Increase Customer Lifespan
Originally published: 02.01.19 by Joel Frederick
Through responsive and intuitive outreach, you can grow your customer base and increase retention.
In operating, leading and managing a HVACR and essential services company, the majority of our focus is usually centered around making sure customer service is up to standard, internal processes are operating smoothly and that the “big-picture” view of the company looks healthy.
With so many things taking priority during the day-to-day, one process that sometimes doesn’t get the attention it usually deserves is how we conduct our public outreah efforts.
Beyond just traditional advertising and marketing tactics, outreach through customer relationships and how we communicate in the community can prove worthwhile in growing your customer base and increasing customer retention in the HVACR industry.
Here are a few things your business can do to increase customer lifespan through responsive and intuitive outreach.
No matter the business, there should always be a responsibility to the community to give back what it has given you. Community outreach can take many different forms, from hosting an educational learning event for a local HOA, providing sponsorship for a local little league team or even taking the time to visit high schools or trade schools to talk to folks that are interested in learning more about the heating, refrigerating and air conditioning world.
In addition to providing to the community through your business and spreading goodwill, community outreach provides three very important benefits to your business: 1) being involved in the community will put your business’s name out there and, in turn, create brand recognition 2) lets your community and potential customer base know that your business is contributing to the greater community and 3) provides members of your business the opportunity to network and get involved with different groups and individuals that may be in need of services later down the line.
Another outreach tactic that helps your business connect with new customers is showing your business’s skill or expertise by getting involved in speaking engagements, home shows, career fairs, etc.
Getting personal with your potential client base gives you the opportunity to speak with them first-hand and get a feel for their needs and what they’re looking for in a HVACR service. You’ll often find that in conversations with these folks about services they’ve received in the past that they are eager to share the things they’ve liked and the aspects they disliked of their experience.
Take these opportunities to soak in the feedback and form your sales pitch or tailor your services to better fit what the community is looking for.
In regard to customer lifespan, community outreach really hone in on the forward-facing goodwill aspect of your business. Responsible customers usually look out for and choose to work with business that are willing to listen to feedback as well as give back to their communities.
New Customer Outreach
Of course, one of the biggest priorities for any business is always making sure you are actively calling and searching for new customers. Though there are many ways businesses keep their lead pools fresh and full, from putting dollars into advertising and marketing efforts, to other innovative (and often more budget friendly) options that involves simple outreach initiatives, this is an outreach tactic you don’t want to skip out on.
One thing that is easy for businesses to coordinate internally that goes towards outreach efforts is new customer incentives — often in the form of discounts or specials. Whether that means posting specials or discounts on your business’s social media geared towards new customers or finding groups in your community that may be in need of your services, keying in on those that may not have heard of your business and are within arm’s reach at any given time is valuable.
As new customers are not often not familiar with your brand, quality of service or price point, it usually takes a bit more effort to drive this particular audience to action. Offering discounts to these folks takes a bit of the “buyer risk” out of their situation while allowing your business to establish the beginnings of a trusted relationship.
Existing Customer Outreach
It is without a doubt that the addition of new clients through continued outreach and advertising will generate growth in the business but being responsive and capitalizing on the needs of existing clients can prove to reap benefits for the business as well.
Existing clients are valuable in many ways—for example, the relationship that exists between the business and returning customers is valuable in that they are most likely the group to use your business for repeated service. These folks are the heartbeat of your business and have established loyalty with your brand.
More often than not these customers are the ones that advocate for your business and want to see you thrive, so why not use the opportunity to present other places of service you can provide them?
When it comes to existing customers, it is imperative to leverage that good relationship to continue to grow. A good strategy that is often used to expand on this is a refer-a-friend incentive. If customers are pleased enough with your work to tell a friend about it, that is a big win for your business.
Similar to the new customers barrier, people are more likely to be driven to action when there is an incentive for them as well. Refer-a-friend programs include new customer benefits, as discussed before, while also including incentives for your existing customer doing the referring. This can look something like “Refer-a-friend and get 25% off your service, while your friend earns $50 towards their next service.”
Military and Veteran Outreach
Lastly, in the essential services industry (or any industry, at that) it is always in your best interest to do your due diligence in outreach to the military and veterans in the community. These men and women are the core of our nation and it is our responsibility to make sure we return the favor whenever we can.
In military outreach efforts, there are two primary approaches. The first being extending services to military and veteran groups at discounted rates or, if possible, even gratis.
For example, your business can find and partner with a local or regional military support group to provide home services to those veterans that may not be employed or have the means to pay for maintenance or repairs on their HVACR systems.
The second is getting veterans involved in your business through training and employment opportunities. Veterans are an honorable and hard-working group of people that are often left in situations that make finding employment difficult.
By reaching out to military staffing agencies and opening your business to on-boarding or training these folks, you establish a goodwill relationship with a tightly knit, highly organized and most importantly deserving community.
Take note that outreach initiatives are best utilized to supplement the times between your business’s marketing and advertising efforts. While advertising will give your business a chance to get in front of someone’s eyes at a higher frequency, outreach provides the opportunity to meet with your customers personally and get to know them on a personal basis.
Nothing is more valuable than getting to hear their input and give your expertise face-to-face in return. In fact, face-to-face correspondence will always stand a higher chance of being remembered and be more likely to leave a lasting impression about your business. Give these responsive and intuitive outreach efforts a try next time you are looking for ways to get involved with your own community!