When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to think of winning new customers as your main priority, but it’s your existing customers who keep you afloat. Finding and charming new clients is costly and time-consuming – your existing customer base is already there. In addition to this, if someone who has hired or engaged you several times recommends you, this carries more weight that someone who has used your services once.
No-one’s saying don’t chase new business, but to retain the ones you already have first. Here’s seven ways you can do just that.
Provide a great service every time…..
If you don’t give an excellent service every time a customer engages you, you may lose them. You should, of course, aim to get things right every time and on the occasions when you can’t fix something straight away, you must keep the customer reassured and in the loop.
As well as this, you should conduct yourself well, make sure all correspondence is formal and polite. Try to build up a rapport from the get-go and return emails and calls as quickly as possible.
Invest in after-sale support……
Too many people are hung up on getting the business that once the job is done, they forget all about the customer. Call or email the client a week, or a month, after the job is finished to see if all’s well and if there’s anything else they need.
Look after your customers’ details……
It’s amazing how many tradesmen neglect to do this! You should have a contacts book with all of your clients’ details – old and new – in. You need their contact details, obviously – name, address, numbers, email and so on – but you also need to record what products or services they bought.
It’s also a good idea to include any feedback they gave you, as well as preferences and particular needs. If someone has mobility issues or very small children, for example, you may need to tailor your service a bit or go an extra mile or two.
You can also use this information to send out targeted mailshots and special offers to your client base.
Stay in contact…..
This doesn’t mean constant sales pitches, though. It can be information on changes to the local water supply that could affect the boiler you installed, or news about new developments in your industry.
Add a special touch…..
That young family you just fitted a water-softener for? Give the kids a bottle of posh bubble bath to have some extra-bubbly fun with. You could also send out thank-you cards or vouchers.
Raise your local profile……
If people know your name and your face, they’re more likely to use your services. Volunteer to get in the sponge-stocks at the local school fete, join a trade body, get waxed; anything that gets you noticed is worth doing.
Keep your online profile up to date…..
You need to use your online presence smartly. Set up a forum on your website and invite customers onto it, link your website to those of any corporate clients you may have and make sure you have a lively Facebook and Twitter game going on.
Go get more business with these tips!