The end of a service call with a new plumbing customer is a Marketable Moment; a shot at gaining a client for life or at least gaining some intel on how your marketing is doing. Train your techs—and incent them—to ask these questions and collect the answers.
1. How was my service today?
Always a good idea to confirm customer satisfaction at the end of the job? Of course. But also a smart defensive move to head off a bad review on Yelp or elsewhere. If you do get Yelp-slapped, you can calmly reply online that the customer said everything was hunky-dory at the time (then be big and still offer to make things right).
2. How did you hear about us?
This is a reality check on your marketing campaigns, particularly for leads who don’t come to you through track-able means like paid leads services, direct mail, coupons or calls from yellow page or pay per click ads. We’re talking billboards, truck wraps, movie theater ads, and most importantly, customers who find your site through web search or review sites. Also, referrals: Get the name and be sure to thank and reward the referring customer.
3. Do you use review sites? (And can I leave you this card with some links?)
OK, we’re trying to be tactful here: Review sites insist you shouldn’t be pushy about asking for reviews; in fact, Yelp says you shouldn’t even ask. But of course, you want customers who do use review sites to give you those stars. So make it easy on them. Give them a card with a link to a page on your website that in turn links to the review sites. Send them a reminder email with links to review sites.
Note to plumbers who think that reviews are mostly dangerous and, anyway, just for restaurants: For devoted users of Yelp, Angie’s List, etc., reviews are deciders on who to call. But it’s gone far beyond that—take a look at plumbing contractors ranking high on Google search return pages and you’ll see more gold stars than in a hallway at the Pentagon. It’s widely believed that Google counts the quantity and quality of reviews on Google+ and elsewhere in deciding how to rank sites. You can’t sit this one out.
4. Can we get your email address?
A big ask, as wary as people are of spam, so mention all the benefits they’ll get: coupons, special offers, priority service calls, rewards for referrals, monthly newsletter or whatever other perks you can offer for signing up. Let them know you’ll only email occasionally and never share the list. No matter how small you start off, an email list is a valuable marketing asset: cheap, attention grabbing and track-able.