Your annual maintenance customers have built-in interaction with you at least six times a year, corresponding to the two annual tune-ups. That’s not enough, and don’t forget about the customers who aren’t in the club. To retain a customer for life, you must build a relationship. Don’t let them forget about you. This is where you earn the right to offer more value and more reasons to stay loyal to your company. If your customers forget they had a “prepaid visit” coming, you don’t have a relationship. Here are seven ways to stay in touch and get a better ROR (Return On Relationship).
There has never been a better time to connect with your customers one-on-one. With the social media options available, there’s no excuse not to. Social media platforms are designed to be a forum, not a one-way conversation. The benefit comes from the interaction, so you must post content that will increase audience engagement. Post once a day and be sure to follow the 80/20 rule: entertain 80%, promote 20%.
Email, AKA Email Marketing
I recommend you send a mass email to customers once a month. You can add a few more per year when sending out tune-up reminders. It’s ok to send additional, individual, emails to communicate with your customers for other reasons. The mass email should contain 80% relevant, timely entertainment, and 20% selling and educating about heating and cooling. (link to how to build an email list)
Referral Reward Program
Aside from the obvious benefits like new customers and retention, a referral program is a great excuse to stay in touch with your customers. Schedule regular communication like a quarterly statement. This can be in the form of a letter stating how many people they have referred and how much money they’ve earned so far. This is a two-for-one effort because it is communication AND it reminds them to stay engaged in the program. Managing a program like this is easy if you know someone with MAD Excel skills.
Thank You Card
We’ve all done happy checks but to really make an impression, mail a hand-written thank you card. This gets your logo into the home again and if it includes a BOGO sandwich gift card (partner with a local business), they might hang on to it for a while. Or include a lottery ticket and say, “we’re lucky to have you as a customer”.
Print is in again! The home service industry is one with customers who still read printed material, maybe it’s the age bracket. Your newsletter, sent through old fashioned mail, can be as small as one page and as infrequent as every six months. This is just another way to get your brand into the home and remind them they have a preferred HVAC company. Remember - 80% entertainment, 20% selling. Even with a monthly email blast, you should also mail a printed newsletter.
Invite them into your home. An annual open house is a wonderful way to say thank you to your customers. You want to put a face (location) to your name. Show off your facility and staff. A lot goes into planning a successful open house. When you get customers to your business, it’s a WIN. [organize an open house]
Invite customers in to share their feedback in a casual round table discussion. It takes a bit of strategic planning to host a successful focus group, but you can gain interesting insight.
Since 2009, Wendy has been developing marketing strategies to help residential HVAC companies gain and retain customers. Wendy Burrell is Founder of HVAC Profit Vault, a library of done-for-you HVAC marketing, social media, news letters. Contact [email protected] and visit www.HVACprofitVault.com