The following is a guest post by Darion Miller is the Co-Author of the Service Coach Blog, which provides marketing resources to the service industry.
Loyal Customers are hard to come by today with so much competition. However, with a solid company plan on how to generate leads and turn them into loyal customers you should not have a problem. Here are seven tips to turn a lead into a loyal customer that keeps on giving:
Selling Service Agreements
Creating service agreements is a great way for your service company to provide value throughout the year. These agreements let the customers know that you stand behind your work and that you will be there if something goes wrong. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when creating a service agreement:
- Make the service agreement simple for your customers to understand
- Keep the agreement fair and make sure it benefits both parties
- Create packages that will allow you to extend a service agreement over a year or a season
Be On Time for Service Calls
Being on time is critical for any service business. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a minute, could you afford to take time off from work, for a day or even a couple hours, to allow a service technician access to your house? Most cannot and it could mean they are really paying double for your services when considering the lost time in wages. Having a solid dispatch and mapping system will allow you to remain on time and keep your customers coming back.
Keeping Past Records of Your Customers
There is nothing worse than when a customer has to repeat information or provide the service tech with details from a previous visit. Keeping records on your customer’s accounts for at least 5 years will benefit you in many ways. One of the most important is that account information can be extremely useful to your technicians while on-site. If they know what was done in the past, to expect a certain result, or know not to try a certain technique your clients will see that your company really has operations under control and will respect your technician’s advice. When your clients trust your company they will trust your professional opinion on how to best complete a project.
Providing Free Tips & DIY Materials
Sometimes your customers just want to understand how or why you go about a project the way you do simply for their own curiosity. When a plumber comes to my house I make a point to find out what’s going on even though I know I’m not skilled enough to perform the task myself. Provide “do it yourself” articles on your company blog to answer basic inquiries that satisfy your customers questions and present yourself as a knowledgeable industry leader. Don’t forget to have a call to action to convert them into a lead!
Try and Be Accessible to Your Customers 24/7
You should try and be assessable 24/7 even if you don’t answer your phone. When something happens you need to make sure your customers know there is always a line of communication open. Make sure your website has a customer login portal where customers or potential customers can request service or have the information to contact you in the off-hours.
Here are some ways to be accessible:
- Have an emergency email address like: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Have a customer portal
- Have a landing page dedicated to Emergency help on your site
- Have an off hours dispatcher
Allow for Company Transparency
There is no better way to create a loyal customer base than to be transparent about your company. If a customer or potential asks you a question the best thing you can do is be honest. With the internet and company reviews (both good and bad) accessible to almost everyone anything you say can be cross checked online. Don’t take for granted how much research people do on a company, a problem, or a solution before actually handing over cash to start a job with you. Train your technicians on the best ways to handle objections or tough questions that may be asked by customers and show they how to avoid making the company look bad or misinformed.
Knowing When to Say No to a Customer
It’s tough to say no to a client especially in a down economy. However when the job is too tough or beyond your skill set it’s better to be upfront and honest with your client and recommend a few people that can get the job done right than for you to attempt and perform poorly. This will allow you to become a trusted advisor and when the client has more work they will defiantly come back to you with questions or referrals.
These 7 tips will not only make for a better service company but will continue to generate revenue through your customer loyalty.
You can read more posts about marketing service businesses by Darion Miller at the Service Coach Blog or follow @theservicecoach on Twitter. You can download his free Service Marketing Playbook.