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Good Customer Service Knows No Season

July 30, 2007
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I spent some time in our service department this morning and was happy to see that the calls were really coming. We are in a hot spell here in St. Louis and in talking with several other contractors everyone is getting a good share of calls.

When I returned this afternoon, the calls were still coming and I could tell everyone was getting a little tired. I gave them some encouraging words and reminded them that this is the time we have to “make hay while the sun shines.”

MAINTAINING AN EVEN LEVEL OF SERVICE

As I thought about what they were going through, I was reminded about how important it is in these really busy times to not forget about the importance we put on serving each and every customer. When we get busy it becomes easy to forget the basic doctrines upon which we operate. Our goal is to provide the very best service and to treat every customer as if he or she is our only customer. This is fairly easy to do in the slow months like February and March. It’s not nearly as easy to do when calls are coming faster than they can be recorded. However, that busy time, when we have all of those calls, is just the time that we have to concentrate the most on properly serving the customer.

Remember, no customer is interested in hearing about your problems and how many service calls you have to schedule. They are only interested in when you are going to take care of their problem.

The good part is that if you really concentrate on providing your high level of service, look at how many people you are serving and (hopefully) making happy.

Also, when you are servicing all of those customers it’s a perfect opportunity to have your service technicians recommend a maintenance agreement. If a customer has been without a/c for a period of time and your service technician finds a dirty condensing coil, shouldn’t it be easy for the service technician to suggest that a maintenance agreement might have prevented them from being without a/c? (For a copy of our maintenance agreement and our promotional piece, just contact me at the e-mail address shown).

EVERY CUSTOMER IS A REFERRAL

Let’s get back to not letting the quality of your service decline just because you are busy. Remember the customer expects that as air conditioning service people you have the resources available to serve them when it’s hot. They don’t care about the fact that last week it was in the 70s and you weren’t getting any calls. Today it’s in the 90s and everybody is calling. That’s a good problem to have, but one that obviously must be managed. Look at some of the numbers below. Remember your customers tend to be more critical when they are uncomfortable, and therefore the negative numbers may be even higher if they are not serviced properly and are still uncomfortable.

According to recent Better Business Bureau studies conducted by Technical Assistance Research Programs Inc. (TARP) of Arlington, Va.:

• Word of mouth is the most important factor influencing a customer’s decision to buy from your company.

• Dissatisfied customers tell between 8 and 16 other people when they have had an unsatisfactory experience with a company.

• Negative information has twice the impact of positive information on purchasing decisions.

• It costs between two and 20 times as much to win a new customer as to retain an existing customer with a complaint.

To summarize is simple. Continue to do an excellent job of providing customer service - even if it’s more difficult when you are busy. With the statistics above, you can’t afford to have a single dissatisfied customer out there spreading bad word of mouth messages about your company.

Publication date: 07/30/2007
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