer experience and more effectively grow and scale your business. There are a variety of tools built with service companies in mind that can help you quickly scale your business even while operating on a lean staff. Operational functions like scheduling and billing that once required an entire department can now be done through automated software and online tools like chatbots and automated email software allow you to be more responsive to customers while also taking some of the communication load off of your team. Look to technology within your specific service industry to find innovative ways to increase productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
Don’t just communicate — overcommunicate.
One of the guiding principles in every business we have successfully grown and scaled is communication. In a world where we have more communication tools at our fingertips than ever before, many service companies still fail to communicate with their customers. While growing our companies, we have found that communicating efficiently, effectively, and often has been key to building customer loyalty. Communicate where you are on a project regularly so that your customer knows exactly where they stand every step of the way.
Consistency is key.
Be consistent and reliable in order to become your customers’ most trusted resource. It is easy to overpromise and underdeliver, but the quality and consistency of your work will determine your longevity. If you have established any deadlines or budget, stay within them. If you run into any issues, communicate them early and often.
Be honest and transparent.
As you are growing your service company, it’s particularly important that you know your limitations and have a solid understanding of your current capabilities. Only take on work that is a good fit for your company, your values, and your capacity. Be honest and transparent with your customers about your ability to do the work required, the realistic timeline and cost, and proactively address any obstacles that arise.
Learn when and how to say “no.”
You will inevitably be asked to take on work that is either outside of your company’s scope or capacity. While it may be tempting to take on any and every project that comes your way, learning when and how to say “no” will help you to successfully grow your business without overextending yourself and your team. There will be times that you don’t not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of work a new customer might bring or, conversely, that customer may not be a good fit for the values and goals of your company. By having a strong understanding of your company’s capacity and clearly defined ideal customers, you can quickly determine which projects to pursue and which ones you should respectfully decline.
Begin with the end in mind.
Stephen Covey’s timeless leadership principle applies especially well to service companies. When building your business, you have the unique opportunity to determine your ultimate end goals. Once you know where you would like to end up as a company and relentlessly pursue those goals in each and every decision as a business owner. Another piece of leadership wisdom that has been integral to the success of each service company we’ve grown and scaled is this advice from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great: be rigorous, but not ruthless. In order to achieve high growth and build a loyal customer base, you must be disciplined and rigorous in pursuit of your goals, core values, and an exceptional customer experience. This, however, can not come at the expense of your people. In fact, putting people first is at the core of being rigorous, but not ruthless. By applying the same exacting standards to all people and situations, you free your employees to do their best work and your customers will know they can rely on you to make the hard decisions without sacrificing the human element that is vital to successful service companies.
No matter your specific industry, you can build and grow a successful service-related company by keeping these helpful tips at the forefront of your decision-making process. If you are interested in learning about how Scandia can help you successfully scale your service business and achieve high growth, reach out to us to see if we might be the right partner for your growing business.