The buzz in marketing, whether online or offline, is about building real relationships and a community of loyal followers. You are a bricks and mortar old school type business and you aren’t sure what this means for you. You won’t be building a Facebook fan page for your HVAC business (or could you?), but there are many things you can do to build a loyal following that don’t involve the Internet.
1. Be responsive. When someone calls, call them back as soon as possible. Make sure you have a professional employee answering and managing your phones. Stay in touch and let customers know if and why you are running late, let them know what’s going on, what your time frame is. People appreciate being kept in the loop. So much so that they’ll call you the next time they need service.
2. Be appreciative. When the business transaction is over, thank them with a follow up call, email or note later. The best and easiest business is repeat business. Let them know you appreciated it, ask if they are having any additional problems and offer to repair it-sometimes for free.
3. Let your current customers know you want more customers. Don’t be afraid to say “Hey! If you hear of anyone in need of repairs, would you refer them to us please?”. Believe it or not, this small step is called marketing.
4. People lose business cards, magnets, emails. Several times per year, send a note and an email out to the customers you have had in the past with a real or virtual business card or small reminder with it. People will forget “the name of that company we used last year, hon?” so help them remember. Part of your task is to make it easy for them to retrieve you when needed.
5. Do good work. Perhaps I should have put this first, but I hope it goes without saying. Doing your best and being honest with each and every customer is the first and best step to building a loyal community.
Owning a small business automatically makes you a leader. YOU must instill some level of enthusiasm in your employees to help you fulfill these 5 steps with every single customer. They are your first community. Make it a loyal one by hiring well and treating them well. We’ll cover more of that in another post.
by Steven Schlagel