It feels good when you’re valued as a customer, so it makes sense to want your customers to feel valued, too. But how do you do that?
You personalise their experience, of course!
When you started out, your business was probably dealing with a lot of local customers; you probably knew most of them by name. However, as your business has grown and expanded further afield (and even if those local customers are still with you), it’s likely gotten harder to feel like you have the time, the memory, and dare-we-say the patience to provide that personal touch quite so consistently.
Understandably, it can sound like a lot of hard work, and you might even wonder what the value behind personalising the customer experience can be. However, with digital tools helping to make the gathering, storing, and application of your customer data easier than ever, personalising the customer journey need no longer be a complex task.
After all, being able to appeal to your customers on a personal level (as a human, rather than a number) helps to create genuine—but still professional—relationships that are based around trust. If customers trust you, not only are they likely to use your services again, but you, your staff, and your engineers may even feel more motivated to provide an excellent service.
Those are just a few perks, but it all starts by optimising the way you store and use your customer’s data. It’s time to go paperless. Take a look below as we cover how a database:
- Helps to build trust and establish customer loyalty
- Helps you to better understand your target market
- Helps to improve your cash flow
1. A database helps to build trust and establish customer loyalty
If you’re looking at sending out service reminders (and you should), you need to consider the way that you’re delivering your messages. How are you approaching your customers?
It may be that, in your effort to save time and as your company has expanded, that you felt compelled to adopt a quick fix: a generic message to send when customers need a nudge to take action. It sounds efficient, but it doesn’t feel good from the customer’s perspective to get a bland, uninspiring message.
Take a look at our two examples below:
This message is to remind you that your product is now overdue a service. Records indicate your boiler was installed over a year ago and is overdue a check-up. Contact us to arrange a service appointment.”
“Hello, Ms. Johnson,
We hope you’re well. This is a friendly reminder that your Annual Boiler Servicing Appointment, which was originally installed March 18th 2019, is almost overdue a check-up. We’d be happy to get an appointment booked in with you, before the due date of March 18th 2020, so please do contact us for more information. We hope to hear from you soon!”
Obviously these are just examples (you can find sample templates here), but which of the two sounds better to you?
Without giving it a full-on English Language breakdown (as much as I’d personally love to), I’d be willing to bet that you like the sound of message #2 more as it’s more personal and very specific. For instance, it addresses the customer by name, uses pronouns like we, you, and us to sound more inclusive, and invites the customer to make a decision for themselves by being less overtly demanding. It’s also a timely message (and so more helpful), with the second message acknowledging that a service is due soon, rather than messaging the customer when it’s already overdue (and potentially out of warranty).
By letting you pull specific information, which might otherwise take time for you to obtain from your physical records, or even from an unintegrated system; a comprehensive database can automatically insert these details into your message template. This is what a database can offer; integrated, informative data management that’s designed to not only save you time but enhance the experience that you can deliver to your customers.
Simple details like names, dates, and other customer information all help to indicate to customers that you know who they are and their previous history with your company. It’s a simple thing, but it helps to make you look and sound far more professional than if you stuck to a sweeping, generic message which could’ve been sent to any old Sir/Madam…
2. A database helps you to better understand your target market
If there’s one specific thing I’d highlight about having a customer database, it’s the convenience of having all of your data in one place. This makes it infinitely easier to understand who your clientele is, and—with the right kind of software—even drill down into that data so you can understand more about the needs of your customers.
This, of course, will allow you to make decisions that influence the services you offer, the locations you operate in, and other statistics, relevant files, certificates and more.
Having this information to hand can let your engineers provide a more accurate assessment when they’re on-site at a job and even help them resolve the issue faster. For example, if they can access job history remotely, they can check previous notes and details in clear detail, all without the need for sifting through paperwork (which may suffer from errors, scruffy handwriting, or might have even been lost).
Such information can help them up-sell and advise customers on additional work they might find beneficial. By offering bespoke advice, customers may be more willing to accept your assessments, particularly if they see value in your suggestions, and so it increases the odds of repeat business.
3. A database helps to improve your cash flow
This one is quite straightforward, but a database can have a major impact on your revenue! If customers are happy with the experience they’re having, trust your business and the service you provide, they’re more likely to pay for the service on time and in full.
In addition, if you make the way in which they can pay easier—say with an invoice portal—or are able to provide online estimates, invoices, and final costs directly to their email or mobile device (rather than having to wait days for the post) or for paperwork to be filed, it means you can get paid faster and ensure your cash is, in fact, flowing.
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Many of us may be watching our wallets, but I’m sure you’d sooner pay for a service you trust will be done well, rather than risk paying a lesser known, less reliable contractor, just because they’re cheaper.
However, cheap doesn’t always mean cheerful, especially if you’ve spent £100’s or even £1000’s only to have the inconvenience—and cost—of getting a job done all over again. The impact of this on your company’s cash flow is obvious and customers will be conscientious of their own finances, too.
People expect a good service when they approach a company, but it’s also a proven statistic that customers are happier to pay more for a service they feel confident in, versus a cheaper competitor. Price is important, but it's not everything.
It may seem daunting to move from the solutions you currently have in place, particularly if you’re not in the digital space already, but it’s a lot easier to do than you might think. On the other hand, if you choose not to adapt and go paperless with a digital customer database, you’re not playing it safe: you will fall behind your competitors and lose out.
Do you want to delight your customers? The answer should be a resounding yes! You need to make sure that you’re in a position to work efficiently and the only way to do that, today, is to choose a tech-based solution. Don’t just do it for your customers either, but for yourself and your staff: you can make the whole process of going digital that much easier to optimise your scheduling, service reminders, invoicing, and so much more.
If you’re still apprehensive, but eager to learn more, you’ll want to explore our Complete Guide on How to Build a Customer Database. You’ll find a ton of resources, articles, and expert advice to guide you through the paperless process, and top-tips on how to get the best out of your business. It won't take long before you see that it can work wonders.