now it’s 2011. How are you planning for this New Year? In some ways, it’s going
to be different than 2010. The tax credit has been cut one-third and doesn’t
sound near as inviting as the previous $1,500. And we can’t count on 100 degree
weather in July and August, although naturally that would be
Unfortunately, from what we can tell, the new residential market is going to
have a very slow recovery and will likely be only slightly better than last
year, if that. And even worse is the commercial market where our friends in
that business tell us it may not even hit bottom until the end of this year. It
sounds as if we all had better get to work and do some things to make sure we
will have a successful year.
For our company, we plan to get back to basics. We feel that the emphasis this
year is going to have to be on customer retention. By this I mean not only
retaining customers who have been past customers, but also making sure that we
retain new customers as our customers. Our main focus will be to emphasize selling
and retaining maintenance agreements. We have found the best way for us to
retain customers is to have them on our maintenance agreement program. If you
don’t have a strong program, now is the time to put one into place. To help you
start, I will be happy to send you our maintenance agreement itself, as well as
the promotional piece we use to explain the benefits to our customers if you
will just send me an e-mail.
The most important thing in starting to sell maintenance
agreements is to show your employees the benefits of those agreements to the
customers, as well as to them and the company. The service technicians need to
understand that when they sign up a maintenance agreement customer they are not
only ensuring the company of an additional maintenance call, but if they are
diligent and sell themselves as well, the customer is very likely to request
them for that next call.
In addition, in the event the customer needs emergency service, they are not
only going to call your company, but in many cases will request that specific
service technician. What better form of job security can there be? We provide
even more incentive to the service technicians to sell the maintenance
agreements by providing them a selling spiff on each one they sell. These
monies are recorded and given to them in a single check the first week in
December each year. By the way, we do it this way at the request of the
The benefits to the customer for you providing the maintenance are well
documented. Very few homeowners will properly clean condensing coils on outdoor
units and probably fewer will clean the burner area of their furnace. In
addition, the routine checking of vents and flues is a major safety benefit.
Our sales information brochure outlines all of the customer
The importance of maintenance agreements to the company cannot be overlooked.
On top of that list is the fact that it provides work for your service
technicians in the normally slow seasons. Next, in order of importance is the
fact that it makes the customer, your customer. That is when you have a
maintenance agreement with a customer; they feel you are their contractor.
Typically then, if they are in need of service or even replacement, at least
you are the first one they contact. While you may not be the only one contacted
for a replacement, if you have a done a good job of providing quality service
in the past, you certainly should have the best opportunity.
With new construction improvement - both residential and commercial - unlikely,
and with 100 degree weather unpredictable, don’t sit around and wait. Get that
maintenance agreement program going strong right now.