How to Build a Customer Database of Loyal Customers

July 13, 2020 | Read: 7 minutes

What does a loyal customer base mean to you?

We’ve spoken before about why you should be spending as much time on your efforts to retain existing customers as you spend acquiring new ones.

Well, in much the same way, building it’s the same when establishing customer loyalty.

Winning customers takes a lot of work, so it makes sense to put the time in to keep them around!

Here are five ways to build and maintain a loyal customer base.

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Under-promise but over-deliver

When it comes to doing a job, be sure to solve a customer’s problem, but go above and beyond.

It’s a great way to foster loyal customers by exceeding the base expectations. 

For example, practically, if you state that your maximum response time for an emergency is two hours, try to get to the customer within 30 minutes. If you’re sending an invoice, do it right after the job is done, not days or weeks after it’s finished.

After all, you want to get paid sooner rather than later, right?

Think about response times can be game-changing to customer experiences. Indicating you’ll respond to queries within 24 hours is great, but similarly, responding quicker is better!

One surefire way to encourage speedy communication is to make use of customer portal software. From booking jobs, getting paid, to receiving feedback, they’re a time-saver for any service business.

That may sound simple but think about the times you’ve been on-hold. Or waited for a service agent to find, check, then triple-check your details. It’s always better when this is handled swiftly. Whether it’s a complaint or a positive inquiry, customers will feel more valued when you respond quickly no matter who’s talking to them.

A personalised customer experience shows awareness, builds trust, and makes for a great experience.

Make it easy for customers to evaluate your service

Customer attrition (or churn, as it is sometimes called) can be avoided by simply listening to your customer base. They’ll often appreciate the opportunity to give feedback, especially if it’s easy.

These evaluations and the insight you collect can also make it easier to identify your ideal customer. Without insight, you can’t grow your business so it’s important to get right.

Feedback presents an invaluable opportunity to learn how your service is performing. But you have to act on feedback in three ways:

  • First: you should monitor customer feedback individually because customers have different priorities. In fact, a mantra for any business should be to treat each customer individually, one at a time. See what a particular customer thought, and take appropriate action, even if it’s just a quick thank you email.
  • Second: use your feedback system to identify customers who are at risk and respond. If a customer is unhappy about something, it’s better to know rather than let the problem fester. Be ready to go the extra mile to ensure that a customer is happy with your service.
  • Third: you should look at trends over time to see which areas you have improved and which need closer attention. It could be response times, time to completion on jobs or the friendliness of your engineers. These are all factors that contribute to increasing customer loyalty.

Stay in touch with your customers

Customer feedback cycle

While it’s all too easy for a business to lose touch with the customer’s needs, a strong database can help to make sure that you’re doing everything in your power to stay in tune. It certainly pays to keep in touch with customers between jobs (as mentioned with collecting feedback).

Do this by being a trusted advisor—don’t simply spam them with pointless advertising. For example, if a new type of boiler or insulation technology is on the market, be the first to inform customers who might be interested.

For landlords and corporate customers, be the first to provide practical advice on any new regulatory or compliance requirements. This approach is often termed “content marketing”—a type of marketing where you build a reputation as a company that has its finger on the pulse and helps customers to stay on top of things.

In addition, service reminders are a useful mechanism for staying in touch. A database is essential to doing this well. With the right amount of information for the right customers – you can use your customer database to keep a record of communications and track responses. You can then reach out at regular intervals to remind customers you’re out there, and ready to help.

Make it easy for customers to reach you

Whether it’s private customers, landlords or corporate clients, everybody leads busy lives and appreciates convenience. Provide a variety of channels for them to contact you, whether it’s by email, through your website, or directly to your phone.

Keep in mind a customer’s preference as well. If they’re the type who hates phone calls, don’t force them into an awkward situation. With a database, you can make notes or clearly indicate if a customer does or doesn’t want you to call them, receive emails, and more besides. 

Some customers prefer to pick up the phone, others use email. Increasingly, people like to be able to book services online, as this type of self-service makes them feel in control. Keep a record of how customers like to be contacted in your customer database, they’ll appreciate it.

Provide incentives and upgrade customers

A basic principle behind customer retention is that you need to give them reasons to come back for more. That obviously starts with providing a good service, but with oh so many companies vying for customers’ attention, you need to do more.

The worst thing you can do to incentivise customers is to reduce your pricing. While there’s a time and a place for discounts, it can be seen as a quick fix, but it’s also a slippery slope, especially if it’s not handled properly.

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An incredibly useful way to increase the lifetime value of your loyal customer base is to upgrade them to contract plans. These are based on a monthly or annual subscription payment for you to take care of their boiler or cooker (private customers), properties (landlords and estate agents) or industrial equipment (companies).

Contracts lock the customer into your company and provide recurring revenue streams – but they are a hard sell unless you already have a proven track record of service excellence.

Building customer loyalty is not easy because clients tend to remember negative experiences. If you have over-delivered on the past 10 visits, but you under-delivered once, your customer is more likely to give this as a reason for trying out a competitor.

What’s more, with review sites such as Checkatrade.com and Yelp, it’s easy for someone with a bad experience to broadcast it to the whole world.

However, if you build up a solid and loyal customer base you will also significantly reduce the risk of customers publicly criticising your business and the impact if they do so.

If you manage these online systems well, they can help you to build your reputation – people also respond to positive reviews!

Explore more to help maintain a loyal customer base:

The task of improving customer loyalty for your field service business is much easier if you systematically grow and maintain a customer database. That means exploring job management software.

Every interaction with your customers matters, from booking a job, to payments, and more. Using job management software is going to be your best way to learn from customers, improve your business, and ultimately provide quality customer service that keeps customers around. 

To explore how we can help, explore Commusoft’s Customer Database Solutions

Check out Commusoft's customer database product page

I'm eager to tell compelling stories and share great advice that helps field service businesses to build on their success.

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