Fostering long-lasting relationships with clients is key to a successful trades business. It increases sales, strengthens your brand, and reduces client turnovers that lead to lost revenue. In fact, studies show that it’s easier and less expensive to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.
For an Australian trades business, building ongoing relationships with clients can be challenging, especially after a job is done. So to help you maintain a strong customer base, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks you can use with your clients.
Follow up at the right time
Maintaining contact with clients is key to repeat business, so don’t be afraid to follow up. You should send a follow-up message as soon as you’ve quoted clients on a job and thank them for choosing you. Once you’ve completed a job, ask clients how satisfied they were with your service. Also, don’t forget about milestones, birthdays, and other key dates. If you’ve been working with customers for years, this is a great opportunity to promote new services to meet their needs.
Email automation tools streamline the follow-up process if you’re dealing with dozens of customers. These tools can be programmed to send personalised automated messages upon quoting or completing a job. You can even develop a follow-up schedule and map out exactly when to send emails and updates to clients. This way, if clients experience issues in the future, they’re more likely to turn to someone who’s made the effort to keep in touch.
Communicate on different channels
Email is an effective platform for following up with clients, but it’s not always the best solution for tradies. Some clients may overlook your emails because their inbox is full, while others prefer getting updates through other platforms. To maintain communications with clients, you need to consider different strategies like:
- Posting updates and photos on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram
- Messaging clients directly through SMS or their preferred messaging apps
- Inviting and meeting clients in trade shows and other in-person opportunities
- Calling clients to remind them of things like routine site inspections and maintenance
- Using your website or customer portal to talk directly with customers
Following up through these channels keeps your business in the minds of your existing customers. However, be careful about overwhelming your customers with follow-ups. Review how your clients are responding to your follow-ups and know when to slow down so you don’t come across as pushy. You can also look through your marketing analytics and focus on communication channels that tend to get more responses.
Ask for feedback
Clients value tradies who listen to their concerns and act on them, so ask for feedback after every job. Remember, any complaints, ideas, or other issues clients share with you is a potential opportunity to foster long-lasting relationships. For instance, if customers complain about tradies arriving late, your solution may be to ask workers to arrive five minutes early. Or, it could be to provide workers with job management apps that optimise work schedules and travel routes.
Whatever your strategy is, tell customers exactly what you’re going to do to address your mistakes. Let them know how you’ll train workers and roll out the job management apps, and when they can expect to see results. This kind of transparency shows how much you value your clients’ opinions and what you’ll do to make them happy.
Provide helpful resources
Giving helpful information and advice helps you build a steady relationship with your clients. Something as simple as posting blog articles on home decoration and proper house maintenance can set you apart from other tradies. You can even take it a step further with how-to videos, podcasts, and educational webinars. By doing this, previous clients are more likely to trust your brand and seek your help for future projects.
Use loyalty and referral programs
There’s a good chance your customers will stick with your business if they know there’s something in it for them. That’s why successful trades businesses usually create loyalty reward programs to keep clients coming back. For example, if you’ve completed a huge construction project for a client, consider offering a discount on maintenance and future jobs down the line.
Referral incentives are another way of maintaining customer relationships — as well as creating new ones. These allow your current clients to receive rewards in exchange for spreading the word about your trades business. The rewards could be anything from monetary compensation to discounted repair services. In any case, clients are more eager to stick with your business when you reward and value them for their continued loyalty.
Though one thing you should keep in mind is that to get these referrals you must deliver high-quality service. Job management platforms like WorkBuddy help you do just that. They come with operational dashboards, streamlined quoting and invoicing, and comprehensive job safety and compliance management features. These WorkBuddy features enable your tradies to stay organised, work safely, and exceed clients’ expectations. Book a free demo today to see how WorkBuddy lets you foster ongoing customer relationships.