If you want to really make the most of the work you’re doing, you need to make sure you’re valuing your customers. That means fixating on more than just their wallets.
While yes: money is good, it shouldn’t be the only motivator for your business. Delighting your customers can and should be a powerful motivator for you as well. It should inform the decisions you’re making as you improve and grow your business.
So, how do you go about delighting your customers?
It can be easy to think that you might already be doing everything necessary, but are you sure you’re providing an experience that gives your business and your customers the results (and satisfaction) you all want?
Doing great work is the most obvious way to put a smile on their faces and having considerate customer service staff and diligent engineers who take care of your customers will also play a big part in influencing their experience, and keep them coming back.
There’s a particularly powerful tactic that you can implement to help improve that result—particularly if you optimise through automation—but it may surprise you to learn just how dramatically it can impact not just on your ROI, but the many benefits that satisfying your customers will bring to your business, too.
We are, of course, talking about using Service Reminders.
- Why you want to use service reminders
- The numbers that matter
- An enhanced way to communicate
- How to implement service reminders
1. Why you want to use service reminders
In a conversation with Jack Sargent, Sales Manager at Commusoft, I was curious to learn if there were any features that he, or the team, often discuss with potential customers who’re looking to purchase job management software.
Service reminders were something that instantly came to Jack’s mind:
It seems really simple, but service reminders are one massive thing that businesses are looking for; they’re simple but can be really powerful.
In a previous post, we’ve covered the reasons why “simple” job management software is actually more complex than you think, but I think it’s safe to say that service reminders are a fantastic example of something that are “simple” in theory, but actually be a bit awkward to manage in practice.
This is especially true if you’re taking care of them manually. For one, they can be easy to forget, but when properly managed and automated, the “simple” service reminder becomes incredibly powerful and will influence your business in a big way.
For those who may be uncertain, a service reminder is a way to ensure that you retain consistent business, year after year. They can act as a gentle nudge to your customers that they might be due for a service of a product that you’ve installed, like a boiler for a gas company, air-conditioning unit, or even a full fire alarm system.
Service reminders drive return business and are crucial for any healthy field service company. But having to manually send these out is a tedious task; from trawling through diaries, to checking for calendar reminders, to preparing and sending individual messages…while it’s important for you to do, it’s not ideal to act in this way, which is why automation can be so important.
It may seem like a straightforward feature to have: it’s just something which sends a simple notification to a customer, right? But when you boil down the reasons why business owners are (and should be) so interested in them, it becomes easy to see what makes them special.
You might think it’s up to the customer to come to you and arrange a service, but it almost goes without saying that this method won’t contribute to a quality customer experience. That’s why, when it comes to job management software, having a solution that lets you take care of service reminders, automatically, is the smart thing to do. With them, you can:
- Get more jobs for your engineers and boost revenue
- Ensure customers feel valued and increase satisfaction
- Create consistency to streamline scheduling
Still unsure? Well, let’s take Jack’s advice and “put it into the quantifiable figure” and consider some numbers that may intrigue you...
2. The numbers that matter
When it comes to customers, you know that the best kind of business is repeat business. It’s common-business-sense then, that if a customer has a bad experience of your service, they’ll be unlikely to come back.
Part of what a service reminder does, is make the experience of requesting a return service from a customer easy and, as a result, far more likely.
Manually speaking, sending out service reminders to all your customers can be tedious, especially if you’ve not yet started using a diary management system, as Jack explains:
Going through the diary from last year can take up a significant amount of time. For example, finding out which customer, whether it’s in the next two weeks, 30 days, or more, might be due a service, and then putting together an email for each one; whether it’s 40 times a week, or as many, or more in a month, it's all manual time that could be used more efficiently elsewhere.
Let’s say it’s 5 minutes spent trying to manually arrange a single service reminder, per customer. For those 40 reminders you need to send, that works out to around 3.5 hours searching, preparing and emailing reminders each week. 3.5 hours a week could be 14+ hours a month, almost two full working days you could save by introducing an automated service reminder solution, which takes out all the guesswork and hassle on your behalf.
Even that little feature, just being able to see that it's automated, which can be taken care of by text, by email, or a nudge to prepare and post a letter… it can make a huge impact on how efficiently you interact with your customers.
Now of course, every reminder you send out doesn’t necessarily mean a guaranteed job (and we’ll get to that), but let’s look at it another way. Ask yourself, “How many installs do you do, overall, in a year:
“Let's say it’s a hundred,” says Jack, “and let's say you can now start sending out automatic reminders for those. That has the potential to give you a hundred extra jobs a year. Let's say you charge £80 a service; that’s £8000 of potential income that you're not making if you’re not making use of service reminders to interact with your customers.”
