The Complete Service Reminder Guide (Including Free Templates!)
Service reminders are a staple for any field service business, and especially for electrical contractors. Plumbing and heating companies, HVAC, fire and security – they also get their fair share of pain points like having to remind customers that an inspection is due or staying top-of-mind when it comes to customers in need of an additional service. Luckily, it all comes down to sending a better reminder than your competition. But where to start? Read our service reminder guide to find out!
Why should you send a service reminder?
Knowing why you’re sending service reminders, and how they can help you and your customers, will motivate you to do them right. However, there’s not a lot of research or literature on the effectiveness of reminders in the field service industry. That’s why we decided to hop outside the box and research how well reminders work for other industries. Here are some of the results we found:
- Veterinarian practices: A free reminder service offered to vets by Partners for Healthy Pets resulted in 8.5 percent of all inactive clients bringing their pets in for a veterinary appointment. Response rates were highest among senior pet owners; maybe it will work the same way for customers with older installations and conductors!
- Sports Marketing: A sports and entertainment marketing company sent a text reminder to customers who hadn’t converted on a gift offer. The result: The response rate increased by 30%.
- Medicine: According to an article on OneReach website, ‘A study published in the Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences found that non attendance rates at general medicine and neurology clinics were “significantly lower” compared to the control groups that didn’t receive appointment reminders.’
From these and other studies we’ve researched, we can safely assume that reminders work across industries. A final note on the “why” is to remember that reminders are part of your service. You may fear you’re annoying customers with emails or texts reminding them to inspect their wiring installation, but in reality you’re doing them a favor. Without your reminders, they may wind up with no electricity in the middle of winter, expired alarm certificates, or worse.
Now that you know why you should read a service reminder guide, let’s go through a few of the basics when deciding how to send them:
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It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of timeliness. If you are the first to inform customers of an upcoming service, you are far less likely to miss out on their business. So you need to be systematic about reminding yourself well in advance of a service due date. Service reminders need to be sent early to allow your customers to make a decision and get back to you but you also need to make sure you’ll be available for the word order. An electrical contractor software will prove very helpful for electrician scheduling challenges such as these.
The best time to send a service reminder depends on your business, but a good rule of thumb is to send out reminders around a month before they’re due. Send a reminder too early and the customer is likely to ignore it; send it too late and the customer might contact the competition.
It’s a good idea to establish a process to ensure you send reminders regularly, at the same time each month for example, to ensure that you don’t forget any!
Did we pique your interest? Keep reading our service reminder guide to discover more.
You also need to have a follow up process. If you send a service reminder and don’t receive a timely reply, it’s perfectly reasonable to follow up with a polite phone call. Otherwise, a great electrical contractor project management software can automate these customer follow ups and send a different email to contact those who haven’t interacted with the first message.
It’s a good idea to set up a couple of templates for service reminders to save time. You will need at least two: one for real estate agents and landlords, and one for domestic customers.
- Real estate agents will need a concise reminder detailing all the properties and required services. As these services are a legal requirement, this reminder is more of a notification rather than a sales pitch.
- Domestic customers are not under the same legal obligations so their service reminders should sound more like well-meaning advice. Use your template text to remind them of the benefits of regular annual services, while promoting your own business to allow them to make an informed decision.
This regular interaction will help to maintain a healthy client relationship and will also keep your business at the forefront of a customer’s mind for both services and repairs.
This wouldn’t make for a great service reminder guide if we didn’t recommend to practice your tone of voice. Don’t simply send the same information for every type of reminder. Minor adjustments to the wording you use in a service reminder can have an impact on how well and how quickly the customer responds. It’s largely a matter of your tone of voice. You would not use the same words or tone when addressing an elderly homeowner – who you might know personally – as you would when addressing the facilities manager of a five-star hotel.
A method that marketers often use (remember, a service reminder is also a marketing tool!) is to picture the customer while writing/editing the reminder. This way, you strike the right balance between professionalism, attention to detail, and friendliness. And that’s the sort of personal customer care that gets you positive reviews!
