Crafting an Unforgettable Client Experience: Amplifying Referrals and Online Reviews

This article was first published in Deck Specialist Magazine in the September/October 2023 Issue.

Who needs marketing when you have an influx of referrals at your doorstep? If you’re a killer deck builder, you likely thrive on referrals with your signature deck style and strong reputation. But hey, in this fast-paced era, there’s an opportunity to shine even brighter! I’ll show you how to strategically craft an outstanding client experience that not only boosts referrals but also generates consistent online reviews – a game-changer for getting noticed on Google. 

Whether you’ve invested in ads, SEO, or are solely relying on referrals alone, the following techniques will empower you to take charge of your referrals and online reviews and take your client’s experience to the next level. Want your deck business to stand out as the preferred choice, with the best clients eagerly waiting in line to work with you?

Let’s start with the first step in this journey:

1. New Leads:

Confirmation pages – Welcome your leads warmly from the get-go. Redirect new leads from your website to a friendly confirmation page with details on what to expect next. Throw in some questions they should consider along with some helpful resources to help them prepare for their call with you and you’ve already leveled up more than 99% of builders out there. Bonus: add a video on the page giving them that personal feel.

Confirmation messages – reinforce the information via email & text so they don’t miss it.

Online scheduler – Leverage artificial intelligence to send only qualified leads to an online scheduler to book their initial consultation call with you. Your clients will appreciate the convenience and efficiency and it saves you time too!

Automated “missed call” text message – Responding promptly to leads shows your dedication and keeps the conversation alive, even when you’re busy. Leverage technology to send out an automated text message when you miss their call letting them know that you’ll get right back to them. Even better give them the link to fill out your lead qualifying form. 

2. Qualified Leads:

Automated appointment reminders – Your promising leads deserve some tender loving care. Let them know you are on top of everything for them; send automated email & text appointment reminders to keep things moving. 

Automated estimate reminders – Prompt them into action with automated estimate reminder emails, so they know you’re eager to bring their outdoor living space to life.

3. “Not Quite Ready Yet” Leads:

Long-term nurture email campaign – Nurture these leads patiently with well-crafted email campaigns set in drop mode automatically. Let them know what’s different about you, your values, share reviews, your best projects, tips, etc.

Automated email campaigns – Keep their interest alive by sending them emails that showcase your latest deck masterpieces or blog articles. You can do this on autopilot by connecting your email software to your website’s RSS feed.  

Re-engagement campaigns – Win them back with strategic re-engagement campaigns, reminding them of the potential of working with you. This can be done via online remarketing ads or automated email campaigns.

4. Clients:

New client onboarding emails – Once your clients have committed to the project, guide them through the process with “onboarding” drip emails. These thoughtful touches reassure them that they made the right choice with your deck business as well as reinforce important information they need to know along the way.

Automated review requests & reminders – After the project, gather stellar reviews by sending perfectly timed review request emails and text messages. A satisfied client is more than happy to share their experience and recommend you to others. 

Have a finely tuned referral program & promote it! – With a well-defined referral program, you can incentivize clients to refer friends and family, expanding your referral network. Map it out whether it be a monetary reward, a gift or a party on their new deck, then tell them about it via automated emails.

Thank you gifts – Show your appreciation to clients with a thoughtful “thank you” gift. A small gesture can leave a big impact on their overall experience. Furniture gift card, money back, a new grill? While a thank you card is nice, a memorable gift is more impactful. You can automate even sending them the gift with various software. Or, just use email to build anticipation about the gift coming their way.

Post project “check-in” messages – Stay connected for the long haul with and go the extra mile with considerate “check-in” emails or text messages. Your clients will feel valued, knowing you care about their satisfaction beyond the project’s completion. See how they are enjoying their new deck, if they have any questions or just let them know that you are still thinking about them. Send them a “Happy Anniversary” email one year after their deck was completed.  Again, all of this can be on autopilot.

BONUS: Retargeting Postcards – Your Secret Weapon to Stay Ahead!

In today’s digital world, where everyone is bombarded with online ads, sometimes a touch of old-school charm can work wonders. Design a captivating postcard and let technology find the physical addresses of website visitors who haven’t converted into leads yet. 

So, where does your deck business stand?

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to leverage communication, marketing channels, and technology to create a world-class client experience that has everyone buzzing.

But that’s not all – remember, the first impression matters! We’ll cover how to shine before people even get to your website or social media in future articles.

With that said, I want to challenge you to think about the experience you bring to the table before, during, and after the project is complete. Map out your customer journey and level up those touch points. Just like serving freshly ground pepper versus crusty old plastic salt & pepper shakers, the little details can elevate your deck business from good to exceptional. 

Embrace the power of small nuances to amplify your referrals and make your deck business the talk of the town! 

Until next time, keep moving forward.


April Edwards

Owner & Lead Marketing Strategist
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