- On 20/12/2019
Tradies often focus on winning jobs and nothing else, but this isn’t an effective way to run a business. Customer communications don’t end when you’ve made the sale — you must follow up with clients. In fact, neglecting existing customers can close the window on revenue-boosting and reputation marketing opportunities.
To help you build stronger customer relationships, we’ve provided some tips on effectively following up after a sale.
Send thank you letters
If you want to leave a good impression on your clients, sending thank you notes goes a long way. Not only is the practice rare among tradies, but it also shows your company is committed to building positive working relationships.
Generally, thank you letters should be sent right after the client enlists your services and pays your invoice. Email is the preferred method of delivery, but sending a card can be a nice touch. The letter should be concise and sincere, and must include your signature and contact details.
Check-in on customers
Calling clients a week or two after the sale is ideal for ensuring the job is on track. Ask them if they’re happy with your service or if they have concerns they need to raise with your tradies. Clients may have second thoughts about installing marble kitchen countertops, for example. Handling these issues as they come up means you won’t have to deal with massive problems down the line.
You should also give status updates via email or phone call, especially if the client is out of town. Make your status updates are brief and to the point. Report on what your tradies completed, timelines, supply costs, and other notable issues customers ought to know about.
These updates can be given weekly or monthly (for longer projects). Just don’t overdo it! There’s a fine line between being attentive and annoying.
Create open lines of communication
When customers need information from your business, they must be able to easily and quickly get it. That’s why you need to offer multiple contact methods, such as phone calls, emails, and chat support. Doing this will ensure customers can always reach you anywhere, anytime. Online communication apps like Microsoft Teams even let you hold webinars or troubleshoot issues remotely with clients if you’re not in town.
Beyond direct communications, you can use newsletters, social media, and website content to connect with clients. These channels are great for sharing guides, articles, and educational videos that answer common customer queries. Posting useful information regularly also cements your business as a leading authority in the industry and builds trust with customers.
Plan for the second sale
While winning new jobs as a tradie is important, talking to existing clients and focusing on the second sale is just as important. For one, offering additional services allows you to build a long-term relationship with and provide more value to current customers. Secondly, it’s much easier to sell to existing clients whom you’ve been working closely with for several weeks.
Contacting customers regularly will help you understand their needs and give you ideas about complementary services you can provide. For instance, after a standard roof maintenance job, you can recommend shingles upgrades to increase curb appeal and property value.
However, don’t aggressively push for additional services — doing so can risk damaging your relationship with existing customers. Instead, identify your clients’ actual goals and determine whether they have a genuine need for extra services. If they do, pitch the benefits of your services and provide a quote so clients can make an informed decision.
Reviews have the power to influence customer decisions. After all, dozens of positive reviews on your website or an online listing page can significantly strengthen your company’s credibility.
To get these reviews, you must first be listed on common review platforms like Google listings, Facebook, and hipages. It’s also important that the review process is as simple as possible – don’t ask too many questions. Three to five survey questions, a rating system, and a comment box for more detailed reviews should be enough.
The best time to ask for a review is after you’ve completed the job while the customers’ opinions are still fresh. You can request for reviews via email or, better yet, have customers make a review on the spot using a mobile device.
Make sure to respond to reviews so customers know their input is heard. Also, if you get negative reviews, resist the urge to delete them. You should address them directly and offer services to correct the issue. This is a valuable opportunity to build customer confidence in your brand.
Ask for referrals
When a happy customer recommends your business to a friend or colleague, it’s much easier to make a sale. The challenge is: how do you ask for referrals?
The first step is to produce noticeable positive results for your clients, so they’re likely to spread the word about your business. You want to give customers enough time to evaluate your work before asking for a referral. This could take a week or even a month after a job is finished.
Then, once you’ve created a referral opportunity, approach them via phone call, email, or in-person. Take a friendly tone and be specific so the referrer is more open to hearing your request. For instance, it can be as straightforward as asking, “Hey Darren, do you have any mates that want their bathroom redone?” You can also sweeten the deal by offering gift cards or discounts on the next job in exchange for a referral.
Mastering the art of the customer follow-up can pay tremendous dividends for your trade business. However, keep in mind that a strong follow-up is only half the equation. The other half is providing unparalleled service, and advanced job management software like WorkBuddy helps you do just that. From job scheduling to invoicing, WorkBuddy is the app of choice for Aussie tradies. Call us today or request a free demo to learn more.