Keeping Customers: Do You Have Regular Clients Who Are Ready To Churn?
Keeping customers is just as important in construction as it is for any other business. The problem is that your customers are very often one-off — you do a job for them and they never need any more work. That is a problem because out-of-touch former customers are less likely to refer you to others who need what you sell. It’s a bigger problem though if you have customers who regularly come back to you for more projects like corporate clients and developers. So, as you think about how well you do at keeping customers, it’s wise to consider all the ways you inadvertently turn them off. You also need to think about new ways to reduce customer churn.
Keeping customers requires more than just doing a good job
Just what can construction companies learn from “churn?” It’s a metric for keeping customers. Marketers use the term to describe the customer revolving door in subscriber-based service models like cable TV and mobile phones. But, it can also relate to a construction business that gets regular work from the same clients, time and time again.
When you work for a particular owner on a succession of projects, or have a stream of new work from the same architectural firms, you might consider the case of churn. That’s because, at its very root, churn is really all about knowing your customers, knowing when they are happy with your product or service, and when they are not.
Case in point
A large cable company decided to attack its churn rate using a customer-centric approach. The company started a customer survey program targeting customers shortly after their service was up and running. That way, they could gauge the customer’s satisfaction with the sales process and the installation, as well as their satisfaction with the product.
They discovered that early and midterm customer satisfaction had the greatest effect on churn. But they also discovered that even though customers were more likely to switch providers in the 12 to 14 month range, they were actually making that decision around the ninth month into the contract.
The company set up a five question survey and started surveying customers at seven months after signup. The results showed the company where to focus its efforts in trying to keep customers who were most likely to switch providers.
The construction difference
There is one big difference here between the example and construction companies. Most construction firms have more than a “subscriber” level relationship with their clients. They have more face time, more meeting time and more time spent together in non-work activities. So while phone, mail or internet surveys may not fit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use some form of personal survey. Just because you played golf with a client yesterday, and they didn’t say anything about your company’s performance, doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion about it.
For construction companies, getting some insight into the list of clients who might “switch,” could happen by regularly asking all clients how satisfied they are with your performance. If areas of dissatisfaction surface, then you can address those before the client decides to find another builder.