How to Build Customer Relationships: 7 Steps for Restoration Businesses
More than other industries, property restoration thrives on customer relationships. For referrals, for repeat business, for validation to new customers and more, creating and nurturing strong relationships has become a necessary strategy to compete and grow. The main challenge facing most leaders in the restoration space, then, is how to build customer relationships that best serve their long-term interests.
The Importance of Building Strong Customer Relationships
The restoration business requires a strong customer relationship management (CRM) game. Customers have a different, often more emotional relationship with businesses, and confidence needs to be won during what can be an emotional time. Referrals play a greater role, too, and the prospect of winning repeat business is more important than in other industries.
As many property restoration leaders are now realizing, promoting a better customer experience can better accommodate these needs in a way that promotes future growth. This means working to understand each customer’s unique journey and then prioritizing their specific needs in each step of their journey — specifically.
- Stage 1: Creating or establishing a relationship
- Stage 2: Maintaining, developing and nurturing each relationship
- Stage 3: Growing and expanding every relationship in a way that maximizes value, positive feedback, and opportunities for referrals
Within these three stages, there are 7 specific steps that property restoration businesses can take to make sure that they’re working to build a better customer relationship at every opportunity.
How to Build Customer Relationships: 7 Steps for Restoration Businesses
Step #1: Implement a Code of Conduct for Sales (and Everyone Else)
Of course, every company should do what it can to fulfill its promise to each customer. But going beyond expectations, and into above-and-beyond customer service, means boosting your odds of winning rave reviews and new business. But at a time when workers may be scarce, how can businesses shift priorities and spend more time engaging and understanding customers?
The first step in creating organization-wide enthusiasm for customer care is revising your code of conduct, and re-orienting your team around the updated version. A guide for all team members to follow, your code of conduct should provide a script to follow at key moments of customer interaction. The result will be better service today, as well as better, more actionable data for the future.
Step #2: Focus on Communication Skills
From the moment they contact you, customers want an informed interaction with someone who understands exactly what they’re dealing with and can quickly address their concerns. Phone tag and unanswered emails are unacceptable, as are unhelpful messages that don’t provide the recipient with clear information and a specific means of taking immediate action.
With that in mind, communication is another critical step for building strong customer relationships, at every stage of the journey. Many jobs in the restoration space require complex coordination. Having a specific process established, as well as a reliable means for carrying it out, will help your organization serve customers while also benefitting from saved time and reduced expenses.
Step #3: Get a Marketing, Email & Social Media Plan
An effective marketing strategy is essential to building stronger customer relationships. And central to any marketing strategy is the sending of emails or texts to prospects, existing customers and all other contacts. Sent at the right time and with the right messaging, this can be an effective way to nurture both new prospects and past customers into new business relationships.
A proactive social media presence is another important tool in building stronger relationships for restoration businesses. An easy-to-find page on LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter and Instagram can boost your credibility, instantly showing folks that you’re a known, trusted quantity. It also gives you a way to distinguish your business from the competition, and a platform for countering criticism.
Step #4: Overhaul Your Contact List
Even if your system of organizing contacts has served you well in the past, there’s specific value to be gained in updating your lists and strategies in accordance with current best practices. This means re-assembling what you have into a new, living, breathing and working list with more categories to better serve each type of relationship — past customers, new referrals, even insurers, contractors and vendors.
Think of this as much more than just a list of contacts. How long have you known them? When was the last time you contacted them? What messaging did you use at that time, and how did they respond? Having the answers to all these questions at a glance, and, even better, integrated into your larger marketing system, means seizing the right opportunities to earn new business.
Step #5: Streamline Documentation & Other Crucial Processes
Another key step in building stronger relationships is working to improve the processes that affect customers. That means applying maximum speed and efficiency to documentation, data collection, and all customer-facing processes. The faster these tasks get done —and the better you communicate your success in doing so — the more likely you’ll be to turn a standard customer into a future conversion.
> Pro Tip: From proposal creation to real-time project documentation, DASH is a project management tool that’s designed specifically for the restoration space.
Step #6: Implement Reporting
To effectively grow a relationship, it’s important to understand it. Tracking all the data you can is key, but it’s just the beginning. To maximize the value of that data toward building the strongest possible customer relationships, you’ll need a sophisticated reporting tool to track trends and manage progress toward KPIs and other important metrics and milestones.
Reporting lets you see larger trends and opportunities that may be easy to miss on a day-to-day basis. It helps track referrals, and trace the most successful response to them. It also helps you seize on milestones and take the appropriate action — and then track your results over time, giving you the info to not only maximize each relationship but also continuously improve your overall services.
Step #7: Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Perhaps the most effective way to build better customer relationships — and a more direct way to accomplish most of the above goals — is to leverage CRM software that’s built specifically for the task. Today, there are more customer relationship management software solutions available than ever before, and even one that’s specifically designed for the property restoration space.
By streamlining sales processes, better organizing and managing contact info and other customer data, providing useful reporting tools, among other benefits, CRM software like LuxorCRM provides businesses with the tools they need to build stronger relationships, seize new opportunities, prioritize high-value projects, convert prospects to jobs, track referrals and conversions, and much, much more.