Let’s Get Personal: 3 Ways to Grow Your Customer Relationships

by

Steve Raines
Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Office
January 17, 2019
/
2
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. Take Note of Some Unique Details — Identify a few personal things that stand out about the customer.
  2. Make Time to Reach Out — A handwritten letter or brief note on a quote to the customer really stands out.
  3. Personalize the Experience — Recording info about the customer means you and everyone in your company can develop a more personal interaction.

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

Here’s how to make it happen.

Seek Out What Makes the Customer Unique

When you’re in the customer’s home, identify a few personal things that stand out. Maybe it’s a pet’s name, or a 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 in which our mailboxes are stuffed with credit card offers and flyers for politicians, a personal letter really stands out. A two- or three-sentence thank you card will leave a lasting impression on a customer. Personalizing it with the information you have collected makes it even 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 Coco, you might add a note with a proposal that says something like, “I know Coco would like me to visit again, so let me know if there is a good time for me to come by.”

Adding details about the individual allows for a friendlier and more personal conversation when a customer calls.

Build the Relationship Across Your Company

Having a system that records information about the history of work allows your scheduler to develop a more personal interaction, and adding details about the individual 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 our friend Coco, the owner’s dog, a tech might show up and say, “Oh, this must be Coco. I’ve been wanting to meet her since we heard about her back at the shop!”

In addition to these methods, it’s also essential to use the right tool for the job. Handwritten notes on a job work fine the first time, but they don’t provide long-term value. You’ll want your 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. Learn more about how Pointman PACT helps you follow up on this information — and know what to ask in the first place.


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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

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