Don’t be the guy who doesn’t retain customers.
By Brant Shiefler
Don’t be that guy . . . the one while considering his financial future fails to notice the money he walks past each and every day. He doesn’t bother to pick up the $50s or $100s lying on the ground because he rarely even notices them.
Add it all up, and over the years he’s squandered enough money for that new piece of equipment he’s still contemplating paying for right now.
So, what’s the deal?
It’s easy to see another man’s blind spot, but always tricky to notice our own. The short-sightedness I refer to relates to repeat business and customer retention. Specifically, you don’t have to leave future business to chance. You can influence it.
There are everyday things you can do to stop walking past money on the ground as you seek that next job. Here are some ways you can take control and influence repeat business and customer retention. The good news is every water well contractor can do this regardless of their location or budget.
But First, a Real Story
I live in a new community with more than 50 homes built over the last three years. We’re all on private wells. Most of us are either city slickers or suburbanites with little experience relating to water well systems. While I grew up on a well, my prior knowledge of how things worked was turning a faucet handle when I wanted water.
Drilling more than 50 wells is a nice contract for any firm, and the work for my community was split between two full-service contractors that offer additional services beyond drilling.
But here is the weird thing about it. I have never heard from the company that drilled my well, and they obviously have my address. That’s a wasted opportunity when you multiply my experience by the number of homes they visit every year. It adds up to lots of dollars blowing around on the ground.
Don’t Assume Your Customers Will Remember You
Back to my example. Many of us had questions that first winter. Obviously, we knew precautions should be taken, but what? Some people called entirely different water well companies for advice or heat tape installation at the well. Another neighbor wanted softer water and chose a $10,000 water filtration system installed by yet another company.
I realize not every contractor wants to mess with service work or water filtration, but many do. Do you want that past customer calling a different company next time they have a need? Take an easy step today to get that phone call tomorrow.
Why Do They Forget You?
Ignorance of your other services or your name are two reasons you may lose repeat business from past customers—if you don’t stay in front of them. But your customers also relocate for work and upgrade to a bigger house, while some can be part of the wave of baby boomers downsizing.
These are other reasons to imprint your company’s contact info at the home itself when you are there. If there is no sign you have serviced that well in the past, why should you expect to get a call in the future?
Leave Behind Information and Check In
Here are some little things that become big things when you do them repeatedly for years. When you look at the cost of the well services you’ll provide, these become no-brainers as they are easy to justify.
- Company stickers: One of the simplest things you can do is attach a company sticker with your company info on the equipment itself. Stick it on the expansion tank or get creative depending upon your area and typical well setup. Worst case, you can even stick it on the breaker box! Just put it somewhere it can be found for years to come when they need a reminder.
- Magnets: These are cheap and easy, and most people put them to immediate use. Your magnet might end up in the kitchen or on the garage refrigerator. This is an easy item to order. Just remember that when that customer moves, the magnet won’t stay behind.
The opportunities are really endless when it comes to giving customers a free leave-behind gift so they remember who to call next time. And any number of these can be created at a low cost.
- Hats: A great option is hats due to easy sizing and a low cost. You can put your company name and logo on it and embed your company into the customer’s memory. Hats can stick around for years. How long have you owned some of yours? Exactly! That’s cheap advertising to secure more future and repeat business. Plus, when they wear it to the grocery store or Lowe’s, they spread awareness for you there as well.
- Bottle opener: This is another low-cost idea that is probably associated with their favorite pastime shared among other potential customers. Plus, it’s not something they are given every day, and it won’t wear out. You can have these engraved for a pretty low cost. Customers won’t toss out items like this.
- Water bottles: Even if they don’t drink anything that requires a bottle opener, they must drink water. You now see reusable water bottles everywhere, and water is your thing! Water bottles attend nearly every sporting event, and moms carry them around town and to the gym.
They are very low cost and can easily display your company info. Why not give customers a choice between the bottle opener and water bottle, and quickly learn which one is more popular before you restock? Easy stuff here.
Are There Any Other Options?
If you don’t want to spring for a water bottle or hat, this next idea leaves no room for excuses. Next time you’re sending an invoice, collect the customer’s email address. This is so easy, yet often overlooked. Just ask, “What is a good email address to have on file?” Even if you’re a paper-based office, write down their email for future use.
Put customers on a schedule of at least one email per quarter to stay in front of them. In my case, I would have loved to receive an email sharing some helpful well tips before winter came. Outside of tips, you can wish them Merry Christmas or a Happy 4th of July. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to stay top of mind.
Best of all, you can explain other services you offer in these messages, so they don’t turn to Google and go elsewhere. Doing so will help you get the phone call. I realize you get calls for repeat business now. But if you’re not following these tips, how many calls are you not getting?
So, Will You Pick Up the $50s and $100s?
These tips are intended to get you thinking. What are some promotional items your customers might enjoy, and how can you stay in front of them to ensure they not only remember you . . . but the next homeowner knows who to call as well?
This isn’t a sales pitch by me because my company, AutomaticOutreach.com, doesn’t sell promotional items. My focus is helping businesses “show up on Google” and increase their online reviews. However, I know promotional products are a valuable asset well contractors can use to impact customer retention and future earnings. I hope you take it to heart.
Want to explore this strategy and need help? Below is a company I know and trust personally. They help small businesses create products like I mentioned. Get in touch and receive a free idea list of the most popular items used today and their costs. The firm has put a special list together just for well contractors at my request. Go to www.SquigglyMarketing.com/well-drilling and start picking up those dollars.
Brant Shiefler is a well owner in North Carolina, and the founder of Automatic Outreach, a company that has helped small businesses across America grow through local online marketing. Email him today at email@example.com for the free “3 Simple Steps” review sheet mentioned in this article to help you get more customer reviews. Learn more about Automatic Outreach.