Is it complaining or invaluable business consulting? Depending on the way you look at it, customer feedback, even it it’s negative, provides a valuable yet often overlooked resource, particularly for field service businesses.

As CRM Buyer‘s Christopher Bucholtz points out in “Missed Customer Loyalty Opportunities,” the relationship building cycle between company and customer is littered with pitfalls, despite the prevalence of so many new Web-based tools and technologies. Customer information is collected, entered into databases and analyzed by expensive CRM software. And for what? All too often, that effort is wasted.

Taking a closer look at the path from the first point of contact with a customer to customer loyalty typically reveals plenty of unfinished business. Don’t let all that data fall by the wayside. Bucholtz suggests regularly emailing customers as a way to promote upselling. Recommending ways to properly use your products and services also adds value and strengthens loyalty.

In a recent Q&A with The SmartVan, Sonnhalter’s Aylie Fifer counts a comprehensive lead generation system and persistent follow up as one of the most important marketing tactics field service managers should be using to grow their business. “I think one of the issues a lot of companies deal with is not being able to see a valid history of how they’ve interacted with a client,” Fifer says. “Or they missed opportunities because they couldn’t track someone along the path from being a prospect to being a customer and everything in between. You want to be able to nurture them if, for instance, they call you out for a simple service call. I think that being able to have an accurate history of your series of contacts with customers is extremely valuable.”

More tips for building customer relations on The SmartVan.

More about ServiceMax.

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.