This article is sponsored by CompanyCam, and article first appeared here!
BK Restoration sees clients when they are at their worst. When BK Restoration Marketing Manager John Determan told me that, I understood what he meant. But when I walked into a house they were working on — with a destroyed roof, buckled floors, burned family photos, and seared memories — I felt it.
Sure, you make money in the restoration industry. Insurance companies and clients pay you to tear down damaged walls, pull up molding carpets, and replace busted pipes. But the repairs go beyond the physical fixes.
The restoration industry restores families’ lives. It repairs generational homes and safe places for people. Restoration companies — more often than not — give homeowners their dignity back. If you really think about it, it’s a beautiful thing.
As I walked alongside Jeff Koepke, President of BK Restoration, and John one cloudy August morning, I saw firsthand the weight of these situations.
Restoration businesses are on the job almost immediately after incidents occur. John said they were recently called at 3:30 AM regarding a house fire, even while firefighters were still on the scene.
At such a vulnerable and low point in a homeowner’s life, the last thing they need is a flaky contractor lacking honesty and good communication skills. Just imagine: Your property is damaged and your wallet is screaming, and THEN you’re burdened with communicating with an unreliable stranger on the repairs of your home.
It’d be overwhelming, to say the very least.
Businesses like BK Restoration understand this.
Employees at BK Restoration know what they’re walking into. In fact, being there for their customers and restoring people’s livelihoods is why they love their job. Both Jeff and John said, the people and clients are the most rewarding element of working in the restoration industry.
Whether it be a property manager, landlord, or homeowner, restoration projects mean a lot to people. They carry weight both financially and emotionally. Keeping these individuals in the loop lightens their load during the process of recovery. When people know their property is in good, trustworthy hands it goes a looooong way.
But, you may be thinking… How can I establish trust with a property owner? And to be specific, a property owner who is likely devastated and distracted by the state of their property?
Here are three tips. I’ll give you these three for free.
1. Check your attitude
Please hear me out on this one before scrolling. You make money in the restoration industry, so it can be easy to push aside the emotions and reality the customers are feeling. But regardless of what software, technology, or communication tricks you’ve mastered, if your attitude and outlook on restoration projects is wonky, forget about building trust with customers—it’s just not gonna happen.
You need to put yourself in their shoes — empathize with their struggle and recognize the overwhelming state they’re in. Speaking with BK Restoration employees, it was clear they prioritized that. They don’t pity or speak condescendingly to their clients. They are a calming, professional entity in stressful situations while continually respecting properties and understanding what these places mean to people.
Establishing trust with customers is not for the faint of heart. It takes time. It takes time for customers to believe you have good intentions. It also takes time for the word to get around about your good reputation. BK Restoration was established in the 1970s. Even being trustworthy and respectful from the get-go, it took time. Be patient and believe in the power of trust — it’s worth the investment and the wait.
2. Use CompanyCam
“Ugh Micki. Way to turn this into a sales pitch.” *eye-roll*… said everyone reading this blog.
But hey! If you know of a better photo documentation solution, DM me on LinkedIn and I’ll happily change it. But from what I can tell, CompanyCam is THE best photo documentation option for restoration businesses.
Jeff and John at BK Restoration are big fans of CompanyCam, too. John said their photo documentation and organization process before using CompanyCam was “such a pain.” They were using cameras, SD cards, and were “running out of storage” often. But CompanyCam came to the rescue.
With all the features on CompanyCam — time-stamps, geo-tags, editing, filtering, labels — it’s “worth its weight in gold,” according to John. Jeff said, “I seriously have no idea what we were doing without CompanyCam.”
So what does CompanyCam have to do with building trust?
“We see people at their worst,” John said. As mentioned, adding to these property owners’ plates is not an option. CompanyCam brings transparency through photo reporting and real-time documentation. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and things are recorded in an organized fashion.
While using CompanyCam, crew members, admin, subcontractors, and even clients are all in the loop. (You can also decide who sees what if you’re fancy.) For example, with the CompanyCam shareable timeline feature, clients can follow along on what’s being done on their property.
Before and Afters are also a neat way to display the workmanship done on the site. Often clients forget the terrible condition their property was in. B/A photos are a friendly reminder to make sure your cigarette butt is out before dropping it off your porch (ope!). It’s also a visual representation of the miracle work done by the restoration business. Share it on social, upload it to your website, and encourage clients to show their friends. B/A helps your marketing thrive.
3. Engage with insurance agencies
As John mentioned, BK Restoration has been called by insurance agencies as early as 3:30 AM in the morning. Insurance agents trust BK Restoration. They know BK does good work and treats customers with respect. If they trust you, getting referrals will be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Having a healthy relationship with insurance agencies filters down to the homeowner, too.
Restoration Referral System and CompanyCam put our brains together and did some digging. Leveraging insurance agents to get better referrals is the way to go in the restoration industry. This downloadable walks you through the step by step of that process.
So not only does engaging with insurance agencies improve loyalty and trust, it brings you consistent leads. A win win!