Maintenance management systems help you to keep track of what work you’ve done for each of your customers, letting you predict when they next need you to maintain their appliances, installation, wiring, pipes and so on. This ability to predict client needs is invaluable if you’re building a small electrical, HVACR or plumbing business, as one of the most reliable moneymakers in the long run is repeat customers. If you get a customer to come back to you just once more, they’ll keep coming back for as long as you keep providing them with good service. Repeat customers are also much happier to recommend you to others – they’ve seen more of your skills and know just how reliable you are.
Using a maintenance management system is easy. After you do an install or repair for a new customer, tell them you can come back after 6 months (or a suitable period for the work you’ve done) and check on your work. Create a free maintenance offer for new customers or, if you can’t afford it, highlight why the job you’ve done needs maintenance. If they accept, you’ve taken the first step in building a new customer relationship. Some customers will say they don’t want to make an appointment so far in the future, so instead let them know you’ll call them to see how things are going when you expect maintenance will be needed. If they refuse both offers, but are still happy with your work, make sure to leave a card or number to call next time there’s a problem. It’s not as good as a set contact time, but at least you’ve planted the idea that your business is the one to call when there’s trouble.
Use Scheduleflow or another planning tool to set the appointment and record as much detail as you can about what might need to be done, what has already been done, the condition of the installation or repair, customer details and so on. Remembering things about customers like the layout of their house and first names will help you show that you care as well as being professional. Good work will always make people happier than friendliness from you and get you paid, but the more they like you, the more likely they will recommend you and trust your advice.
Set yourself a reminder to call them a week before the appointment. This will give them a good amount of warning, since they’ve probably forgotten you’re coming. During the call, ask them how the install or repair has gone and whether they’ve experienced any issues. If they haven’t, reassure them that you’re only coming in to perform maintenance so that nothing will go wrong. Bring the right tools and some replacement parts if relevant – you should have noted down what kind of parts you’ll need when you did the original job.
When the visit rolls around, try to use it to connect with the customer as much as possible without taking up their time. Suggest upgrades or alternatives only if you genuinely believe in them and think they might benefit the customer. If you’ve got a new or inexperienced member on the team, maintenance jobs can be a good way to see how they’re doing – our post on hiring can give you more information on how to evaluate new or trial workers.
Finally, at the end of your visit you should be booking the customer in for one of three things; an upgrade, a repair (if there’s a problem you can’t solve in one visit) or another maintenance visit. Doing this with all your new customers is the best way for your small business to get people to recommend it to others and ensure steady income from loyal customers.
Scheduleflow is an Australia-based small business automation software solution for field service businesses, serving customers in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand. To find out more, click here.