As a contractor, it is important to know what rebates are available to both residential and commercial customers. This will allow you to act more as a consultant and less like a “sales rep”. Help your customer compare products, understand which rebates are available to them, and walk them through the submission process to insure they actually get their credit. This type of first class service encourages referrals and repeat business.
Find rebates in your state at http://www.dsireusa.org.
If you’ve been in business a few years, you’ve probably heard about creating “raving fans” for your business. This term was created by author Ken Blanchard in the mid 1990s to describe a customer who is so overwhelmed and floored by the customer experience they’ve had that they can’t stop telling everyone about it. The benefits of creating “raving fans” are integral to ensuring your business is successful and continues to thrive and can be ultimately be very important to your bottom line.
In the competitive HVAC business it is important to create loyal customers who would not consider looking elsewhere for service. These same customers are also a great source of new customers, as they will always refer your business when asked by friends, family and colleagues. It’s not that difficult to create “raving fans” for your business. Here’s some tips to help you get started:
- Always keep your commitments. The old saying “your word is your bond” has never been more true in creating “raving fans.” If you tell a customer you are going to do something, you must deliver on your promise. Companies that make empty promises just to gain business usually end up out of business. The best way to create customers who will become advocates for your business is to keep your commitments and promises. If a situation comes up that is out of your control making it impossible to honor your commitment, you must make sure to keep the customer informed and do everything you can to make it right.
- Educate your customers. You can create raving fans by providing them information on what is happening with products and services on a regular basis. Let them know when new products or services are available, if a promotion is around the corner, or if there is an unexpected issue with a product so it can be repaired or replaced. Also, provide them with information about new trends in energy efficiency, smart home products and other ways they can manage their energy use and save money. Becoming a trusted energy and HVAC advisor will go a long way to ensuring they turn to you when they need an HVAC company in the future.
- Always provide consistent service. Customers like to feel like they know what they are going to get when they deal with a business. It gives them a level of comfort and security and takes the guesswork out of the equation and creates loyalty. Create consistent policies, paperwork, procedures and even signage on your trucks and the way your tech staff uniforms look. This tells your customer that you are detail oriented about how you run your business which gives them confidence in how their service will be performed.
- Acknowledge and fix problems. If you avoid customer complaints or issues they will start to avoid you. Honoring your commitment, educating the customer on what can be done, and making sure you are consistent will keep them coming back. Chances are they will tell their friends how well you handled the problem and generate more business for you.
- Go Above and Beyond – Always approach every customer interaction with a “ let’s find the best solution” mentality. This means that you look at every angle of the customer’s situation and need and provide the highest quality solution that will benefit them, not just a “cookie-cutter” approach or one that provides you with more profit. Customers will appreciate that you are taking all the issues into consideration and listening to their needs and will return that with loyalty and lots of referrals.
- Make Your Staff Real Believers– Some of your biggest critics can be your own employees. Work with your staff to make sure they are completely on board with providing the highest customer service possible and ask for suggestions on how they can participate. A “top down” strategy is sometimes not well received in the “trenches” when they are faced with a variety of issues. Engage your staff and solicit feedback on their “real world” experiences to ensure that every aspect of the operations is contributing to create a positive customer experience.
- Internalize customer service processes. The best way to get your employees to embrace great customer service is through role-playing different situations. These exercises should only take a few minutes and should occur frequently. This allows employees to internalize the process and represent your business to the customer in a way that’s different from your competition — a way that the employees feel comfortable with.
- Empower employees to make decisions. The answer to great customer service isn’t a locked-down process, but rather giving the right tools to employees so that they can make quick, intelligent decisions without permission. The secret of “raving fan” customer service is never letting a customer walk away with a problem. This means the employees solve many problems, large and small each day.
CE wants to help you create “raving fans” by providing you with all the support you need for your HVAC business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Visit http://www.carrierenterprise.com to take advantage of our online ordering to ensure you get your products when and where you need them.
Starting the week feeling a bit less enthusiastic than you were to enter the weekend? Be inspired by quotes from the greats:
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” – Theodore Isaac Rubin
Embracing failure is the key to succeeding. Sound contradictory? Here are some famous failures you can learn from.
- James Dyson made 5,126 attempts before inventing the bagless vacuum cleaner. According to the Sunday Times Rich List his net worth was $3.25 billion in 2013.
- Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
- 12 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling’s book about a boy wizard before a small London house picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Read “30 Powerful Quotes on Failure” from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/30/30-powerful-quotes-on-failure
The internet is a wonderful source for leads. Today, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be used to generate new business. Perhaps the most underutilized tool for reaching the public is YouTube. By creating short, helpful videos HVAC companies can capture the attention of potential customers searching online. Some of the benefits of YouTube videos include:
- Rank highly in search engines
- Create strong links to your main website
- Can be viewed on mobile devices
- Help customers engage
- Defuse a confusing subject with visuals
Read more about “Using YouTube to Promote Your HVAC Business” at http://news.carrierenterprise.com/2015/09/03/using-youtube-to-promote-your-hvac-business
TUESDAY’S TIP: Marketing is an important aspect of growing any business. Regardless of what industry you’re in, a message needs to be communicated multiple times before it begins to resonate. HVAC companies who are actively marketing through email or direct mail campaigns must remember to REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT! Once is simply not enough. Research shows that consumers must hear or see a message seven times before it sticks. So if you’ve mailed only one post card and wonder why the phone is not ringing it may be time to send a follow-up letter. Decision makers are only human. They may have missed the first mailer or simply need a reminder. Help customers do business with you by putting your marketing on repeat.
2016 is here and it’s time to set some marketing goals for your business – and what better way than with New Year’s Resolutions?
Many HVAC businesses have paid little attention to their online marketing, and it shows. Here are a few ways to improve your online presence without breaking the bank. These ideas are easily implemented and can change how customers view you on the web.
- BRAND YOUR EMAIL: Update your email address from a free one to a branded one. Are you willing to lose a sale because someone doesn’t trust the email email@example.com? It’s very easy to get a branded one – and fairly inexpensive. Buy a domain name at GoDaddy.com and build the brand of your business with an email that looks professional. Bonus tip: Get an email address for every employee in your company.
- POLISH UP YOUR WEBSITE: A better website also means more trust from potential customers. If you don’t have one, find a local web designer and have them put one together for you. It’s the foundation for all of your other digital activity. If you do have one, make sure it’s updated, and ensure that it’s mobile friendly —upwards of 50% of your local traffic probably comes from a mobile device, AND Google will be more likely to display your site during searching if you’re mobile ready. That means more eyeballs on your business!
- SOUP UP UP THE SOCIAL: A CE dealer in the Midwest earned a $30,000 job by responding to a question about a bid on Facebook. Social media like Facebook and Twitter don’t have to be difficult to maintain, but consistency is key: Set a goal to post on a regular basis. Make sure that you also take the time to respond to questions and comments directed towards your business in these channels.
- REV UP THE REVIEWS: Since the internet can help you to establish consumer trust, it’s important to encourage good reviews. Have customers post to Yelp, Google, or Facebook about positive interactions they’ve had with your business. You could make it a competition to see which of your service techs can get reviews.
With these 4 resolutions, you can establish a better digital presence in 2016. None are expensive, and they’ll pay for themselves over and over as customers look for an HVAC business online!