Service businesses aim to provide a set of services and the employees often are not trained for customer experience and success. As a business — a service one at that — you have to not only win customers but also retain them as repeat customers. This often means delivering a better overall experience on top of providing the basic services.
The basic services you provide are just that. The very basic you need to deliver on.
In order to win and keep customers, however, you need to deliver the best customer experience. It means doing more than just the basics.
The true driver of business: customer experience
Do customers hire an HVAC service to simply to install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning? Or do they hire HVAC experts to keep their homes warm during those cold dark months, cool during those dreadfully hot days, and fresh air circulating all year round without any hassle?
Customers are paying for more than the service.
Imagine a customer who pays on time without any fuss, and is friendly. That’s the ideal customer.
On the other hand, imagine a service business that prices right, delivers quality work on time, with zero issues or delays, is friendly and professional, and sets the customers up for the future. That’s the ideal service business.
Are you this business? Are you delivering above and beyond?
The answer most likely will be a hard “no”.
Delivering a great customer experience means having as little friction as possible and engaging in positive business conversations. Simple interactions like “how are you?” go a long way in building up the relationship.
A great customer experience also means the whole experience needs to be right, not just the deliverables; the extra service you provide, the professionalism and craftsmanship, the personality behind the people. It’s entirely possible customers perceive the level of service by the tools you use. For instance, you can use the latest shiny hardware or even HVAC software to elevate your service to modern standards.
Experiences are also everlasting. If you set up a clean HVAC system from the ground up and the customers have zero issues for years on end, your customers will surely recommend you to all their friends and family members. Your final deliverables will make an impact in your customers’ lives even after the deal is done. Make it a positive one.
The meaning of losing a customer
Losing a customer means more than just lost revenue from that one client. Consumers generally tell twice as many people about bad experiences than good ones. It means they will most likely not recommend your business, or worse — talk negatively about your business. It means no more referrals, i.e., no introductions to new customers.
According to research published on Harvard Business Review, 48% of people who had a negative experience told 10 or more people. This means lost business due to a bad experience means actively losing business from your customers’ network.
Not only do they walk away with money that could be yours, but they also take it to your competitors. Giving your competitors an edge means you are in a situation to weaken your own position.
Losing a customer due to a bad experience is the worst way to lose a customer. Make sure you deliver with excellence in mind.
Service businesses often do not have access to data
Service business owners also must keep cashflow in mind.
Losing a customer means you also have to spend resources on acquiring new customers. If you are tracking these metrics then you could potentially recover right away. However, many service businesses do not rely on data and are focused on just their core services. Some gain customers due to luck and will, while others are methodical and track every cost.
If you are with the former group, it will be a difficult recovery.
If you are with the latter group, you probably already know it’s costly to acquire new customers and costs next to nothing to keep existing customers.
How to keep customers
If you already have paying customers, you’re on the right track. You can keep customers for a long time, they are loyal to the brand, and if you’re providing the best experience then they are most likely active promoters.
It’s one of the ways you can stay in business without additional work.
Keeping customers is ever so simple: deliver exceptional service. This adage holds especially true for service businesses when there are human-to-human interactions involved.