by Jessi Burg and Kelly Sullivan
If you run a service-based business, then you know all about juggling a thousand tasks an hour. While this is an impressive skill, running your business this way quickly leads to burnout.
We all know that client communication is one of the trickiest parts of running a service business. Every client needs something different, and you end up spending extra time answering questions that don’t lead to jobs. Not every piece of your business has to require your constant energy and attention. There are ways that you can consolidate your efforts while still getting things done.
Sending a post-project email is hard (but still important) when you have 50 unread emails stacking up. One of the best ways to stay on top of your client communication is to build templates for the most common scenarios in your business.
Templates are the key to staying consistent while providing the best customer experience possible. Each big step of your process should be covered, from pre-job communication to sending an estimate to following up after the project is finished.
Building templates that are easy to send ensures that you and your clients are getting all of the information needed to get the job done right. It also shows that you are organized, thorough, and prepared.
Here are our top 3 client communication templates that every service business should have.
- Initial Contact Response Template
After your first contact with a potential client, you should walk away with everything you need from them after the initial conversation.
Whether you connect through Facebook, text or email, what is the key information that you need from a client beyond their name and contact information? Build a template that cuts right to the chase during this stage to eliminate unnecessary back-and-forths.
For example, if you run a painting company, you may need to know:
- Is this property commercial or residential?
- Are you painting the interior or the exterior?
- Do they already have the paint or do you need to provide it?
- What is their budget?
If you are a wedding photographer, you might want to know:
- The date of their wedding
- Do they need engagement photos?
- Have they looked at your website and your work, and know that your style is what they are going for?
Think about the most important information to know about your business, and write your own list. If you want, you can even turn this into a form that you send to potential clients before scheduling an estimate.
- Follow-Up Template
Whether you make a connection at a networking event or a backyard barbecue, it is important to maintain your brand by following up in a timely manner. If you have a template built, you can modify it based on the situation and send it out quickly and easily.
“Hi [insert name here],
It was great to meet you at the [insert event here]. Thanks for talking to me about your project! [Insert details about project or conversation].
When do you want to have a follow up call to [insert follow up action here]? Feel free to take a look at the project gallery and FAQ pages on [insert website here] in the meantime to get a feel for what I do.”
You can modify the wording to fit your company, but no matter how you use it, you’ll be able to remember where you met someone and what you talked about easily.
With a template like this, you can also direct people to where they can find more information about your company. This will show your potential clients that you were listening to their needs and that you understand what their project could involve.
- Post-Job Template
An “end of job email” is (in our opinion) the single most important email you will send in terms of client retention and word of mouth referrals.
Sending an email at the end of a job saying thank you, providing your contact information, and giving them options for any future questions, is going to show that you are dedicated to the quality of your company and your work.
You can send it as part of the invoice, or as a separate follow up at a later time. You want to ensure that you:
- Thank the client for using your company
- Provide information about who to contact with questions about the job
- Provide care or maintenance information if needed
- Provide information about future services they might need from your company
- Any other information they might need about your company or their project
For example, if your deck company builds someone a cedar deck, you may want to include in your post-job email template things like what to do if they notice any loose boards, how often they should re-stain the deck, or information about your maintenance services.
If you don’t offer maintenance services, give them a referral to another company that does. Writing this template in advance will save you time at the end of each job, and show clients that you stand behind your quality of work.
Templates will assist you in answering client communication easily and efficiently. If you have a checklist of things that you need and know exactly where all of your leads came from, you won’t spend nearly as much time answering repeats of individual emails. Every second counts!
Want more from Outgrow Your Garage?
-Support, connections and resources are invaluable tools for entrepreneurs. Small business owners from a variety of industries come together twice a week for Co-Working & Office Hours to work on their businesses, share insights, and troubleshoot issues. Running a business can feel isolating. You don’t have to do it alone!
-Business education should be easily accessible for everyone at an affordable price. We want you and your small business to succeed. No matter what area of your business you need help in, we offer a variety of business course topics that teach you how to turn your every day tasks into organized systems.