It is a good idea to introduce a note of urgency in your service reminder, but do this with a lightness of touch. For example, you can rely on warranties to help persuade domestic customers to do a routing inspection on their electrical installation – since appliance manufacturers often provide warranties that only remain valid if the setup receives an annual service.
If the customer is a real estate agent or planning to rent out the property, you might make a reference to the fact that a regular service record is important when putting a house on the market. Likewise, you can mention that safety certificates might be required in the event of an insurance claim. The phrase “peace of mind” often comes in handy here!
Remember, every contact with a customer is a potential sales opportunity. And that includes service reminders. Supposing the majority of your work happens in the busy summer months, you might want to offer a seasonal discount on winter services. Or, if your service record shows that an installation is coming to the end of its warranty period or its service life, you might want to offer additional cover or a deal on a replacement.
Choosing the right format can be critical in setting the right tone. There are essentially three options: letter, email or text message. It is a good idea to ask what form of communication the customer would prefer in the future, when a tech is doing a service call.
- Text message (SMS) is the fastest method. But it’s also rather impersonal and some people (especially above a certain age) don’t like it or don’t have smartphones.
- Email is the cheapest method and also makes it easy for customers to reply.
- A letter is probably the best option for older clientele, and when dealing with a busy senior corporate customer. However, there are services like Thankbot and Inkpact that make letters an experience, and since we’ve discussed how field service customer experience is key in this day and age, you can always design an interesting letter and send it out to see if it brings in more customers than other options.
If you follow this service reminder guide and regard the tips as an opportunity rather than a chore, we’re sure you will see an impact on your bottom line!
How to write powerful a powerful service reminder guide
Simply sending reminders is step one; getting customers to open and act on them is the next (and much harder) step. You can only control what you do – and not what customers do – but following these tips will help you create reminders that customers take action on:
- Remember the word “remember.” Adding this important word to the subject line of your email (or the beginning of your letter or SMS) separates your helpful reminder from the marketing messages and junk mail bombarding your customers. Also, the positive “remember” has been shown to be more effective than “don’t forget” in getting people to actually, well… remember.
- Greet the customer. Opening your emails with “Dear Toby” instead of leaping into the reminder keeps customers from thinking it’s a mass (read: spam) email, according to an article in Fast Company.
- Customize it. Customer database and email software lets you create templates with tagging, which allow you to personalize the communication even beyond the “Dear Toby” greeting. For example, add the [job description] tag in Commusoft to automatically plug in the service that needs to be done.
- Be direct. ‘There is a time and a place for long, creative, cutesy copy. Reminder emails are not one of them’, writes DJ Waldow in his Entrepreneur article ‘The Keys to Writing Reminder Emails That Work’. ‘Focus on short, clear and concise copy. No fluff. Don’t mince words. Tell your subscribers why you are emailing them and direct them to the call to action.’
In fact, a study by the email marketing company Boomerang found that messages written at a third-grade reading level get the best response, and the sweet spot for email length is between 50 and 125 words.
- Call them to action. People are busy and they’re inundated with email; if they have to spend a lot of time thinking about how to set their service appointment, they may keep putting it off. So be sure to end with a clear call to action that makes it easy for your customers to do what they need to do. For example, include a highly visible link for them to click and schedule their service appointment, or ask them to call your (also highly visible) number to set it up.
- Learn even more about how to create a powerful reminders and download our helpful reminder templates for private customers and real estate agents by clicking on the banner at the end of this post.
A field service software for electricians and much more
With Commusoft’s field service management solution, you can send reminders on a schedule that works for you (since not all services are annual); use different email and letter templates for landlords and agents then send reminders via email or SMS. Now you can customize the way the date and time show up in your reminders (and other customer communications) so your reminders are always consistent with your business’s style. In the meantime, click the banner below to get your free, downloadable service reminder templates!