We have reached our final article in our installer series, where we will be discussing a solid after-sales strategy. As your business grows it becomes increasingly important to formalise your customer retention and management processes. Your current customers are your low-hanging fruit for repeat business, and could be your highest converting, new business generating channel. It is in your best interest to keep your customers happy and make sure that you are foremost in their minds, especially for word-of-mouth marketing. It might sound daunting, and you may even think it will create more work for you – but in reality it is quite simple to implement, as well as maintain, and will make getting new business far less work for you in the long run.
Start using some form of CRM
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool makes it easier to manage all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers, potential customers, and even suppliers. It helps you to improve your business relationships by being more organised and on top of all your customer communications.
The information that you would capture in a CRM system would be client names, their contact details, communication threads between them and you, as well as how you came to get their business. The latter, when looking at all your new business sources, will show you your best converting lead source (where the most new business stems from). It will also make it that much easier to pull mailing lists together to contact your customers in bulk, perhaps filtering a selection of customers who had a particular kind of work done to cross-sell or up-sell another similar type of service. There are a lot of free CRMs out there, if you prefer to try before you make the investment of some paid for software, such as HubSpot CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Zoho CRM, just to name a few. However, even a simple spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets can go a long way to being a useful CRM tool.
Leverage your current customers for referrals
Your current customers, if they are happy ones (which we are sure they are!), are primed for being your best marketing and new business channel. Word-of-mouth is the most popular channel for sharing, according to the Pew Research Center, as 72% of people get their news from friends and family. It is also a boon to small businesses as 61% of people have recommended a local business to someone they know by word-of-mouth (according to BrightLocal).
In fact, there are a number of ways that you can support this and they are easy to do:
- Make it known to your customers that you have a social presence such as an Instagram or Facebook account, this will encourage them to follow you and hopefully share your posts to their own news feeds. Exposure is everything, and social media is excellent for a budding business.
- Encourage your customers to share their good experiences by rating your service on your Facebook Page, on your Google Business page, or on consumer review platforms like Hello Peter (yes, it’s not only for complaints but compliments too!).
- Reach out to customers from jobs that you are proud of and request testimonials that you can use in your marketing materials. These really stand out on social media as well.
- Offer an incentive for referrals. This is word-of-mouth at its best, not only is it a huge compliment to your business but it is also very likely to convert. Offer your current clients some form of an incentive program, such as a percentage off their next job or a cash rebate if they refer someone to you. You can even come up with a competition; get creative and your customers will love you for it.
Develop an after-sales strategy
You’ve landed the customer, provided an impeccable service… now what? Your customers should now flow into your developed after-sales strategy; a way to keep them interested in what you’re up to and, most of all, keep your business front of mind. This should be a seamless part of the way you conduct business, and it can even be automated if you use a CRM.
Follow up on your customers a few days or weeks after the job has been completed. You can do this via email (which can be automated in your CRM), via SMS (although this is less personal), or give them a call. Ask your customers if they are still happy with your services rendered, and if there is anything they would like to add that might have made their experience better. This is a great opportunity to get to know your client, leave a lasting impression, and fine-tune your service.
Use this opportunity to also remind them of your social platforms (eg. follow me on Facebook for specials, etc.) and to rate your service if possible. This is also a good time to introduce your incentivisation program for referrals if you decide to have one. If you have valuable content or are a wiz with words, write up a monthly or quarterly newsletter and share news and happy customer stories with your customers.
All these strategies will help you to maintain good relationships with your existing customers while also winning new ones in the process. It’s all about honest engagements, so get to know your customers and let them know that they are playing an integral role in the building of your business.