Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Checking in With Your Crew and Customers

This week we speak to Rey Alaniz, third generation roofer and franchise owner of Eagle Eye Contracting Services, on what it takes to get repeat business from customers.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

Contractors and roofers can sometimes get a bad rap, from less-than-stellar work to abandoned jobs. So how does Eagle Eye Roofing & Contracting of San Antonio, Texas maintain its stellar reputation?

Eagle Eye Contracting Services

Owner Rey A. says it all comes down to communication: both with his customers and his team.

"It's just communication with everybody. Everybody gets a phone call. Everybody lets me know how it's going, and it helps me out. If they need materials, I make sure that I get them delivered. Or if there's an issue with a customer, I go show up personally and try to square things away."

Staying on top of communication is difficult, especially for a small business owner who wears multiple hats—answering phones, booking appointments, making sales calls, and even doing the actual work on site.

Rey knows it's not easy, and sometimes it doesn't work. But the effort to keep up communication is one of the most important parts of his business—for both new and returning customers.

"I don't have a secret. I wish someone had the secret because it is hard. It's extremely hard. I definitely try to get to everybody," Rey said. "Of course, some will slip through the cracks, unfortunately. But it is very demanding work. I'm a man of many hats, so I'll answer the phone, I'll go do the estimate, and then I'm there at the job. I gotta make sure that the guys got everything that they need and make sure the customers are happy."

That's what drew Yelp reviewer Niki T. to the business when she had some rotten corbels over her garage that needed replacing.

"I'm incredibly impressed with Eagle Eye—from how quickly they replied to my voicemail to starting the work. Within three hours, I had a reply and an estimator on my property. From there, the crew came out to confirm the scope of the job, and demo began on the spot. Rey's crew did amazing work throughout. They communicated often to ensure we were aligned and finished strong."

While this particular job was relatively small, compared to replacing an entire roof or building an addition, the crew at Eagle Eye treated the work as if it was a huge job, communicating regularly with Niki before moving on to the next part of the job. And when it was finished, Rey personally checked on the progress before sending a final invoice.

"Even the crew would come and check in with me in person, knock on my door to see if I liked where they were before they went to the next step and to the next step," Niki said. "That was impressive. And then every time one of those steps was completed, Rey would come by and check the work himself."

Rey knows that happy customers become repeat customers, which is important to any small business. It takes less marketing dollars to get an existing customer back than to try and follow a lead for a new customer. By consistently doing excellent work, Eagle Eye earns a loyal following and plenty of repeat customers, or callbacks, as Rey refers to them.

"We do great work. I don't believe in doing bad work. I've seen other contractors do bad work. And I always say, why do the bad work instead of doing something good so they can call you back. Believe it or not, this year, about half of the work is nothing but callbacks, and I don't have to do very much, like paying for leads or anything."

Rey also knows no matter how busy he gets, he has to stay on top of his business and his industry, and he keeps learning new skills throughout the day by using audiobooks and podcasts in between visits to job sites.

"I'm always taking classes, I'm always watching videos, anything that helps me be a better business person. Reading books or listening to audio, any self-improvement, things that I can get on when I'm on the road. And I think that's what helps me out a lot, as far as just listening to different audio and seeing both sides of the spectrum as far as what customers expect. And then of course, you know how to deliver that service to be a better business."

His methods are clearly working and have led to rave reviews from people like Niki, who are eager to share their positive experiences with other potential customers.

"Whenever I do my reviews, I would say about 30-40% are me saying, I don't understand why everybody's so upset at this place, it's amazing!," said Niki.

"I felt like with this company in particular, he didn't have a Yelp presence. He was there, but he had no reviews. And I was like, well, that's not good. I look at Yelp first all the time, so I wanted to get them off to a positive start and hopefully launch him in the direction of his other review sources that were all five stars."

Here are a few other tried-and-true methods Rey covers in the episode:

  • Respond to all requests as soon as possible. Always respond to customers as soon as you can, whether by text, phone, email, or a direct message from your Yelp Page. Responding quickly can gain customer loyalty, while a slow response can lose customers.

  • Communication is not just for customers. It's important to keep up with your crews and employees. Knowing how they are performing or if they need additional support will keep your business running smoothly.

  • Doing your best work will show your customers you care. No matter the size of the job or the purchase, putting your best effort into everything you do in your business will impress your customer base and keep them coming back.

  • Keep learning. Staying on top of the latest trends in your industry or the latest sales or marketing tools will allow you to expand your business alongside your knowledge. This additional information can be passed on to customers and show you are an expert in your field.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Atiya and Elizabeth, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks