Note: this article has been updated to bring you the latest and greatest advice!
Whether you’re a Commusoft client, or perhaps a curious consumer (and a warm welcome if it’s your first time on the blog), it’s no surprise that your field service company will want service reminders to play a bigger, better role in your business.
After all, one of the most frustrating pain-points faced by a growing field service business, whether you’re in HVAC, security, plumbing, electrical, and more, is reminding customers of when their checks and services are due.
It can be a laborious process, and as important as reminders are, without the right processes in place they can be time-consuming for businesses to optimise. That means many companies aren't giving reminders the attention they need and will miss out on the benefits as a result!
- What is a service reminder?
- Why do you need service reminders?
- How automation software impacts service reminders
- 5 things every service reminder needs:
While you might be doing okay with reminders, we’re here to say there's a better way.
Join us as we dive into everything you ever wanted to know about service reminders!
What Is a Service Reminder?
It never hurts to cover the basics.
A service reminder is a notice (usually an email, letter or SMS) sent to the customer before a service is due. Appointments generally refer to a check-up on an asset/s that you’ve installed for the customer. The reminder is a nudge that prompts the customer to book an appointment with your business.
It’s easy to understand why some businesses don’t optimise their reminders, but when you realise how you stand to benefit from even a few simple changes (particularly with automated software tools making life even easier), you’ll kick yourself for making excuses and leaving it so long!
If you feel like you don't have time, won't be able to cope with the volume of calls resulting from reminders, or don’t believe in the return on investment, then we’re prepared to prove those concerns wrong: read on, to learn more!
Why do you need to send service reminders?
Simple put, service appointments are necessary to ensure that an asset doesn’t break down.
Whether it's domestic or commercial, sending reminders is a great way to give customers a heads-up that an appointment needs scheduling. With a timely reminder, you can give yourself and the customer the best chance of booking appointments so that no one is rushing around or ends up calling for emergencies.
Now, just because service appointments are essential, it doesn’t mean that your service reminders should be mundane or boring.
We’re not saying an annual boiler service needs to be super exciting, but if you present it the right way, it has the potential to build trust, give customers confidence in your services and, of course, help you generate additional revenue.
You may fear you're annoying customers with emails or texts reminding them of a boiler service, but in reality: you're doing them a favour. Without your reminders, they may wind up with no heat in the middle of winter, an expired gas certificate, or worse, go to a competitor!
But honestly, with a more personalized approach to your reminders, customers are more likely to appreciate the prompt, rather than reject it out of hand if it just seems generic, or like an impersonal, transactional cash-grab.
Consider the example below:
You’re filling an online shopping basket for a supermarket order, but you leave the order without checking out, perhaps because you got distracted whilst working from home and caring for the kids. An hour or two later, you get a prompt from the delivery service with a polite reminder saying your requested delivery slot will expire if you don’t complete your order in the next two hours.
The service isn’t pressuring you—2 hours is plenty of time—but by pointing out you need to take action, the service provider is being helpful. You can either jump on it with enough time to still get your desired slot, or you can leave it for another day.
The point is that by checking in with you the retailer has treated you as a valued customer; it suggests they're eager to see if there’s anything they can do to help, and by saving your partially filled basket, you're already on to a winner. As a result, odds are you’ll go back to your basket rather than check out a competitor to start all over!
All in all, when it comes to your service, knowing why you're sending reminders to your own customers and how these can help is motivating.
If you do right by them, you’ll open more doors and stand to benefit from an easy to manage revenue stream, too: particularly if you’re making use of automation tools...
How automation software impacts service reminders
There’s no reason you can’t benefit from service reminders in the same way as other industries, particularly if you have job management software that can competently prepare, monitor, manage, and ultimately send these reminders automatically.
Veterinarian practices: A free reminder service offered to vets by Partners for Healthy Pets resulted in 8.5% of all inactive clients bringing their pets in for a veterinary appointment. Response rates were highest among senior pet owners. When it comes to field services, it can be worth reaching out to elderly customers early to see if their boilers are working as needed for when the colder weather hits!
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%. Sending around a notice that offers a 10% discount for, say, the first 20 customers who book in an early service can be a great way to drum up attention.
Medicine: It's no surprise doctor's surgeries have taken to going digital. With so many patients to see, prompts for appointments and regular check-ups are essential not just for organisation, but for people's health and well-being! According to OneReach: "non attendance rates at general medicine and neurology clinics were 'significantly lower' compared to the control groups that didn’t receive appointment reminders."
In a similar way, regularly reaching out might give customers a reason to consider your services, when they might otherwise not have thought to do so.
Want more customers, improved communication, optimised scheduling? With the right tools, you stand to benefit from all these plus a boost in revenue, while saving time on admin.
