By Patricia Bonacorda
Regardless of where your plumbing company is located, it’s probably not the only game in town. Just because a customer hires you to perform repairs once is no guarantee that he or she will hire you again in the future. That’s true even if you deliver service of the utmost quality. When the need for a plumber arises again, it’s all too easy for customers to forget the name of your business and to choose a different company at random.
Some plumbing business owners worry more about attracting new customers than about retaining existing ones, but that’s a big mistake. The fact is that it costs a lot less to keep current customers than it does to earn new ones. By ensuring that customers remember your company in the future, you’ll continue to earn their business. What’s even better is that when customers are able to easily recall the name of your company and are happy with the service you provide, they are more likely to refer people to you as well.
With so much competition out there, how can you make customers remember your plumbing company in the future? A few prime examples include the following:
Make Customers Feel Important
Building and nurturing relationships with existing customers increases the odds that they’ll hire your company again in the future. A great way to do this is by making customers feel special and important. A simple thank-you card can go a long way. Another option is to occasionally send special offers via regular mail or email. When customers know they’ll get a special discount by hiring you again, they’re a lot likelier to do so.
Use Promotional Items
People love getting stuff for free, so why not hand out promotional pens, notepads, magnets or other items after completing service calls? Promotional items can be ordered in bulk, which usually makes them affordable. With your company’s name, number and other contact information emblazoned on each item, people will be reminded of your plumbing business and know precisely who to call the next time they need help with a clog or other plumbing problem.
Follow Up after Completing a Job
Very few plumbing companies take the time to follow up with their customers to ensure that the work was done to their satisfaction, so this is a great way to stand apart from the crowd. By contacting your customers within a day or two of completing the work, you’ll show them that you really care. Most people are pleasantly surprised by such efforts, so the name of your business is much more likely to stay in their minds in the future.
Develop Strong Relationships
Rather than treating customers as a once-off proposition, make a point to get to know them to establish long-term relationships. Customer management software can really come in handy by allowing you to keep notes about each customer’s previous jobs and details about their homes. Simply making a point of referring to your customers by name as often as possible can have an enormous beneficial impact.
Send Helpful Newsletters
As the owner of a plumbing company, you undoubtedly know all kinds of tricks and tips that your existing customers will find useful. Why not share them by sending out newsletters on occasion? Whether you send the newsletters on a monthly or quarterly basis, they will help to keep your business in customers’ minds. They can be sent via direct mail or email. In the case of the email, be sure your customers opt in first.
Send Holiday Greetings
Very few plumbing companies bother to send greetings around the holidays. Other times, they only send cards to their biggest customers. Stand out among the competition by sending holiday greetings to as many existing customers as possible. Just remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays, so keep the greetings somewhat generic in nature.
Make Effective Use of Social Media
You may have written off using social media because you don’t think anyone would follow a plumbing company on a site like Facebook. But if you give people a reason to do so, many of them will. Offer incentives to customers who follow your business on Facebook, and periodically post friendly updates to remind people that you’re available to help. The return on the minimal amount of time and effort needed to be active on social media can be considerable.
Don’t fall into the trap of exclusively focusing your marketing efforts on new customers. Your current customers are very valuable to you, so take steps to remind them of your plumbing business. You’re sure to be pleasantly surprised by the payoff.
Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing a plumbing and HVAC Company that has been in business since 1964. Spartan Plumbing assists both residential and commercial customers all throughout the Washington DC Region.