How To Remind Customers Of Recurring Inspections
We’ve established that customer retention is easier and cheaper than customer acquisition, right? If you’re not convinced yet, give this article on recurring service calls another read, but the gist of it is that once you’ve convinced someone to hire you, it’s much easier to get them to hire you again than to attract a new customer. Regular check-ups are an ideal way of creating customer loyalty for your electrical business, so we’ll be breaking down how to remind customers of recurring inspections and keep them engaged. Just keep on reading!
Some of the best things about recurring inspections are:
- they’re a good source of reliable recurring income
- they do the advertising for you, reducing the average cost of acquisition per job
- they can be scheduled when it’s more convenient for you (e.g. in the slow season)
If you find yourself needing to convince customers to book recurring inspections, you’re probably familiar with one or both of the next scenarios:
A. You’ve already completed a first service call, where you installed, let’s say, a new panel board in a residential property. You then tell the owner to call you again a year from now so that you can do a general inspection, which will help them remain compliant with the warranty contracts of their appliances.
B. You’ve signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a commercial customer, where recurring inspections are your responsibility and they imply a deadline to protect the customer from any legal liabilities. However, the building manager still needs to book them in themselves.
Whichever one of these scenarios is more familiar to you, the first step is the same for both: make sure you have a smooth process when it comes to scheduling service calls, especially in the case of recurring inspections. Then you can think about how you can effectively keep customers engaged in between these.
Establishing the Process:
If we ask you: “what is the easiest way to schedule recurring inspections”, what is your answer?
If you’re not quite sure, take a look at how you’re scheduling recurring inspections now. Does your admin staff use a notebook or a schedule board to keep track of appointments? Then there is a lot of room for improvement. It’s difficult to schedule technicians using pen and paper these days, especially as more and more companies like Booking.com come onto the scene. Customers expect to simply go on a website and book themselves in, just like ordering a food or reserving a table.
If you’re looking to take the paperless route in order to schedule service calls more efficiently, you should first tick off these tasks:
- Invest in a digital database
We’ve covered the importance of having an HVAC database if that’s the type of field service company you’re managing, but the advice we gave applies to electrical companies or any other speciality. A digital database is the first step towards developing a more efficient service call scheduling process and getting customers to hire you repeatedly.
- Use a digital calendar
Once you have a database, you can keep track of individual customers, the work you’ve done for them in the past, and whether there’s anything important to know in the future. A digital calendar that all admin can access and that shows information in real-time is invaluable to a growing electrical business.
- Automate your customer notifications
If you want to keep customers loyal and spend less time just looking for jobs to do, then automate your customer notifications. It used to be that confirmation messages or emails, schedule changes, and digital service reminders were a nice touch that a couple of tech unicorn companies offered but, nowadays, it’s just what customers expect.
Now that you’ve cleaned up your process, let’s focus on…
Keeping customers engaged in between recurring inspections:
With a clear view of your technicians’ schedules, you can see exactly where everyone should be at any given time. It becomes easy to arrange work orders for maximum efficiency and minimal travel time but this still doesn’t guarantee that customers will remember your name when it’s time to schedule another service call or even scheduling it in the first place, for that matter. Which is why you should:
A recurring service call is a reliable source of income and can be used to populate the slower months with appointments that will keep your techs busy and your cash flow… well, flowing. Make sure that your teams, both on-field and in-office are ready to upsell customers on the concept. This way, homeowners gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing their electrical installations are kept safe over the years and that the manufacturer’s warranty contract is upheld. Not to mention commercial customers who are legally liable if they don’t get their electrical inspections done on time.
The fact of the matter is that your admin is busy and, with so many electrical inspections having to take place on a yearly basis, they often forget to put it down in the calendar for next year. This is how another source of reliable income slips through your fingers. Not to mention what happens if you replace any admin staff: all the pen-and-paper knowledge as well as that specific person’s organizational preferences go out the door with them and whoever comes in their place will have to deal with whatever’s left and start their own system from scratch. Sending out timely service reminders will be the last thing on their mind.
And yet, imagine how big of an opportunity you’re missing out on: the customer gets a call and is made to feel important and remembered. The service you provide can be personalized for them and it’s much easier to prevent an installation or appliance from breaking down in the first place. Or maybe you’d rather like to deal with an angry person calling about how that thing you’ve installed 5 years ago and never looked at again isn’t working anymore and how they expect you to come down immediately and fix it? You know what they say: Prevention is better than cure.
Subscription plans might sound like how you get movies streamed to your TV but the strategy can easily be adapted to your electrical business. Instead of guaranteeing access to a library of content, you can offer customers perks like 24/7 assistance and free installation check-ups.
The former works a lot like selling insurance: the chances that customers will make use of the perk and call you at 3AM are pretty slim, while the latter might sound like you’re getting robbed. But let’s say the cost of a check-up is $100 and there’s no guarantee that the customer will call you again next year. If they’re signed up to your $12.99/month Silver Level Service Plan, however, you’re making at least $129.90 of guaranteed business, alongside staying top-of-mind for whatever electrical work the customer will be tempted to find now that they have an electrician on call.
It’s worth keeping in mind that if you want to make sure you’re upholding your end of the subscription deal, it’s essential to automate at least service reminders, whether through an email service like Mailchimp or by using an electrical business software.
We’ve spoken about how important it is to train technicians for customer service. This way, they’re aware of how important their role is and how they could leverage the relationship they’ve already established with a customer. A recurring inspection is much easier to sell if they throw in a bonus like 25% off the first time or a free install when they purchase their next appliance.
A coupon, whether it’s for a free coffee or a service, can be a cheap way to gain customer loyalty, as well as give you a chance to mention that lucrative subscription plan we’ve mentioned. If you need some extra ideas for your freebie, we have about 10 giveaway examples that will make everyone a repeat customer.
The Takeaway on How to Remind Customers of Recurring Inspections
All in all, scheduling service calls can be an effort when you’re using pen and paper methods or tools that were not designed specifically for electricians. If you want to improve your processes, grow your business and earn customers’ loyalty, you can always take a look at our free infographic. Just click below to download!