A simple nudge could be all it takes for a customer to interact and arrange a new appointment, but that nudge can turn into something tangible and help drive growth for your business.
As we said though, a reminder isn’t a guarantee, but if done right, it’s the first important step to make the customer experience of booking an appointment not only easy, but enticing as well.
Making it easy to communicate is the next step. Let’s take a look.
3. An enhanced way to communicate
Customers appreciate convenience now more than ever, so much so that it’s an undisputed expectation. The easier it is to engage with a product or service, the more likely a customer is attracted to and likely to use it.
As Nisha, our Head of Client Operations says:
“We as consumers are accustomed to things being emailed to us. Text message alerts, doctors appointments, you name it. You get a message, click a link to schedule, or if you want to rearrange, click another link and you’re done! Everywhere you look, everyone is moving to interact in this way. It’s why customers have an expectation for you to do the same.”
For your field service business, there are a whole lot of ways to make it easier for customers to interact with your business, too. Whether it’s making use of:
- Web forms
- Customer portals
- Good ol’ fashioned email
When combined with your automated service reminders, the process of a customer re-engaging with you becomes a whole lot easier, especially when they have options to choose from. Giving them access to diary options to select appointment dates and times that sync to your engineers and availability, seamlessly linking to streamline the way you schedule and organise bookings as well.
Of course, some people want the satisfaction of speaking to a customer representative and so how you choose to relay that is up to you. Whether it’s a confirmation phone call, a personalised email, or other method, being able to provide that satisfaction and save time, money, and energy is going to improve that customer experience.
However you do it, the main thing is to think about how easy you’re making it for customers to get back in touch with you, once they’ve engaged with your initial message.
Give them an experience that will keep them coming back and enable them to see the value you’re offering them can also help win customers over and get them to engage with your services, not just because you’re offering a good deal for something they need, but because it’s clear to them that they can trust you to do what you’re promising.
So, you know why you need service reminders, and how communication is super important to take that positive customer experience even further, the last thing is to provide a little more guidance to how you can implement them for your business.
You might have your reasons for not sending service reminders, but the decisions is likely to damage your business. Learn more by clicking here.
4. How to implement Service Reminders
As we close out the article, let’s run over how you can prepare and implement powerful service reminders with some practical advice. After all, simply sending reminders is just one step to their success; you need your customers to interact and engage, which is often the harder thing to achieve. It’s why experience is essential to encouraging them as subtly but powerfully as possible to engage with your business.
You can find additional tips and advice on automating your business by clicking here, but these tips will help you create reminders that customers take action on:
Greet the customer.
First impressions are everything, so rather than quickly diving into a reminder; keep it warm, friendly, and inviting. Opening with "Dear John" adds a personal touch rather than leading with “Dear Sir/Madam”. It comes across more personalised and keeps the customers from thinking it's a mass (read: spam) email.
Use the word "remember."
The subject of your email is as important as the message contained within. “Remember: Your [Boiler] Service is Due”, is a neat summary of what your message is about and helps separate your helpful reminder from the marketing junk mail that bombards them from other companies. "Remember" is also perceived as a more positive, friendly word, than the sometimes patronising phrase “Don't forget”.
Customer database and email software lets you create templates with tagging, so you can personalise messages with more detail than just “Dear John” in the greeting. For example, at Commusoft, you can add the [job description] tag and the software will automatically plug in the type of service that needs to be done: it’s personal to the customer and more informative than a vague message might otherwise be.
'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'. The sweet spot for email length, particularly where reminders are concerned is between 50 and 125 words; get to the point and make it clear how a customer can engage. 'Don't mince words. Tell subscribers why you are emailing them and direct them to the call to action.'
Call them to action.
People are busy and convenience is king when time is short. You want customers to make a decision quickly and let them know it’s easy for them to arrange, otherwise they may keep putting a service appointment off.
Be sure to end with a clear call to action (i.e. “Book now by clicking below!”). It makes it easy for your customers to do what they need to do. A highly visible link, sometime with an image, if suitable, is best and will direct them to one of the previously mentioned places that they can book their appointment through. Easy!
Acting as a gateway to instigate additional revenue for your business, but also helping to delight your customers, we’re sure you’ll see the power service reminders and the benefits they can bring when you implement them.
With a hint of personalisation, care, and insight into a need you’re helping them to meet, you can give your customers all this and more, without being too pushy or direct.
Whether you’re starting from scratch with service reminders, or looking to improve on the ones you already use, our guide to creating powerful service reminders could be just what you need. Click below to download your guide today!