Ben Landers
Ben Landers

In 2013, using a piece of software developed by my company, I reviewed and analyzed more than 10,000 HVACR contractor websites. This year, the list has grown to include more than 12,000. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve put my eyes on more HVACR contractor websites than just about anyone on the planet.

In reviewing so many websites from the same industry, you start seeing some pretty interesting trends. This year, I was taken back by the number of HVAC websites that have repeated mentions of “great service” (or some variation of) and a prominent link from the website to a
Facebook page.

I’m sure you’re asking, “What’s so interesting about that?”

Let me explain.

Maximize a Prospect’s Time on the Web

I can’t get over how many HVACR contractors place social media icons prominently at the top of their sites — often right next to their phone numbers or the schedule-an-appointment button. Why would you pay money to bring prospects to your website only to direct them to the world of endless distractions that is Facebook, Twitter, etc.? Think about it — which is the more effective sales rep, your company’s Facebook page or your website? Let’s hope you said the latter.

Most of you reading this probably have no idea of the percentage of Facebook visitors that is converted into leads because you’re not tracking things correctly. But, let me tell you, if you were, I’d bet you’d find that it’s probably one half to one third the success of your website. Social media icons should be on your website, but they shouldn’t be where most contractors place them. Perhaps, what I should say is: Your social media icons shouldn’t be where your Web guy/gal put them.

Listen While You Link

Some of you might disagree with me on the placement of social media icons, and that’s fine. Maybe your Facebook page is an exception to the rule and/or your main website is in need of some serious help. However, there can be no argument on what I’m about to say next, which is this: If you are going to link from your website to your Facebook page (Twitter, YouTube, etc.), and you’re going to tout great customer service, you’d damn well better be listening to — and responding to — prospects and customers via those sites. In my experience, there aren’t many HVACR contractors following through on their end of the conversation.

I can’t tell you how many times I see posts like this on social media:

I was told a few hours ago that somebody would be calling me. But, I’ve waited this long. What’s a few more days? So long as you understand why my bill isn’t paid yet.

The biggest issue with that message isn’t related to poor service, but it sounds like there are some opportunities for improvement. The real problem is that the company to which this message was sent likely didn’t receive it until many days (or weeks) later. Although the business prominently displays its Facebook icon on the website — right near the phone number — the company doesn’t treat Facebook messages the same as it would an inbound phone call. This is a big mistake.

Social Media: More than Marketing

Most social media sites, especially Facebook, are equal parts public relations/news desk, lead generation/marketing channel, and customer service help desk. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms matters not. I know it was your goofus marketing guy that demanded you place those social media icons so prominently on your site, but the minute you do that, your business processes must change.

The Web has fundamentally changed prospect and customer expectations and communications. Before the Internet, it was easy caveat emptor — buyer beware. Companies could easily claim great customer service — whether it was provided or not. Today, with the Web, we live in a world that is caveat venditor — seller beware. Every consumer has a giant megaphone at his or her fingertips. It’s up to you to determine whether he or she should use it to build or destroy your business.

Publication date: 1/26/2015

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