What's your recommendation rate with your customers?
4 tips for building customer relationships that lastAugust 21st, 2019 by
Every customer is important, but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that your business has an ideal customer. If you own a remodeling firm, for example, your ideal customer is likely a homeowner who hires your company for multiple jobs over the course of several years.
They first hire you, for example, to renovate their guest bathroom. They’re thrilled with the work, so a year later, they contact your company again to have you remodel their master suite.
Five years down the line, the same homeowner hires your firm for a complete kitchen remodel. Over the course of a decade, this homeowner will likely hire your company many more times as they slowly remodel their entire house.
That’s a lot of revenue from just one client. What makes this particular customer a treasure is that your company is their remodeling firm—they’re one of your biggest fans. You’ve done all the renovating and updating of their house, and when friends, family members, or neighbors ask for contractor recommendations, your client always mentions your name.
This homeowner is the definition of a customer for life, and they’re precisely the type of client you want to attract and retain over the years.
Follow these our guidelines below to create your own network of loyal clients, and then download our whitepaper for more information and actionable advice on developing and managing relationships with your customers.
Creating customers for life
It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of communication when it comes to customer satisfaction. A lot of stress can be alleviated simply by prioritizing a quick phone call, email, or text message.
In fact, you might be surprised at how flexible and easygoing many homeowners are in the face of project hiccups as long as you let them know exactly what’s going on—and do so promptly.
Look for ways to make communication with your clients easier. Customer relationship management (CRM) software platforms often support automated message cadences that are dependent on the various steps of a project.
Here’s what a sample client message schedule might look for an average home improvement contractor:
- Prospect meeting/conversation: Thank you message
- Signed contract submitted: Confirmation and thank you message
- Materials and/or products ordered: Update message with order summary
- Materials and/or products arrived: Update message with detailed next steps
- Job upcoming: Text message and/or email with time, date, and location of job
- Job finished: Feedback request
Every company will have a slightly different approach to customer communication, but the key is to proactively ensure that your clients have all the information they need as the project moves forward.
2. Focus on customer experience.
Your company most likely has quite a few competitors in your market. To stand out in the crowd, you’ll need to go beyond simply providing good work or good customer service.
Instead, take a close look at the overall experience customers have with your company.
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Is your company contact information simple to find?
- When customers call your company, can they immediately speak to a person? How often does your staff check (and return) voicemail messages?
- What are your business hours? Do they meet the needs of your target customers?
- What is the process for handing a client off to another department? Do your team members have a way to keep and share notes on customer accounts?
- How are payments handled? Can clients pay invoices online?
Providing a noteworthy customer experience involves far more than making sure the phones are answered politely—place your target client at the center of every business-related decision you make.
As long as your company remains customer centered and puts time and effort into creating efficient, simple processes, your customers won’t find reasons to hire your competitor.
3. Gather important data with customer satisfaction surveys.
When you proactively survey your customers, you’re accomplishing two goals:
- You’re gathering vital information that you can use to refine company processes, tailor products and services, and advance your business as a whole.
- You’re showing each customer that you genuinely care about their experience and want to know how you can better meet their needs and expectations.
Today’s consumers see advertisements everywhere they turn, so contacting your clients with a request for feedback instead of a push to make a purchase sets your company apart from the crowd.
4. Pay attention to the numbers.
Business performance metrics don’t have to end at revenue and profitability statistics—you can also measure customer satisfaction.
Here are three important metrics to track:
- LTR (Likely To Recommend): This value represents the percentage of customers who would recommend your company to a friend or family member.
- PREA (Positive Review Efficiency Average): To get this value, divide the number of positive reviews your company obtains by the number of jobs your team completes. Aim for a high percentage—at least 60 percent or above.
- NPS (Net Promoter Score): Knowing this value depends on you understanding who loves your company and who doesn’t. Subtract the percentage of people who wouldn’t recommend your company (also known as detractors) from the percentage of people who actively recommend your company (these are your promoters). The result is your NPS.
Reliable, objective customer satisfaction data can only be gathered through independent, third-party surveys of your customers. You’ll have a very difficult (if not altogether impossible) time calculating the metrics above without the information you’ll obtain via customer satisfaction surveying.
Gathering important data
Work with an expert to get the data you need, and then calculate customer satisfaction metrics on a monthly basis. The results may not always align with what you hope or expect to see, but once you know where your company stands, you can take immediate action to improve.