There is perhaps no more difficult of a task for a boatyard manager or boat service professional than trying to resolve billing disputes with unhappy customers.
First, trying to calmly settle a disagreement with customers who think they are being unfairly charged is fraught with unpleasantness, as these clients often react aggressively—believing the service shop is taking advantage of them.
Second, heated disputes of this ilk can turn loyal customers into ex-clients who will perhaps seek out a competitor the next time they need to service their vessels. After all, today’s consumers place tremendous value on trust and quality of customer service. In fact, 59 percent of Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience, according to a recent infographic from Salesforce.com.
Billing disputes put service professionals in a tricky situation because, although they don’t want to lose customers who believe they are being overcharged, oftentimes labor costs do increase for legitimate reasons. Not adjusting the client’s bill accordingly could result in the business actually losing money on the job, which is not a recipe for a sustainable business for the long term.
The only surefire way to avoid billing disputes when a repair is complete is to maintain contact with customers during the process and get approvals for any changes to the original work order. But that too can be a challenge when communication becomes encumbered by days of phone tag, unread emails and missed faxes. And if the boatyard or repair shop delays the work while it awaits approval, the timetable for the job is pushed back, which may also lead to client frustration.
So what is the answer?
One possible solution for boatyard service professionals is to leverage modern digital capabilities to more efficiently communicate with clients. For instance, task management software that allows customers to view and sign off on adjusted work orders online could help service professionals avoid disputes without delaying repair jobs substantially. As a result, there are no surprises when the customers come in to pick up their vessels and settle their bills.
On top of facilitating more efficient client communications, some of the top task managers provide a host of other advantages for boatyards and service shops. Among the most beneficial of the available features are:
- A module that allows the business to streamline workflow by coordinating internal tasks between technicians, managers and back-office personnel
- Central storage of service history records that update automatically as tasks are marked as complete
- An inventory management tool that integrates with the company’s website
- A financial management solution that facilitates integration and better organization of fiscal records, including accounts payable and receivable
- Access to all records anytime, on any device
No service professional likes to argue with customers over billing but, in the past, some of these disputes may have seemed unavoidable. With online task manager software, however, any potential disagreement can be squashed before it begins.