Attracting customers has a set of challenges, but it’s not the hardest part of running a company. With the right tools, you can have the phone ringing all day.
But keeping these customers loyal is an art in itself.
In theory, it’s very simple:
You have to offer them something unique.
Remember: customers can get painting, remodeling, repair, or construction services in a number of different places — all offering the same services as you.
So what only you can offer?
What can you give them they can’t find anywhere else?
It sounds simple, but in practice, this requires decent amounts of wisdom, perspective, and context.
Let’s figure it out by looking at some practical things you can do:
1. Meet your customers face-to-face
Technology is great for business, and there are many ways you can impress customers before the first meeting, but nothing replaces face-to-face contact when it comes to building trust.
People are much more inclined to connect with other people than with a generic “brand.”
I’m sure you can relate to a situation like this — and so can your customers:
You’ve heard great things about a contractor/company. Someone recommended them to you, you’ve read great reviews online, it seems like a respectable brand, it’s a local business, the first impression was great… it ticks all the boxes.
But… You don’t truly start a relationship with this business until that first face-to-face meeting with someone. Only then you can know for sure if you will trust this business with the service you require.
Postponing or outright avoiding a face-to-face meeting due to finding it superfluous or inconvenient is a sign of distrust for the customer.
They will always prefer to see you involved in person — that way they can rely on you, and trust you.
2. Reward their trust in you
This is especially effective when you end up having more work from the same client than initially planned.
For example, if you get on site and realize you can do more or better than what the customer originally wanted, you make a new proposition. If the client likes the idea, that means more work and more income for you.
Now, you can make the customer happy they trusted you:
This is the perfect moment to add a little extra charm for the customer — think of it as a sincere “thank you” gift for trusting your business. After all, the customer will be paying more than he/she originally intended, meaning they trust your judgment.
You don’t have to break the bank doing this: it can be anything from offering one gallon of paint on the house to surprise them with a small discount on the final cost.
And here’s what you should NEVER do:
If you propose a slightly bigger project for a higher value and the client accepts, that’s alright, but don’t push it.
This is the moment to stop when you’re winning — if you insist on suggesting new additions to the project that will keep adding to the cost, the customer will eventually become annoyed and will lose the trust they originally put in you. And once it’s lost, you don’t get it back.
Also be sure to avoid these mistakes contractors make when giving quotes.
3. Be there
This means “be there” both physically and emotionally.
Physically for obvious reasons: you are the reason the customer put trust in your business. They will continue to trust your work as long as you make yourself present, as much as possible — if you show up on the first meeting, but then disappear for the rest of the project, the customer might feel abandoned. It’s essential to be there and always stay in touch - communication is key.
And emotionally because, generally speaking, any given project is more important for the customer than it is for you — at least on an emotional level.
For you, it’s another day at work.
For the customer, it usually involves something changing in their home, and therefore, their lives. It costs them hard-earned money, it requires planning, and it’s disruptive.
Naturally, customers would feel uneasy if it seemed like you just want to get the job done as fast as possible. There has to be an emotional connection — a sign that you care about the project as much as they do.
4. Offer a unique experience
Talking about a “unique experience” may seem abstract at first, but it’s very tangible when you think about it:
You just have to walk that extra mile.
Anyone can get in there, get the job done and leave. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but if we’re talking about how to make customers loyal, you need that something more.
And few can offer that.
That’s when you step in to make a difference:
You want to meet customers face-to-face, so they have someone they can trust and build a relationship with.
You reward the customer’s trust in you by offering something they didn’t expect - a small discount, a free add-on, a better idea, a cheaper solution… something they are glad to accept.
You are there for the customer — your physical presence leaves them at ease, you always answer their phone calls, you keep your promises, and you want the project to please them. This involvement with the project shows them you care about what you’re doing.
See? You’ve just offered something unique.
The customer had a majorly positive experience — which means they aren’t just satisfied with your work, they are actually happy they hired you.
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