Homeowners want to buy from people they know and like. That's the thinking behind a new program at Pinnacle Energy, Towson, Md., that's designed to multiply the number of points of contact with customers. Interactions are entered into the company database to ensure that everyone has access. The objectives are to improve work flow, eliminate customer conflicts, increase add-on sales, and boost referrals.

“There are too many businesses out there that sell the customer, get them approved, then put them at the back of the line,” says co-owner Carlo Pinto.

Communication Opportunities The program, which was developed by Pinnacle employees, assures at least 10 contacts with the customer in the course of a job.

The day after the sale, Pinto or his co-owner call to introduce themselves. They thank the customer, let them know Pinnacle is a local business, tell them to feel free to call with questions and concerns. The call is also an opportunity to head off possible cancellations.

Within two days of the sale, the measurement team calls to introduce itself and make an appointment to take exact measurements.

Also within two days, and for the approximately 70% of customers who use financing, the finance department calls to let homeowners know financing is in progress.

Within five days, finance calls to schedule document signing.

Within one to two weeks, the homeowner gets a call to say that the job's on order and that Pinnacle will call again to schedule installation.

Within two to three weeks, the salesperson sends a personalized thank-you card.

About a week before the product is expected, the customer is contacted by the installation department and told to expect a call to schedule installation.

Installation is scheduled. At that time, Pinnacle tells the customer what to expect during the job and for some jobs, like windows, suggests removing pictures and other fragile items from walls.

On the day of installation, the company makes an early morning call to verify that installers are there. If the customers aren't home, a second call is made, letting them know work has started.

The last contact in the sequence is made when the job is complete and the customer has done the walk-through. “We verify they're happy and schedule a time to pick up payment,” Pinto says.

Positive Results Results have been substantial and quick to come, Pinto reports. Customers are much more amenable if a problem arises. The company is paid more quickly. And referrals are up from two a month to eight. “We sold a $15,000 job last month,” Pinto says. “The next day, a neighbor called and we sold them. Then, while that job was being installed, we got a call from another neighbor and sold them.”