Does your heating business make the most of its customer database?

James Lyon

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat (we hope!). We all know what Christmas means: presents, family, family arguments and over-consumption.

For those in the heating and plumbing industry, however, it means something else, too – namely work, and lots of it.

People turn on appliances that they haven’t used since March, and things break down and need replacing. 

This can be a boon for heating and plumbing professionals, who end up with more work than ever. But sometimes it becomes too much to keep track of, and repeat work and sales are casualties of the season. 

One of the best solutions to keeping in control of your diary and monetising your customers is a customer database – and there are four simple ways to make sure you're getting the best out of it.

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1. A qualified sale

The more you know about your customers, whether they're new or old, the more effectively you can sell to them. 

If you know Mrs Briggs has a faulty boiler but didn't want to replace it in March, you can get in touch in November to see if she'd now like it to be replaced.

A well-populated customer database makes sure every sale is a qualified sale.

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2. Happy customers = a healthy bottom line 

A happy customer is a buying customer. The more you know about your clients the more effectively you can communicate with them. 

Like most businesses you're likely to have too many customers to know each of them personally. But if you fill your customer database with as much information about each individual person or property as possible, when Mrs Briggs calls and asks to have her boiler replaced you'll have all the information you need about her situation at your fingertips. 

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3. Don't forget service work

Regardless of your primary focus, you probably install assets and appliances – and these appliances will eventually need to be serviced. 

Service work is the bread and butter of the heating and plumbing professions, supplying a large portion of many businesses' incomes. How do you guarantee that you're capturing all the service work available to your firm? A well-maintained customer database. 

Let's say you install Mrs Briggs' boiler and it works beautifully (after all, you installed it!). Next year, to keep it perfect working condition, it is going to need a service. Keeping your customer database current means you'll know when her service is due and can get in touch to get the visit booked. 

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4. Chasing debtors 

Unfortunately, every company occasionally comes across customers who just won’t pay. An estimated 34% of SMEs write off thousands each year in debts for services rendered because they do not know how to, or are too embarrassed to, chase the debt. 

Services companies, which often rely on referrals and recommendations to gain new business, are even more vulnerable to customers who won’t pay – is it worth antagonising them? Will they rubbish the company's reputation in the local area they rely upon for all their business? 

An up-to-date customer database can play a huge part in helping you recover these debts. If you know who hasn’t paid and they get chased in a timely manner, you can make sure you're being paid what you are owed.

Keeping a record of the correspondence between your company and a debtor customer also means that when it comes to queried invoices you have all the evidence in front of you – so if Mrs Briggs doesn’t pay for her new boiler, you can make sure you can get paid for your hard work! 

So there you go: four easy ways to monetise your customer database and make the most of the festive season.  Let's just not tell anyone it starts in October...

If you're interested in building your own customer database, or, improving how you use your existing database, then download our customer mangement kit below, it's free!

 

customer management kit 

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