Banner image courtesy of NiceJob and Responsibid customer Urban Street Window Works.

We at ResponsiBid are big believers in follow-up. And that’s just one of the things we love about NiceJob.

Everyone knows that they should follow-up, but every small business struggles with it. There are so many excuses to not doing it.

…It’s time-consuming.

…It’s repetitive.

…It gets ignored.

…There are too many channels (email, SMS, snail mail, voice, etc).

But at ResponsiBid we see way too many ways to both automate and personalize the follow-up after a job and the huge success that comes to companies who do it.

Here are a couple things you need to be doing to increase customer loyalty and maximize the lifecycle value of your customers.

1. Follow-up with people who decline to do business with you. 

You’ve already been told “No” by a by a prospective client. You really don’t have a lot left to lose. Make sure that you check in with them a month or two after they tell you to hit the road to make sure that they had a good experience with whoever they chose to do business with. 

There’s a classy way to do this: “I’m sure you made an excellent decision with whoever you trusted with your project, but on the off-chance that you were less than satisfied I just wanted to check in with you to see if there was anything I could do to be of service.” Be sure to do it via email or text or phone— then follow-up with a postcard if you don’t hear back within the next 30 days. If their last company choice left them feeling a little empty inside, your communicative nature and refreshingly kind attitude might be just what the doctor ordered. ResponsiBidders report that this is the most shockingly powerful follow-up tool they have.

2. First ask for a review, then ask for a referral. 

Once you know that someone is willing to say nice things about you, it only follows to ask if they would share their experience on social media and let you know if any of their friends comment wanting a similar experience. 

There’s a classy way to do this: “I really appreciate your kind words! If you decide to end up sharing that experience on social media, be sure to tag us in it because I’m sure it will get lots of comments as most people tend to have a frustrating experience with their __________ provider.” If you can get your customers to systematically become your sales people, you win.

3. If your customer needs time, follow-up using a “3 person conversation”. 

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to send too much email or texting to a person who hasn’t decided to do business with you yet. Getting the rhythm just right can be next to impossible. 

There’s a classy way to do this:

Email 1: “Hi, I’m Johnny. I just wanted to get you a copy of your proposal and would love to serve you. Let me know if you have any questions.

…no response…

Email 2: “Hi, I’m Sally! I work with Johnny and he said that he reached out to you a couple days ago with a copy of the proposal, but I wanted to introduce myself as the company scheduler. If you have any questions I could answer them. I look forward to talking to you. He told me about your project and it sounds really great!

…no response…

Email 3: “Hi there! Johnny again. I’m not sure if Sally reached out to you yet, but she seemed really excited when I told her about your project and thought I would send over her phone number as she does the scheduling, but feel free to let me know if you have any questions about our proposal."

See how that works? Just because someone doesn’t respond doesn’t mean that the conversation has to awkwardly end. Just add another person into it to keep it going!

4. Use texting to initiate conversation sparingly. 

Email is no refuge from the spam storm. Everyone knows that their inbox is going to be full of sales pitches, business stuff, and long lists of exhaustion. But texting is sacred. Keep it short, non-spammy, personal, and don’t get yourself blocked. On a smartphone, it only takes one telemarketing call to get a number blocked nowadays.

Send texts only when someone has opted in, and if your text message is automated, by all means… don’t make it look automated. No paragraphs, no signatures, and nothing like an email. Here’s a classy way to do this: “Hi James! I know you’re busy so I thought I’d text you real quick to see if you had time to talk later today. I look forward to chatting!”

5. Always have a contingency. 

Set up all your follow-up to follow a pattern of conversation that makes sense to your customer. In the pre-purchase process, your follow-up should center around education about the benefits of choosing your company. Then it should constantly be focused on helping them to take the next steps and asking questions about how you can assist them with their initial pain points. But in the case of post-job follow-up you should be focusing the first follow-ups on getting reviews (through a system like NiceJob that integrates with ResponsiBid) and referrals, social media shares (NiceJob can help here too), and then once you know that the service went well you should start using follow-up to get the repeat business process going.

If your customer forgets about you, they can’t be loyal to you. And even if they remember you, in today’s day and age they’ll only be loyal if you help them. So always have a plan to make future follow-up make sense in the context of the big story. Once you have your goals of your customer lifecycle you can begin building out a follow-up plan that you can systematize and capture the maximum lifetime value of your customer!

Curt Kempton is the founder of ResponsiBid and is dedicated to the systems that allow service businesses to thrive. He started as a window cleaning & pressure washing business owner and evolved into a software creator to fill the needs of real business owners with real problems. You can reach him at curt@symphosize.com.