Customer Communication - Part 1
Set Yourself Up To Grow ReferralsStan Bastek, Director of Marketing and Sales Development
Communication is a critical part of the customer experience. Too much and you can leave a customer feeling annoyed or overwhelmed; not enough and you risk missing out on key closing opportunities or insights to help you improve your sales process. Communication is a critical part of the sales process, from homeowner needs assessment, to the pitch, through product selection and estimating, scheduling and installation, and wrapping up with customer feedback and collection. Each touchpoint offers opportunities to enhance or build a relationship – or slip up and irritate a customer.
From numerous conversations with contractors over the past ten years, I’ve found there are tactics that consistently help build relationships with customers, to either assist in improving job close rate, or longer term, help build business through lead generation. Below are some suggestions to help you develop processes to improve communication and build your business.
Manage And Track Customer Information
The first and most fundamental starting point is to gather customer information and to keep pertinent data that will help guide your long-term follow up efforts. Many business owners assume that they have to invest heavily in CRM or email marketing software that will eat into their profits; smaller business owners often overlook customer database tools because they do not have the administrative help or expertise to use them. There are many FREE or very affordable tools for cataloging customer information, specifically designed to help small to mid-size businesses keep track of their customers. Whether it’s CRM, project management software, or even a simple a sharable customer spreadsheet, make it your first priority to convert your paper trail of customer documents into a living history of your existing relationships that can be leveraged for email, text, physical mail, or phone follow up opportunities in the future. Moreover, if you own a company that provides multiple services such as roofing, siding, windows, gutters, and more, there might not be a better lead than someone that has already used you for another service.
Post-Job: Solicit Formal Feedback
Be bold in your request for feedback on how your team performed their job. Often, customers only want to tell you about their experience when you either far exceeded or failed to meet their expectations. Middle of the road rarely results in a strong desire to fill out a survey or answer an email request for feedback. Knowing that means that your company goal should be to exceed all customer expectations of customer service, quality work, and clear communication. Compel your customers to rave about your company, then go ask them to do it! You can approach formal feedback requests in many ways:
- Personal phone calls with a pre-drafted script
- Personal visit to their home with a pre-drafted checklist to grade your company’s performance.
- Use this visit to get a photo of the owner in front of their reroofed home, or ask them to record a quick video testimonial from your mobile device that you can post socially or on your web site. Then ask them to share it on their own social media page.
- Email request for feedback
- Google Forms - Use Google Forms to create a fixed set of questions and send it out to each customer to track questions that are important to you
- Mail surveys to customers with copies of end of job paperwork
Whatever route you take, always ask customers who have given you positive feedback to visit your Google listing, Facebook Page, and any other relevant rating sites that are important to your marketing efforts.
Small communication efforts are a low-cost, easy way to help set your business up for continued success. Whether it’s a little up-front work, setting up a process so that you can manage customer communication, to following up and capturing that positive feedback, you have opportunities to build your business with just a little time and planning.
About The Author
Stanley Bastek is the Director of Marketing & Sales Development with Atlas Roofing Corporation. In this role, Stanley leads a dynamic team of professionals providing all aspects of marketing support, training, and sales development tools to both customers and a growing sales force. A big believer in selling on value, Stanley is constantly looking for ways to help contractors differentiate themselves in a commoditized market. Part of his mission in the industry is giving contracting business training and technology tools to be more successful sales organizations, in addition to being great installers. This comes from a belief that both construction trades and sales are admirable and worthy professions that have lots of crossover in today’s home improvement industry.
Stanley holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Michigan and an MBA degree from Shorter University. Stanley has more than 10 years of marketing and sales management experience. He is passionate about the ever-changing and expanding possibilities within the home improvement industry as contractors and suppliers become more technologically sophisticated and homeowner needs evolve. To contact Stanley, please email SBastek@AtlasRoofing.com.