Transforming an average HVAC business into a thriving and profitable outfit depends on more than making your phone ring — it’s about increasing call conversion ratios that boost a business’s bottom line. Ignore this and you leave significant revenue-producing opportunities on the table, but just how much are we talking about?
The average HVAC company will book half of all incoming service calls. From there, highly skilled technicians will close about 80 percent of visits. Not bad, but imagine if you could increase that initial number of call conversions from half to something greater, allowing you to significantly raise your company’s revenue potential.
Say, for instance, your company’s average service ticket is $700. If you’re able to convert just five extra calls a week over the course of a year, you could potentially increase your profitability by nearly $182,000.
Creating a laser-focused plan to address this — from capitalizing on the calls your business already receives to secretly shopping your company for quality control — is easier than you might think.
SPOTTING AND AVOIDING ROADBLOCKS
Business leaders are often spread thin. Over time, competing priorities can cause you to take your eye off of the conversion process. One of the simplest ways to improve your business’s call-conversion rate is to avoid common roadblocks that hinder progress from the start. These warning signs are easy to spot when you know exactly what to look for:
• Poor identification of needs and priorities — Skilled customer service representatives are masters at both helping interpret the needs of prospective customers and offering your company’s solutions to address them. Failing to do this consistently contributes to less-than-stellar conversion rates.
• Misalignment of sales and the buying process — If your customer service representatives are out of sync with how your customers make buying decisions, they won’t be equipped to succeed. Prospective customers will become easily frustrated and they won’t get far through your sales process before seeking assistance from another company.
• Ignoring patterns in data — What good are sales metrics if the leadership team isn’t looking for patterns in the data captured? Using data to assess closing ability is a key to success. It provides leaders with evidence to make informed changes in training and personnel.
CREATING AN ACTION PLAN
A common concern in the contracting sector is that HVAC company leaders think they need to increase the volume of inbound calls, but, the reality is, they need a plan to maximize the calls their representatives already receive. One of the best ways to do this is to fine tune and refresh your customer service representative training.
• Refining skill development — Skill development is an ongoing process, not a one-time, daylong session. Training your customer service representatives on what to say and how to answer questions from potential customers is key. A combination of role-playing, joint calls, one-on-one mentoring, and meetings over time can make the difference in turning average reps into your top call convertors.
• Secretly shopping for insight — Having mystery shoppers call in and “test” your customer service representatives helps you evaluate several factors, including compliance and customer-service follow-up as well as closing technique. Though you may not always like what you experience, by putting yourself in the customers’ shoes, you’ll gain valuable insight to adjust the next step of your training-process overhaul.
• Tracking the right metrics — Think data is just for tech companies? Think again. Data is invaluable, but only if you’re tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs). Look at call frequency, lead generation, and appointment booking data over time. Setting benchmarks will incentivize your customer service representatives to push toward a higher standard.
A NEW STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE
On its own, a revamped call-conversion plan won’t ensure the long-term growth of your business. The true test is a solid commitment from leadership to follow through — one that evolves into high levels of employee buy-in and adoption, especially among customer service representatives.
It’s all a matter of perspective. HVAC companies must first recognize the quality of interactions during incoming calls matters just as much, if not more, than the volume of calls the company receives. By checking your blind spots that develop over time, you’re safeguarding your sales pipeline.
Spotting these roadblocks will allow you to create an action plan that will elevate the quality of your operation. From taking steps to nurture and develop skills over time to tracking the right metrics — all of these steps will help you achieve more conversions for a healthy, thriving HVAC business.
Publication date: 11/2/2015