Customer Retention: 4 Practical Steps Your Contracting Business Can Take
You can’t expect that good intentions are going to keep your customers coming back. Your business needs a methodical process to retain customers every time. If you have owned a home service company for any length of time, you know you need practical, real-world ways to boost customer retention, and ultimately pump up your bottom line. Try these four steps to achieve an effective, long-term customer retention strategy.
4 Practical Steps to Retain Customers
- Take Time to Develop Your Team’s Interpersonal Skills
Train your team members to communicate effectively with each customer in order to create a rewarding experience. This should include letting customers know exactly what to expect when they schedule service, explaining what you are doing when you are on the job, taking the time to answer questions, and following up with customers after the job is complete to thank them and gather feedback.
Make sure your company culture incorporates a customer-first mindset. Consider short, weekly team meetings to review the last week’s best customer comments and highlighting employees and the things they did that made for an excellent experience. Look at your company’s mission statement and make sure it includes the importance of customer relationships. By quickly addressing any poor customer experiences with your team and also rewarding great customer encounters, you can reinforce a customer-centric culture.
- Develop a Customer Retention Routine
Becoming adept at something requires developing a routine and sticking with it. Whether you want to become a better golfer or master a new computer program, you have to carve out time for regular practice and use your skills in a consistent and repetitive way in order to achieve your goals. The same is true for mastering customer retention. If you don’t build a customer retention routine into your workflow, it’s unlikely you’ll keep as many customers as you should to have a solid business.
Set up a system that allows you to connect with every single customer in a meaningful way on a regular basis. This may mean sending out a handwritten thank-you note and survey invitation within a few days of completing every job — whether it’s the first job or the fifth job you’ve performed for the customer. Consider making a phone call solely to thank the customer for their business, which is very rare. They’ll be expecting another sales pitch, but when you simply communicate a grateful heart, it shows your company wants to build a relationship and truly values its customers.
- Let Them Know You Care
Asking for customer feedback in a survey is great, but in order for a customer to know you care, you have to actually respond to the feedback. Look for an automated program that notifies you in real time of any negative comments you receive in a survey. That lets you respond quickly to any concerns.
When you respond immediately–within the hour–it validates the customer’s concern and lets them know you take it seriously. This neutralizes the situation and their impression of your company, which they may share with everyone they know. Winning a customer may be costly, but when you put your money where your mouth is, it can create a lifelong advocate of your business. That is far more valuable than any advertising you could buy.
Also remember to treat all customers alike. Some companies only focus on high-dollar sales and miss out on the opportunity to develop relationships with customers who may spend less initially. Remember that customers may spend less at the outset, but they still can bring value in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Every customer has the potential to become a devoted fan and brand enthusiast for your company.
- Use the Unexpected to Your Advantage
Customers expect a job well done, but what about thank-you cookies mailed to their home? Sending your customers an unexpected gift creates a warm bond and makes them happy they selected your company. It’s also likely to get your customers talking to their friends and family about their unexpected surprise. So think of ways to reward customers in a fun, unexpected way for trusting you with their home service project.
Get More Tips from the Experts at To Your Success
To Your Success has a proven track record of helping home service companies implement solid customer retention programs that become an integral part of their business model. Download our free e-book, Building the Ultimate Customer Loyalty and Retention Program: A Guide for the Home Services Industry. You’ll discover more practical tips gleaned from our years of experience and learn how to make customer retention automated and effortless on your end while delivering a highly personal experience to every customer.