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Getting the referral

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  #1  
Old 01-05-2002, 07:18 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Getting the referral

After you do a restoration for someone, the bill is paid and the customer's happy, is that the end of it? Are you ever in contact with the customer again, or do you just hope he'll put in a good word for you? What should we do to help insure a recommendation from him?

Ed
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Old 01-11-2002, 07:32 PM
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99% of the time if the customer is happy with the work they come back with more jobs and in the mean time tell others about the service. Repeat customers are usually a sign that you must be doing something right, or else they are masochists. Tom
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Old 01-11-2002, 08:56 PM
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I guess I agree with Tom, if they are happy they will tell others and they will return. I usually just leave it up to them.
DJ
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Old 01-12-2002, 04:00 AM
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When I was a capitalist all the prints and repair stuff going out (Not Masters) had a discreet sticker on the back with the labs contact details. Cost pennies but one never really had any means of quantifying their effectiveness. Got repeat business though.
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Old 01-13-2002, 01:09 PM
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Christmas cards to clients works wonders - January is always one of our highest grossing months and I'm sure it must be because of the reminder that we are here and appreciate our clients.

Jim Conway
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Old 01-13-2002, 07:27 PM
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I think a personal call to the customer, maybe 6 months or so down the road is good too. You could tell the customer that you were just interested in the reactions of other people towards the restoration, and ask if they might have any suggestions as to how you could provide better service. Just let them know that you're still interested in their level of satisfaction. Finding reasons to contact past customers is a proven way of getting more work. You need to keep your name in front of them every so often or they tend to forget about you.

Ed
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Old 01-13-2002, 10:22 PM
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I'll respectfully disagree with your thought of asking the customer how you can improve your services Ed. Although I am a strong believer in surveys, I have them done with random phone calls. (in fact some of them have been published in other forums). I would worry that I'd be setting up "doubts" in the mind of my clients if I ask them directly what I should be doing. It seems to me that it might raise the idea that we are concerned about our professional standing.

I go in the opposite direction in our occasional mailings and "drop names" - for example citing a recent photo materials analysis we did for The American Institute of Physics ... or our loan collection on Photo Conservation (30x40 story boards) being requested by the Curator for exhibit at the historical society during one of their special fund raising events, ...things like that.

Jim Conway
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Old 01-14-2002, 05:37 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I like Jim's approach, although I would never make the call in the first place. I would go with a postcard instead. It's non-intrusive, and it' something they can post on the fridge as a reminder. I don't know about anyone else, but the majority of people I know, don't like receiving sales calls, no matter how they're disquised. To me, the whole idea of sales calls seems outdated, cheap, and desperate.
Ok, I know a postcard costs money, and people could see it as junk mail, but I still think the odds are better.
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Old 01-14-2002, 09:30 AM
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Excellent points from both of you, and certainly something to consider when making any type of contact. But I'm a firm believer that you need to keep your past customers aware of the fact that you're still around. There are a lot of ways to do that, and the phone call might not be the best way.

Ed
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Old 02-05-2002, 11:56 AM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Referrals

Don't know if this fits into this conversation or not, but I got two good jobs in yesterday from referrals from the Historic Preservation League. You can get involved in membership at the national or local level and it 's a great group of people with a common interest.

Because their magazine, newsletters and literature are slanted toward building restorations, you might not think about it for photo work, however, it's much like selling antique hardware, the people that work on these historic homes are interested in decor that includes old photos ...their own family if they have them and if not, whatever they can find that will do the job.

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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