Did you know that 68% of customers that use you once and never again simply feel ignored? The amount of time and effort you put into getting customers should never be an investment that you look at as a onetime windfall. I can’t think of too many instances where a service call of any sort is not an opportunity to get more business out of a customer. Unless you provided less than stellar service to a customer, there is no reason for the relationship to end after one visit to the house. We have all heard horror stories about unscrupulous business owners that take a job under the pretenses of bilking every last penny they can through upgrades or “bigger problems” they have found once on site. We all cringe at what that does to the general “vibe” of the industry. This is a precise reason that the number of people that like to go car shopping is rather small. As consumers, people like value and the ability to trust the businesses they are working with. I can share an example. As a business professional, I am obviously out of the house all day. My wife runs the show. We were in our house for a few years, and we decided that it was time to clean the heating and AC ducts. We used one of those coupons you get in the mail that comes in an envelope with 500 other coupons. For $100 we could have our ducts clean as a whistle, (as illustrated by the before and after shots on the fancy coupon.) After the crew showed up to run their hoses, I got a frantic call from my wife. According to the cleaning crew, I had highly dangerous mud buildup on my furnace and since cleaning that wasn’t part of the deal, we had essentially wasted our money because as soon as we started the furnace again we would blow toxic dust and mold spores into the house making things worse for our family. For the low price of $250 (additional) they would take care of all of that for me. Luckily the hogwash flag went up, and I was close enough to come home and politely excuse the cleaning crew from the premises. Now, I am no expert in duct cleaning, so naturally, I am a little curious. I called another well-known company and explained to them my story. After they finished their polite chuckle, they calmly explained that my instincts were correct. They mentioned that they would be happy however, because the heater was several years old and had never been inspected, to come out for a much lower fee and provide a full inspection of the heater including a new filter, cleaning of the burners, and just a general maintenance look see. I gladly accepted and after they came and did a very professional job, I expected to hear the bad news. None came. The furnace was in great shape and they would even give us a discount because it didn’t take nearly as long as they figured it would. They got a customer for life that day. Now, every fall they call me automatically to see if I would like to schedule a cleaning and checkup for my furnace. Why not do the same for your customers? A CRM allows you to schedule specific events and contacts. You can randomly run through a list of customers and contact them about a promotion, or you can schedule a specific time frame to give them a call. Ultimately, your customers need a personal touch. When a neighbor asks if they can recommend a first rate service provider, whether is it for roofing, painting, carpet cleaning, or whatever, you should be the first person that your customer thinks of. If you’re not, then you’re doing it all wrong. I have a drywall guy. He did a great job on a project I was working on, and EVERYTHING I get goes to him first. If it is too big, or he is too busy, he will recommend someone, but he always gets first pick. This should be you! If you extracted water from a flooded home, you should call them back in 6 months to a year and see if they would like to take advantage of a sweet deal to get the major traffic areas of their house cleaned. If you were a painter in the house, let them know you have a 2 room special this month. Did you install tile? You should do some grout re-sealing or cleaning. Even a roofing contractor has an opportunity to inspect and clean the roof. This not only endears the customer to you, but provides you with a reliable source of income for the slow times. If you are looking to build your business and revenues, the best way is to manage your customers as a valuable resource is with a CRM. It is a place to store notes, job info, manage the projects, keep a record of invoices, and schedule work or interactions. If you choose to Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ to keep in touch with your customers, that is totally up to you. The beauty of a CRM is that you can schedule that too. It is time to change what you are doing to get different and better results. Embracing a tool that will allow you to manage that change effectively is the first step in adding to your profitability and building a strong book of repeat business.