With the resources you’ve freed up, you can have your team focus on more pressing tasks and improve your customer service in other ways, whether it’s by generating reviews that help you grow your business with a customer oriented focus or responding to more complex queries.
📅 After more reasons why service reminders are so effective?
Stay up-to-date with powerful automation tools
To focus on automation in a little more detail, it’s worth considering a few features that your job management software (like Commusoft) can help you achieve and the dramatic difference it makes compared with always writing out emails of your own.
Here are some points to consider when thinking about automating your service reminders with software:
Automatically Send Service Reminders to Customers
As mentioned, with field service management software, you can send reminders on a schedule that works for you.
Many, but not all services are annual. With a flexible piece of software you can ensure they are sent in a timely manner, even at different intervals, and all taken care of thanks to auto-fill templates.
These draw on your customer database to input information directly into an email or text message that will be sent out automatically (via email, text message or even post), all without you having to move a finger or click a button.
This is an especially useful feature for sending messages in bulk, which is great for any business with a large customer base, as well as landlords, property, and estate agents with hundreds of properties that require frequent inspections.
Greater Freedom in Dynamic Tagging
Making sure that the software solution you go for allows you to customise your messages (as we’ll detail below) is important, especially if you’re wanting to personalise and make a greater impact with your service reminders. Customers want to feel valued and special, so a reminder addressing them as “Dear Sir/Madam” won’t cut it.
A little goes a long way, but ensuring you never miss putting in details like the customer name, necessary contact information, the appointment due date, as well as a link to an online booking portal, means you’re streamlining the customer journey by making it pleasant to engage with and easy to resolve. Convenience is key!
With the right software, you can customise the way these details appear and ensure consistency becomes a staple of your business's brand. At the same time, the customer can book themselves in in a matter of seconds, no phone calls required!
📚 Learn more to discover how Commusoft can help you to take
your customers on frictionless journeys!
Use a service reminder portal to empower your customers to do more
and win you more business!
Print And Post: A Great Feature You Might Not Be Using
Paper reminders certainly still have a place. Receiving a letter can be rare these days, but that means receiving ones will make more of an impact than another email sitting in a customers inbox (or worse, to their junk)!
If you prefer to send paper reminders but don't want the hassle of doing it yourself, it may interest you to know how Commusoft can handle the task with our Print & Post feature.
All you have to do is purchase credits and one of the UK’s leading document outsource processors will fulfil your print and post requests.
You can reach out to the Commusoft team to out about this, and many other features, by clicking here.
5 things every service reminder needs
No matter if you’re sending letters, texts, email, or even dispatching flocks of pigeons (okay, maybe not that one) the contents of your reminders needs to be compelling.
Otherwise you won’t make the impact you’re after.
Simply sending the reminders is step one but getting customers to open and act on them is often harder. Make it easy for them with a frictionless journey though, and you’re a step closer to winning more business. By taking control of how you present your reminders, you’re more likely to influence customers to make the necessary decisions.
Following these tips will help you create reminders that customers take action on:
1. Use 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.
2. A polite greeting to the customer.
Opening your emails with "Dear Jason", instead of leaping into the reminder itself keeps customers from thinking it's a mass email; the last thing you want them to do is think it’s spam and have them reject it before engaging at all, so avoid "Dear Sir/Madam" or worse "To whom is may concern"... Point 3 can also assist with that, too.
3. Customised (personalised) content.
As mentioned, with your customer database and email software combined, you can create templates and put the automatic tags to great use. With it, you can easily personalise communications to highlight greater details.
For example, add the [job description] tag in Commusoft to automatically highlight the exact service that needs to be done. Customers will respond more readily to specific queries than generic references.
4. A direct approach.
'There’s 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 simple messages get the best response, and the sweet spot for email length is between 50 and 125 words. We’ve got a template that fit the bill for you to reference, available at the end of this post!
5. An effective call to action.
Just as we mentioned with the shopping basket reminder, you want to direct your customers to take action when they receive your reminder.
This isn’t always easy when they’re busy and inundated with emails and other distractions, but through a combo of short, simple messages and a clear prompt, you can get them to spend less time thinking about what you’re saying, and more time getting them to schedule their appointment.
For example, if you're interested in downloading our service reminder guide, click below!
A simple button, like the one above, is an example of the CTA. It gives you a clear route to take action. You might ask your customer to contact you with a similar method, but CTAs can come in a variety of forms: from images, to buttons, to text; how you use them depends on your own preferences.
The next steps after everything you've learnt about service reminders
You can learn even more about how to create powerful reminders—and download our helpful email templates—by clicking on the banner underneath this post.
Alongside your job management software, you can optimise this essential aspect of your services and benefit from increased revenue, more repeat business, improved communication, and happier customers!