Is Your Irrigation Business Making Customer Retention Mistakes?

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Business is good, right? The rest of the year is booked out (and you keep thinking if only I had more guys I could count on). You’re probably even turning away work…

…and wouldn’t it be great if that lasts? 

Today (as of this writing), the industry is booming like never before - double digits growth, year over year, for the past 5 years (at least). Everyone is busy. And the harsh reality is that it won’t last forever. So take a minute to understand the value of customer retention vs. the cost of customer acquisition. 

 

A few data points, from Harvard Business Review and Bain & Company

  • It costs at least 5x more to acquire new customers than to retain current ones… and that’s a conservative estimate
  • A 5% increase in retention increases profits by at least 25%... also a conservative estimate
  • And you don’t need a publication to tell you that it’s a hell of a lot easier to sell to a current customer, than to a new one who might not trust you

Here are the biggest mistakes some contractors make when it comes to customer retention: 

Lack of Communication

It doesn’t need to be complex. Use “transactional” emails to confirm an appointment, provide a reminder, and let the customer know the job is done. 

Use informational emails to prove your expertise and help educate the customer on the best things they can do to protect and maintain their system and their property, or give them a heads up if extreme weather might affect them (e.g. a snap freeze). Once a month is plenty!  

 

Don’t Ask for Feedback

A simple emailed survey after a job is complete to ask about their experience will give you near-real-time information. 

Would they recommend you? Will they give you a Google Review? Or is there a problem they’d like to discuss with a manager? Don’t let potential issues simmer! Customer service is still Rule #1.

 

Don’t Prove They Know Their Customers

Do your techs know - before they get out of the truck - how many zones there are, where the controller is, what type it is, where the backflow might be, and if there’s a dog on the property? 

Does your office manager know the last time you were onsite, why the job needs a follow-up, and if that client referred you to someone else? “These people know their stuff, they take care of me” is what you’re after. It’s what builds trust, and trust builds retention.

 

Don’t Look The Part

Expectations are higher than ever. Keep the trucks or vans clean, and make sure your logo is professionally displayed. 

Make sure your techs and crews wear a simple uniform (t-shirts and a baseball cap are fine!) and keep them stocked with extra shirts if they need a clean one. And the simplicity of a smile, a please and thank you, should never be underestimated.  



Don’t Know If They Could Do More

Do your techs identify a potential problem for a return visit? How about an old controller for a young homeowner, who might be interested in a wifi controller? What about old rotors that could be improved, and help save on their water bill? Capture this now and guarantee work later. 

 

The day will come when work isn’t as bountiful. Don’t forget, that a 5% increase in retention (or a reduction in churn) increases profits by at least 25%. Keep more of what you have, you’ve earned it. 

 

 

Irrigation Smart Controllers



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