HVAC Contracting: The Four Stages of Customer Service
Every HVACR business exists to serve customers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just one person in a van or you own a large company with many trucks in your fleet, every contractor serves customers in some way.
Chances are, you might agree with this and even profess your own business’s stated goal of putting customers first and serving them as much as possible.
What you might not realize is that there are four stages of customer service. Each stage corresponds to a level of service you provide your customers. Interesting to note is that each stage also corresponds to a different level of profitability generated by your business.
HVACR businesses that are stuck in stage one or stage two are nowhere near as profitable as the businesses that have ascended to stage three or even stage four.
While it doesn’t matter whether you’re operating a small business or a large one, your business is currently in one of these stages and can become more profitable and successful if you move to the next stage.
This article lays out the four stages of customer service, so you can see where you are now and where you could be if you want to have a stronger, more profitable business. While no two businesses are the same, these four generalizations will help you build a plan to take your business to the next level and beyond.
Stage 1: The Technician — You got into the business because you had an in-demand skill that you knew was in demand. People relied on you to help them, and you applied all your technical knowledge to help them. Your customer service was minimal because you were focused on delivering your skills. You built a customer base of people who saw you as a commodity and paid you as such.
Stage 2: Satisfied Customers — After spending a few years as a technician, perhaps you noticed how your happiest customers were the ones who called you back or referred other people to you. Suddenly, you became much more focused on ensuring your customers were satisfied when you finished the job. Your delivery of customer service probably includes being polite, using the customer’s name, and showing up on time. Many HVACR companies only grow to this point. Yes, even the large ones often only grow to here. But, there are still two stages beyond this that you can take your business to.
Stage 3: Wow Service — When HVACR businesses strive to satisfy customers, they wonder why those satisfied customers don’t ever call for more work or make good referrals. This is because there are many HVACR businesses striving to satisfy customers, so customers get the same level of service from everyone. Yes, the “great” service you think you’re providing is really just the same level as everyone else.
When that realization strikes, only a few HVACR businesses know what to do — they step up to the next level and try to wow their customers and shock them by delivering such amazing service that the customer is left in awe.
They figure out what everyone else is doing and take their service to a whole new level to create a true experience for their customers.
The HVACR companies that do this create lifetime customers who call again and again for service. But, there’s still another level that you can raise your service game to that will help you become an even stronger business.
Stage 4: Systematized Service — Creating a wow-level experience means shocking customers with how amazing your service is. But when you try to get your team to deliver the same level of service, they won’t always be able to maintain consistency because some of your team might still be stuck back at stage one, and they think they’re complying with your service levels even though they’re not.
So the most successful, profitable HVACR businesses create a service system, what I call a “Framework for Service,” which outlines the entire customer relationship step-by-step (and even second-by-second) down to the very last detail. That way, you can handoff a detailed checklist to every team member and show them exactly how you expect to wow your customers every single time.
What stage of service do you provide? If you want to grow your business and create a stronger, more profitable business in 2017 and beyond, then you need to take a moment to honestly assess where you are right now and how you can improve your service.
Publication date: 3/13/2017