The “3 Cs” to Tighter Contractor-Customer Relationships
Did you know that loyal customers are more valuable to your HVAC, plumbing, or electrical business than new customers? It’s true! An article that appeared in Entrepreneur stated “even research has shown that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the value of their first purchase.”
Our own proprietary research, examining 100,000 homeowner survey responses over a span of 17 years, revealed that 60% of a contractor’s business comes through repeat customers.
When it comes to building and maintaining a loyal customer base, it takes intentionality and a concrete plan that’s easy to communicate to your team, and easy for them to implement. People can remember things better when you give them memory hooks, so start with these “3 Cs” for tighter contractor-customer relationships.
• Be Creative
If you really want to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market, you’ve got to think outside the box when it comes to wooing your customers. You could have the most experienced staff in your area, but at the end of a service transaction, if the customer isn’t left feeling some kind of emotional connection, they may hire someone else for the job next time.
In today’s world, consumers not only want a quality service and product, they also want an experience that leaves them feeling valued and satisfied. Instead of handing them a branded pen before you leave the worksite, what if you sent them freshly-baked cookies a couple days after you’ve completed the work, when they least expect it? Talk about a creative way to show your appreciation and spur some positive online reviews and social media buzz!
With every customer interaction, your team should express care through engaged or reflective listening, showing empathy, or using positive body language. On every job, have your technicians trained to look for something additional they can do for the customer, over and beyond the specific repair need. Or some simple way to delight. They can shine, clean, remove, trim, organize, inspect, upgrade, retrieve, or tighten something. They can leave a written note of appreciation. They can have a toy bag for kids or a pet bag with treats and toys.
People never forget how you make them feel, so make them feel special and watch their loyalty to your company grow.
• Be Compassionate
When clients feel they’ve gained an emotional connection to your company as a result of a service call that went above and beyond, they’ll remember that next time they need to call on a home service company. If you not only provide a service and give them a resolution to their problem, but also go a step further to really show interest in their unique situation and individuality as a client, there’s a good chance that client is going to turn into a repeat customer.
At the end of the day, consumers want to feel they have been heard and understood, and they want to feel appreciated for their business. Completing the service for them is only half of the consumer experience. Don’t forget the other half, which is showing your appreciation for their business! Simply being compassionate and kind in your disposition with your clients goes a long way.
When customers come to you, it’s because a basic home system has failed. The HVAC system goes out, the plumbing leaks, the power goes out. That likely triggers your customer’s stress and fear mechanisms which means they’re on high alert and likely battling anxiety and insecurity. The best response always, for fear and insecurity, is empathy and reassurance.
Here’s what that looks like practically: “Mrs. Jones, I’m so sorry to hear that your furnace went out last night. It must have been so cold in your house, plus I hear young children in the background and I know how stressful this is for you guys. Rest assured we have one of our most experienced technicians on his way to your home right now, and we’re going to do everything in our power to have you guys nice and toasty tonight.”
Wow! That kind of empathy (I understand what you’re going through) and reassurance (we’re going to do something about this; you’re in good hands!) goes miles and miles in building trust and creating a strong bond with the customer. Your chances of creating a lifelong loyal, enthusiastic customer just went through the roof!
• Be Consistent
When it comes to the customer’s journey with your company, it’s imperative for customer retention that they get the same experience each time they interact with you. And since they may interact with a different CSR or service technician each time, it’s vital that your team’s delivery of the customer experience is a standardized one. In other words, your customer shouldn’t have completely different experiences with, or impressions of, your company, based on which service experts service them. They should expect and receive 5-star, on-point service from every member of your team, when it comes to professionalism, knowledge, courtesy, attitude, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, and craftsmanship. But that only comes about when you are intentional. That’s why customer experience training needs to be a part of the required curriculum for your team, so that each CSR, salesperson, and service technician knows how to answer the phone, transfer a call, present a quote, interact with customers, and handle customer complaints. This will allow customers to feel comfortable with whatever service expert you’re going to send out, which also gives you more scheduling flexibility if they don’t have to have only a certain service professional to their home each time.
Plus, don’t forget consistency in the little things. Like sending a follow-up survey after every interaction with every customer. If you sent a survey the first time you finished a service call for a customer, make sure you send one the fifth time you finish a service call, as well. Every interaction is a unique experience for both customer and technician, and you should put eyes on it best you can.
You should also consistently follow up with every single customer, not just the high-paying ones. Every customer, regardless of the invoice amount, has an equal ability to share their experience with others — either promoting your business or possibly hurting your name if they had an unpleasant interaction. In fact, many of your regular service customers may need an HVAC replacement in the future, moving them into the big-ticket category. It’s critical to consistently delight every customer in a meaningful way.
In the same way you might thrive in the comfort of practicing the same morning routine day after day, consumers also enjoy knowing exactly what to expect when they interact with your company.
See for Yourself!
The professionals at To Your Success have been streamlining the customer care process for 20 years, helping companies create relationship-building moments that inspire brand loyalty. See for yourself how To Your Success helped E. Smith Heating and Air boost customer retention.