Customer complaints come in all varieties, but at the heart of every, single one of them is communication. And great communication usually equates with excellent customer service.

When people don’t know enough about the situation, they tend to get upset.  As in, “What do you mean your buyer couldn’t get the cabinets I wanted? Why did she install these other cabinets instead without running it by me first? I didn’t ask for these!”

Can you imagine going to a hardware store and asking for a 3/8-in wrench and getting a 10mm one instead? The person behind the counter doesn’t understand what the problem is. Why aren’t you happy with the 10mm one? In fact, the 10mm wrench is already billed to your account so you’ve already paid for it.

In both the cabinet and the wrench scenarios, neither customer is getting anything close to excellent customer service. Nobody’s communicating. So how can you avoid these situations? Talk to your customer ahead of time. Make sure he understands the problem, possible solutions and how the changes impact the timeframe:

“I know we talked about those cabinets for quite a long while …but I have some bad news. We can’t get them anymore, not even from out-of-state suppliers. I found some similar styles, and I picked out a couple that I think you’re going to like. And the one that you almost chose is still available. For us to stay on our build schedule, I’m going to need you to make a decision by the end of the day. Can you meet me around 5 o’clock so you can show me your final choice?”

That type of conversation demonstrates that you care about what your customer wants.

Keep the lines of communication open, too. Touch base with your customers every now and again during a build. Even if there isn’t anything new to report, you’re giving them the opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions. A few minutes on the phone can buy you a lifetime customer who’s more than willing to talk you up to friends and neighbors.

When you prioritize communication, you’ll minimize your customer complaints, increase your customer satisfaction rates and build your client base from referrals.