Focus on CRM, Part 1
Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the first of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management.
Not every referral will turn into a sale — turning a lead into a customer takes patience and constant contact. CRM, or customer relations management, software can streamline the process, keeping track of who contacted your lead and what transpired during that conversation.
Let’s start by talking about leads, and how to make the most of one. Every customer starts out as a lead, a person who either found your business or whom you found. This prospect might have filled out an online form, or you might have been handed this person’s business card by a friend, colleague or client. He or she might be within your target demographic and might need your service, but this hasn’t been verified.
When you get a lead, consider how viable this lead is. Some considerations:
- Does this person fit your demographic?
- Is this lead located in your service area?
- Was this lead given to you by someone trustworthy?
- What is this lead’s business reputation?
- How great a need does this lead have for your service?
After verifying the information and deciding that this lead can realistically turn into a client, it’s time to make contact. For most people, it’s easier and more effective to pick up the phone and make your pitch. In today’s business work, however, it might be more effective to use softer marketing techniques, such as sending the person an email with information about your service. You might add this person to your mailing list to keep them aware of your services and offers. Show this potential customer that you’re active in your business and that your business is worth investing in.
The CRM feature of the Service Proz Solution was built for service-based businesses to organize leads. The software allows managers to import leads and then assign leads to staff. Each time you contact your lead can be cataloged in the system. We call contact with a lead a “touch”. When this lead turns into a client, the system moves the contact information over to the customer section, keeping this record with it.
What do you do with your leads? Tell us in the comments section.
Sometimes our plans for our business or projects take an unexpected turn when a customer has a special request. This is something that we like to take in stride at Service Proz and we see how we can accommodate our customers and potential leads.
Recently, we added a specific service to our application but a new customer didn’t need that service. Well, we went on a mission to make sure our services fit his company’s needs–and we did! We didn’t have to think long about adjusting our service for his company because if our customers believe in Service Proz and our applications, then we have the obligation to return that support!
Are you sure you are pleasing your customers with the highest level of customer service? Here are a few ideas to keep in mind and keep your customers happy!
- Do you continually re-evaluate each customer’s needs and how to make their experience top notch? Would you tweak your service to meet your customer’s needs?
- Do you know your customer’s company and the services they offer? Do you make small talk about their industry and engage in conversation about what is important to them?
- Are you making sure you provide your service at the highest level, everyday? Are your employees a fabulous representation of your company?
Today’s world is so caught up with technology that the important of customer service can get lost in the shuffle, but keep it a top priority in your business!
Not long ago a customer that owns an appliance repair company, with over 20 technicians, decided he wanted to keep better track of his technician’s purchases. In his terms, he wanted to see receipts and where his company’s money was going!
Instead of going in circles with employees about purchases, the appliance repair company owner was proactive and sought out a way for his employees to stay in contact.
Of course Service Proz was able to accommodate this request—so we created a simple way to attach a photo to a work order.
Easily attach a photo to note on a work order with this new feature. The great thing about the Attachment feature is the ability to access everything Service Proz has to offer remotely. The ability to conduct business from anywhere and always know what your technicians are doing gives you time for more important things, like growing your business!
The new feature is a perfect addition to your home service business—whether you have 1 or 100 employees. Easily take a photo of a part or receipt, even the completed job, and attach the photo to a note on each work order. Employees love the feature and managers can always be up to date on purchases. What an easy way to synchronize your employees to management and clients, with just one click!
One of the greatest challenges that any small home service business faces is survival. Maybe this is a constant, day-to-day worry or just an occasional concern about where the next order for your services is going to come from, but the risk is still there. In a typical small business, cash may be tight, operating budgets and investment opportunities limited, orders may be hard to find, and suppliers can be demanding payment. If things aren’t going to plan then the business’s survival, and your own livelihood are both threatened.
Regardless of whether it is a constant or occasional stress, the fear and risk of failure never completely leave us. So what is the answer? Build a bigger business perhaps? There is no doubt that a competently run “big” business solves many of these challenges by giving access to more funds; more power; greater personal wealth; and increased leverage over suppliers and the market. A position of power is desirable but long-term survival is still not guaranteed.
With size, come bigger challenges and more pressure to succeed. But success is not granted forever. Take Microsoft as an example of a “BIG” company who once dominated the software market, leading the way with their Windows operating systems and Office packages, the Microsoft technology stack, and a wealth of other innovative software solutions. Microsoft brought personal computing to the masses both at home and at work. In recent times however Microsoft has been under multiple attacks from the likes of Apple, RIM, Google, general anti- Microsoft sentiment, and the law courts.
Today, despite their size and past successes, Microsoft faces the very same challenge that many small home service businesses face; survival.
There is an increasing sentiment and expectation that Microsoft will collapse. Maybe not imminently but the warning signs are present. This subject was covered just this week by Business Insider and while their accompanying vision of the future may be somewhat entertaining and implausible, it paints a picture that bigger is not necessarily better.
There’s something unique and beautiful about being a small business; you have the flexibility to make decisions that are in your best interests; you are more agile and can respond quickly to changes and customer needs; there is no constant scrutiny from the media and the wider public. And, when the working day is done, your business is just that: it is yours!
As a small home service business, what are your thoughts?