The HVAC business is lucrative if you can garner steady business in your area. If you have a small operation without a budget for TV, radio, and print advertising, that can be a difficult proposition. To compete with the bigger fish in your industry, you’ll need to on your game and able to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Outstanding customer service
There are some very specific activities that can mean the difference between inquiries turning into customers or them moving onto the next HVAC company. The very first one is responsiveness, and this might be tough if you’re out in the field making repairs and your home office is in your van. It’s alright if you don’t have the budget to hire a receptionist. There are several companies that offer Virtual Assistants or Receptionists for an affordable monthly fee.
Some virtual assistance companies can also handle email and social media inquiries, although these services tend to be more expensive. One way to DIY a higher email response rate is to spend an hour or so on a slow afternoon setting up your system notifications. For example, Google’s Gmail service allows you to turn on notifications for starred emails only (rather than every single one including the junk mail). Create a filter the email address that delivers your web inquiries so that they are automatically starred. You can do the same for social media inquiries if you turn on email notifications within the social media platform.
Empowering your customers by answering their questions immediately is another important feature of outstanding customer service. Whether you use an answering service or a live receptionist, make sure they have enough information at their fingertips to answer customers’ common general questions. Having a comprehensive FAQ page on your website for your online clients can also make all the difference in earning new business.
While the information may be located on your website, remember that if a customer called your business, it’s because they wanted the information via phone instead, so try to avoid message greetings directing them to your website. Help your support staff answer common questions like, “How much does a service call cost?” or “What’s the soonest a technician could come out?” or “Are you also a commercial HVAC contractor?” proactively so that the potential customer doesn’t need to call someone else to get the answers they need.
From a customer perspective, one of the most annoying phrases to hear is “…between the hours of 1 and 5pm.” What this really means to many customers is that you expect them to waste precious vacation time or sick leave so that they can be waiting at home for you to arrive. One of the most important ways to earn a new customer’s business is to structure your days so that you have time to schedule an appointment instead of a window.
Be as prepared as possible to handle simpler services onsite at the time of estimate to maximize your closing ratio. While you’ll need to be judicious about the inventory you keep, being able to handle some service calls will immediately impress your customer by saving them the hassle of a second visit. This is something few bigger companies can do these days because their whole business and administrative process is designed for a second visit.
Once you have an outstanding customer service program in place, you are ready to actively seek customers. You can use social media to provide annual specials, coupons, or spread the word about military discounts. You can also research companies that offer HVAC leads so that you can be laser-focused on a specific audience already interested in your services instead of blanketing the general public.
Either way, the first step in increasing your sales is always increasing your efficiency. It’s worth the time it takes to review your process and make as many improvements as possible to help you stand out from the competition.