The Importance of Customer Follow-Up

You’re losing out on potential jobs if you’re not prioritizing follow-up after making initial contact with a lead

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We all know the importance of generating new leads and bringing in more business. After all, more customers means more money. But have you considered how much money you’re losing out on by not following up with unclosed leads and sent estimates?

Many of us are so focused on new calls, new leads, and getting the job done that we forget or don’t take the time to follow up on estimates and unscheduled jobs. That is, until business slows down. Then we start digging through those old emails and old quotes to see who might be willing and ready to schedule.

Maybe you’re of the mindset that, once you provide the estimate, your work is done and it’s up to the customer to get in touch with you when he or she is ready to schedule. Maybe you’re of the mindset that you’re just too busy to follow up on every estimate and quote. Maybe you’re not sure how soon and how often you should follow up and you don’t want to feel like a bother to the customer. But leaving things entirely in the hands of the customer is a poor choice.

There could be many reasons why a customer doesn’t call to schedule after an initial estimate. The truth is:

   •     Your customers get busy and forget.

   •     Many customers experience sticker shock because it’s an unexpected expense and they have no idea what’s involved in a plumbing project or repair.

   •     Many customers simply have questions and need to be walked and talked through, not only the service or project, but the value you bring.

   •     Some plumbing issues and repairs fall under the “emergency” or “immediate need” category, but others may be less urgent. Customers may schedule the estimate in order to get an idea of how much money they need to set aside for the project.

If you don’t take the time to follow up at least once or twice, you may never know what’s preventing your customers from moving forward. They may simply want to revisit the project again in a couple of months, but if you don’t follow up and talk with your customer, you’ll never know when you need to reach out again to talk about getting that project on the books.

The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I really willing to spend money marketing and advertising my business, only to let a large portion of the business those dollars bring in go to waste?” There could be thousands of dollars falling through the cracks and most of us completely miss it because we don’t have a follow-up system in place.

Making It Manageable

We all know the life of a business owner is packed with long to-do lists, but if you’re not giving follow-ups high priority, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice. Think about it: You’ve already done the work of attracting the customer and providing the estimate or quote for the job — why let that time and money go to waste by letting that job slip under the radar?

Instead, set up email sequences and use them to automate the follow-up process or delegate the task to an administrative person in your office. Even if you don’t have the budget to invest in automated systems at the moment or the workforce to delegate follow-ups, you can still make following up a manageable part of your business. Here are a couple of tips:

   •     As soon as you send an estimate, set a reminder in your phone or put a sticky note on your desk (if your desk is organized enough that you’ll see it later) to call or email your customer within a couple of days.

   •     Set aside a window of time once a week just for follow-ups. During that window of time, focus entirely on following up on the estimates and calls from earlier in the week. Make it part of your weekly workflow to follow up on all estimates done each week.

Whether you do it manually or automatically, you need to be following up. Do you have a system in place to ensure you’re not letting potential jobs fall between the cracks? 

About the Authors

Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins are the co-hosts of the Blue Collar Proud (BCP) Show, a podcast that’s all about having and living the blue-collar dream, and co-authors of the book Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Hill and Harkins also co-founded Spark Marketer, a Nashville-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation, aiming to change the perception of blue collar work and serve those who serve the world. Visit bcpshow.com.



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