As an HVAC industry pro, you know the importance of building a customer base. Tips and tricks and marketing tools abound, and you likely have a good idea what works and what doesn’t in your market. But what if there is an untapped market for your business, one that doesn’t require additional work making contacts and building a base? In other words, what can you do to increase profitability among the customers you already have? Many residential customers may go years without a specific complaint serious enough to warrant a service call. Here are some tips and tactics for you to consider that can help you get more business.
Before we get started, here’s one important caveat: let’s operate under the assumption that dishonest tactics might make money in the short term but are bad business in the long term. The tips you’ll find below do NOT include anything intentionally shady or deceptive. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started.
Tips for Getting More Business from your Current Customers
1. Offer a Service Agreement (Retainer Service)
If you don’t yet, consider setting up a service agreement (i.e., a subscription or retainer service). Some customers will pay monthly or yearly for the peace of mind of knowing that if something goes wrong, they will get priority service. This is also a good way to make money on regular AC unit service and maintenance. Customers are very likely to forget to schedule this manually, and it’s a hassle for your company to have to call customers to remind them to get this done. So if it’s built into your service contract or subscription service, not only will the units be better cared for, you’ll make regular money from these customers. It’s a win-win. The level of service you offer in this may need to scale with the size of your business. If you’re a one man show, you may not be able to promise 12- or 24-hour service in these contracts. But you can still monetize and make consistent your customers’ maintenance needs.
2. Stay Social All Year
If the only time your customers think of you is when their HVAC is broken, you’re doing it wrong! Use technology to your advantage. These days it’s incredibly easy to build an email database and you can also build a following on social media. Whenever you leave a satisfied customer, make sure you’re reaching them electronically. And then email and post regularly! If you live in a region with a definite slow season, use this time to build up a list of short posts and tidbits that you could send to your customer list via email. These electronic touches remind customers about you and can also include calls to action about potentially needed services.
3. Check In with Them
Let me illustrate: I know there’s something off with my home plumbing. It doesn’t seem to affect anything else, so I’ve just been ignoring it and haven’t called my plumber. But if he called me to check in, I would certainly mention it, and he might make some money off me.
The point? When business is slow, pick up the phone and start calling your customers. Ask them how they are and how their system is doing. You might be surprised to hear, “Well, you know, it’s doing this thing…” There you go; you’re in business.
4. Always Be Available (via Virtual Receptionist)
Unless your company is large enough to have an office with multiple people answering phones, it’s likely that at some point a customer will get sent to voicemail. And if you’re a one-man operation you certainly can’t interrupt the customer you’re currently with to answer the phone. But if a customer is having a crisis and you’re unreachable, he or she may reach for the phone book and start calling down the list until they find someone that answers. When this happens, best case, you lost some business; worst case, you lost a customer!
Hiring a virtual receptionist fixes this completely. You can rest assured that your customers will reach a live human, and you can focus on what you do best rather than on answering the phone.
Consider whether there are any add-on services you don’t currently offer, but with a little extra study or training you could. One popular area is air duct and dryer vent cleaning. Another option is offering an HVAC efficiency check-up, which allows you to identify ways to improve the customer’s home or business. And if you can offer to procure and install efficiency upgrades, that could become another revenue stream. The “free system inspection” is far from a new idea, but it can go a long way. You can find problems before they become crises, and most low- or average-information customers will be grateful to spend the money now to avoid the crisis later.
If you’ve yet to implement one or more of these 5 methods, consider making the change today.
Mr. HVAC wants to thank our guest contributor – JC Heating & Cooling.
JC Heating & Cooling, Inc is here to help with the heating and cooling systems in your home or office. Our combination of skills and services make us your best choice. All JC Heating & Cooling, Inc technicians are factory trained and certified, and we offer flat rate pricing that lets you know up front how much your HVAC installation will cost. We serve the North and South West Suburb areas and can provide same-day or next-day service in most cases. We also offer hvac emergency service and free estimates on heating & cooling equipment.