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Why You’re Not Earning Enough Revenue From Recurring Service Calls?

March 3, 2020 | Read: 9 minutes

Did you know that acquiring a new customer is 5 times more expensive than retaining an old one? It’s logical, at the end of the day. Getting someone to take your electrical business into consideration, convince them you’re worth the expense, then get them to hire you takes a lot of time and effort, not to mention marketing dollars. But recurring service calls could be the solution to your problems!

It makes more sense, however, to do such a great job that everyone you’ve worked for would call you again or recommend your services. And yet, even if you feel like you’re doing just that, you’re  not seeing customers crowding for recurring service calls. The reason why? It’s all in your electrical business planning.

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Most managers and electrical business owners started out as techs themselves so no one can blame them if customer retention wasn’t at the top of their priority list in the beginning. However, as the business grows, retention becomes more and more important as a source of revenue, especially when considering that returning customers are likely to spend more than first-time buyers.

Your business plan should take this into account and build on a strategy that aims to get them coming back every time. These are considered recurring service calls and they’re an excellent way to earn reliable recurring income. Part of it, of course, is the quality of your work and customer service – no one would rehire an electrical company that did a patch job – but part of it is also your sales strategy and how you keep yourself relevant in the customer’s mind. 

So, if your electrical work is excellent, what are you doing to drive customers away and waste your chances at getting reliable recurring service calls? Keep reading to find the 5 mistakes you’re making (including spending too much money on one thing in particular!):

1. Not educating your techs on upselling.
2. Not acknowledging the value of return customers.
3. Spam customers with ads, whether it’s brochures or Facebook posts.
4. Leave it to the customer to remember to schedule service calls.
5. Leave it to the admin staff to remember service reminders.

Let’s get started!

1. Not educating your techs on upselling

Reducing technicians to a narrow role description is limiting both to them and to your electrical business. It’s important for managers to make the most out of the fact that, oftentimes, techs are the only face-to-face interaction that customers will have with your company. In effect, this makes technicians sales-reps too.

When building brand value, this type of hands-on experience is what makes a difference between a customer who will come back again and again, and a customer who will forget your company’s name the next day. 

Having your technicians use upselling techniques such as presenting different levels of installations and appliances, priced on a tier model, gives them a chance to interact with the customer and make them feel like the decision is theirs. It avoids feelings of getting “ripped off” because they’re faced with a cheap/average/expensive option and it’s their choice which price they pay.

This tactic also gives them something to look forward to: the moment when they’ll be able to replace the cheap or average product/service with the expensive one. Make a note of it in your database (e.g. “Customer will be ready to upsell in 6 months.”) and start optimizing your database for recurring service calls. 

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2. Not acknowledging the value of return customers

Not only is it cheaper to get customers to come back but it’s also more financially viable. Why? Because across industries, returning customers are likely to spend more than first-time buyers. It stands to reason: if you bought a product or hired another company for the first time, you wouldn’t go for the most expensive thing they do; you’d go for something more affordable just in case they’re not able to deliver on their promise. 

Your electrical business customers are the same. Once you’ve gained their trust, they’ll be more willing to part with their hard-earned cash (metaphorically speaking: there’s no excuse for you not to accept card after you’ve read this online payment portal guide).

Knowing this, it makes sense that your electrical business planning should accommodate returning customers through exclusive benefits and offers.

3. Spam customers with ads, whether it’s brochures or Facebook posts

There is such a thing as spending too much money on marketing, especially if you’re not spending correctly. Overwhelming customers with advertisements is definitely the wrong way to remind them of your excellent service and get them to hire your electricians again.

There’s definitely room for field service brochures and Facebook marketing strategies, but simply throwing money at these is only going to annoy customers and damage the positive relationship you’ve established.

Unless you’re able to record their preferences by using a customer database and personalize these ads to their tastes, telling people who’ve already hired you how great your company is doesn’t make sense: they already know that.

Returning customers need a pitch that addresses their concerns and needs, whether it’s a loyalty system, a bonus installation check-up or 24/7 assistance – the gist of it is that it needs to cater to the fact that they’re already familiar with you.

Imagine if you had a friend who kept telling you their name every time they saw you. You’d think them pretty strange, right? Well, that’s what your existing customers think too when they keep seeing ads like “Have you heard about the best electrician in town?” Unless that’s not you, then you’re making a mistake in designing your recurring service calls strategy.

4. Leave it to the customer to remember to schedule service calls

One excellent strategy to upsell customers and loyalize them is to send them service reminders. Whilst this is essentially an advertisement for an easy job, where your techs simply have to go down and check an installation to ensure it’s functioning properly and complies with the manufacturer’s warranty contract, it doesn’t feel that way to the customer.

Not sure how to send a recurring inspection reminder? Learn all about it here!

A service reminder sent just in time to save them from having to check and struggle with satisfying the inspection deadline – or worse, miss out on it – can be a life saver to someone. This looks and feels like your company cares about them and it’s personalized enough to know when they need the service most, rather than trying to sell them on something they don’t need right now.

Service reminders can be part of that cheap/average/expensive scheme we mentioned earlier, where you take it upon yourself to guarantee the safety of their electrical installation, and offer the customer peace of mind.

Simply telling a customer to remember to schedule a check-up a year from now will ensure that they’ll never think of it again (unless they’re legally liable to and even then it’s not a guarantee they’ll call your business) and you’ll lose out on valuable revenue from recurring service calls.

What should I charge for service calls? Three methods to calculate a tradesman’s service price!

5. Leave it to the admin staff to remember service reminders

They’re called reminders for a reason, right? Many electrical business owners and managers expect admin staff to send out these retention incentives, often forgetting that if said admin staff doesn’t have software to support them when scheduling techs, they definitely don’t have the time to remember to send service reminders too. Most inspections have to be done on a yearly basis so simply tacking a post-it to a notice board isn’t going to do the trick.

In between rescheduling and the general chaos that daily life in an electrical contracting company is, who could blame the admin staff for not sending service reminders on time? 

Digital reminders in the form of newsletters and emails are the best medium to let customers know their inspection deadline is approaching. They also save your staff from sitting down and sending out the same emails every day. Therefore, reminders can be invaluable when it comes to team morale and the time they spend on repetitive tasks that could easily be done by software.

Without a digital support tool, the most likely outcome is that the customer will forget, as per the previous point, and the admin will be too overwhelmed with emergency jobs and manually scheduling, then re-scheduling technicians into a paper calendar, to pay the slightest attentionAnother missed opportunity!

The takeaway on recurring service calls

Getting customers to come back is tricky. If you’ve read through these 5 reasons, you’ve probably realized how easy it is to alienate them. And yet, accounting for customer retention strategies should be a quintessential part of your electrical business planning if you want your company to grow sustainably.

Not only do recurring customers spend more than new ones, but they’re also familiar with your brand and easier to reach. That is, if you’ve got the right message for them. To get you started, we’ve put together a series of 10 templates (including a service reminder template!) designed specifically to help you communicate your brand value and high standards of work. Click below to download!

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I'm here to bring you next-level strategies to the field service industry. When I'm not working on the best tips to grow your business, I'm on the lookout for sci-fi novels and cookie recipes.

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