A Big Marketing, Business and Sales Mistake That You Can Profit From

A short while back I had a great experience with a plumbing and HVAC company. But recently I opened a letter from them and was totally disappointed.

About a year ago we had a water softener and filtration system installed. It took the Well Company about two days to complete the job. At the end of day to the technician informed me that “All was set!” He told me that it would take about two hours to get hot water as the tank needs to fill up again. Hours later, still no hot water. We opted for heating up water on the stove instead of cold showers. After all, it was winter time.

We wanted to get a plumber to our house right away, but settled on one who could get to us first thing in the AM. They showed up, they were very professional; they put plastic covers over their boots so they wouldn’t track outside dirt on our hardwood floors. Then, they told us what the problem was; the element in the electric hot water heater was “fried.” They said it was “dry-fired.” They took care of it and we got our hot water back. As they were going over the bill with us they offered (and we accepted) a diamond membership. As a side note we luckily hadn’t paid the Well Company, so you can guess who ended up covering our bill. The diamond membership had some cool benefits. But honestly, being a business and marketing consultant, I simply liked their style and the fact that they got the job done! We used this plumbing and HVAC Company a few more times throughout the year.

It’s this “diamond membership” and the way they went about attempting to have us renew it that you’re gonna learn from.

I get this letter from them that looks like an invoice. At first I’m wondering “what’s up” because as far as I know they haven’t been to our house is a few months. I look closer and it’s an invoice for $90.00, the yearly fee for the diamond membership. But here’s the first BIG mistake…

The invoice was all that was in the envelope. No re-explanation of all the valuable diamond benefits. No “thanks for being a diamond member!” And the kicker, a notice that finance charge will be added for late payments! Like I signed some contract to be a diamond member for the rest of my life? Hum, if I did, someone at consumer affairs will hear about it! I also wondered if their dressing up the renewal notice as an invoice was an attempt to fool me – I’m actually a little insulted.

Lesson- Don’t take it for granted that your customers will just “renew” because you said so. This renewal notice should have been accompanied by a sales letter about the benefits of membership along with some irresistible free offer for renewing. Maybe they throw in a check of all systems. Anything of value would suffice. On to the next lesson…

They should be reselling this membership more often than once per year. I don’t associate this treatment with anything “diamond.” Next lesson…

After they apply the first two lessons they’d be ready to implement lesson three. These types of programs are perfect for auto-renew. There’s two ways to do that… They could bill their customers’ credit cards automatically, (As long as the customer agreed in advance). Or, they could make this membership seem less expensive while actually earning more revenue. All they’d have to do is charge eight or nine dollars per month billed to a credit card and their renewals would sky-rocket!

I just couldn’t help myself! These were just obvious improvements that could have been made to this company’s system of taking care of their “best customers.” But I guess they’ll be left to blame their customers or the economy for their lack of care and sloppy work!