Good customer service is vital for any HVACR company looking to experience business success.

Time management is key, customer-friendly explanations are valued and following up after job completion goes a long way. But what about call handling?

The phone is a crucial method of communication between an organization and a potential client, functioning as a major source of inbound sales leads.

Yet problems can arise if businesses don’t take into account the importance of a positive caller experience. Perhaps an employee answered the phone in an impolite way or the customer felt like their query was deemed trivial.

Very few companies also give consideration to the positive effect audio branding perceptions can have on their organization and the implications can cost a business dearly.

Engage and entertain

A study by PHMG revealed 59 percent of Americans wouldn’t give repeat business to a company if their first call wasn’t to satisfaction. This means your business could be missing out on potential work if customers are met with poor call handling.

While providing employees with a set of best-practice guidelines on how to handle phone calls is the first step, it shouldn’t be the only aspect to consider.

Most businesses endeavour to answer calls immediately, wanting to deal with a query as soon as possible to ensure a higher level of customer service. However, there are times when this might not be feasible.

Maybe a person requires information on energy saving solutions which isn’t to hand or perhaps their enquiry requires them being transferred to another employee with a specialism in air conditioning. In such cases, putting callers on hold is the only option.

Research has discovered US businesses keep customers on hold for an average of 29.83 seconds per call. What’s more, the same investigation found callers are being forced to listen to inappropriate audio, with 42 percent of companies using generic music and 34 percent just leaving customers in silence.

This could prove problematic for HVACR businesses. Subjecting callers to generic sounds while on hold can leave customers feeling underappreciated and disengaged, resulting in them regarding the experience as an inconvenience and ultimately switching off.

One effective method to help avoid caller hang-ups is on-hold marketing – customized voice and music messages.

The benefits

To improve caller retention and more effectively convert warm leads into sales, it is essential to control what’s heard over the telephone.

This doesn’t mean playing ‘please hold’ messages but rather working with a specialist to create customized voice and music messages that are played when customers are put on hold, transferred or call outside of normal office hours.

Essentially, these messages replace the ‘dead air’ formed when callers are put on hold, instead using the valuable timeslot to communicate directly to customers in a way that best reflects the company image and values.  

They complement the existing visual branding, boosting brand recognition while improving customer satisfaction levels. In fact, research by PHMG discovered 65 percent of Americans feel more valued if they hear customized voice and music while on hold while another survey found on-hold messages reduce caller hang-ups by 79 percent.       

Such messages are also particularly effective as a subtle promotional tool, assisting in upselling and cross-selling a company’s products and services.

For example, a potential customer may call to enquire about a maintenance contract for their ventilation equipment. The on-hold messages could be advertising the company’s refrigeration equipment servicing, prompting the caller to purchase and thus helping to increase revenue for the organization.

Similarly, the messages could advertise the additional upgrades to an existing contract, such as 24/7 emergency call-outs or a repair service.     

For HVACR companies, it pays to get an on-hold marketing solution that can be updated on a regular basis. This means seasonal offers can be included, such as promoting air conditioning services in the summer and heating in the winter.

Also, if your organisation has gained any industry accreditations or won awards, mentioning them in your messaging can help strengthen brand identity through reassuring customers of your expertise and knowledgeability.

A happy customer

HVACR customers are constantly demanding greater standards of service in an attempt to secure the best value for money so it is important to consider how your business is portrayed across all customer touchpoints.

Good call handling represents an ideal starting point for any strategy. Providing employee training and implementing on-hold marketing ensures leads aren’t lost as quickly as they appear, with a rapport being built between the caller and business from the moment they pick up they phone.

Ultimately, the success of HVACR business depends on its customer relationships and companies who sound as good as they look immediately gain a competitive advantage.

Publication date: 3/05/2018

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