How To Grow Customer Relationship, So You Can Grow Your Business

by

Lauren Pszonak
May 1, 2018
/
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. Be Personal - Handwritten notes, and asking about the customer’s dog can go a long way. Be interested in them, not just their money.
  2. Develop Relationships Across Your Company - Your technician shouldn’t be the only person who interacts with the customer. Your dispatcher can be as kind and excited to talk with them as the technician is.
  3. Use the Right Tools - Make sure your team is equipped to keep the relationship strong even when they only do yearly maintenance.

Reaching out to a customer after a job to thank them for the opportunity is more than just good manners – it's a way to build a relationship. Demonstrating to a customer that you listen is one of the key ways you'll earn their respect, trust, and ultimately their long-term business. Combining these two things is a powerful way to build rapport with your customers and build loyalty and referrals. Here's how.

Seek out what makes the customer unique

When you're in the customer's home, identify a few personal things about the customer that stands out. Maybe it's a pet's name or their favorite sports team, or a funny interaction you had with the homeowner or their kids. Record this information for later. You don't have to make a big show of this – in fact, it's better if you don't. Just continue the job as normal.

Reach out personally

In an era where our mailboxes are stuffed with credit card offers and flyers for politicians, a personal letter really stands out. Even a two or three sentence thank you card will leave a lasting impression on a customer and personalizing it with the information you have collected makes it more impactful.

You can do the same when you send along a quote to the customer. For example, if you've noted the name of the customer's dog is 'Rex', you might add a note with a proposal that says something like “I know Rex would like me to visit again so let me know what is a good time for me to come by."

Build the relationship across your company

Having a system that records information about the history of work allows your schedule to have a more personal interaction with the customer and adding personal details allows for a friendlier and more personal conversation when a customer calls. It also gives other technicians the opportunity to personalize the customer's experience. Going back to the example of Rex, the owner's dog, a tech might show up and say "Oh, this must be Rex. I love dogs and I've been wanting to meet him since we heard about him back at the shop."

Use the right tool for the job

Handwritten notes on a job work fine for this the first time, but don't provide long-term value. You'll want your CSRs and techs to have access to the information, as well. Instead, record the information in the property or customer information section of your field service software. Pointman offers unlimited custom fields for gathering information about your customers, their properties, and jobs you've done for them.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

Pass Along these Points

There's more where that came from.