HVAC contractors have an underutilized tool available to help optimize their businesses: customer data. Data generated on a day-to-day basis can be the key to transforming your business.
The HVAC industry is changing, and contractors are becoming more aware of the importance of making business decisions informed by customer data. While some contractors are aware of the data generated by customer transactions, others don’t have the time or the resources to really think about how it can be leveraged.
It’s a highly competitive market, and today’s customers — particularly millennials — expect an exceptional level of service and personalized interaction. Everyone's mantra is, “the customer comes first,” and utilizing data is a way to actually put that into practice. Here are a few ways data can help prime your HVAC business for success:
Equip Your Customer Service Managers with Customer Insights
Ensure that the software you’re using easily collects notes about customers and automatically displays those notes when a customer calls. Encourage employees to garner details like whether a customer has an aggressive dog, whether their neighborhood has a gate code, and even whether there are shifting household dynamics your employees should be aware of to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
Make the process of obtaining that data simple by keeping it concise. Create a set of predetermined tags your employees can use to prevent them from getting overwhelmed, and to enable them to quickly synthesize the info. Consider setting up guard-rails for essentials like email addresses, so that customer service managers can’t close out a call without adding that information. Not only will all of these details help the office staff in future interactions with your customers, they’ll also give your technicians valuable information that can facilitate a white-glove experience.
Make Property Details a Priority
Get in the habit of collecting the model and serial numbers of pre-existing equipment on a customer’s property. Not only will this aid technicians and comfort advisors in recommending the purchase of a new system once equipment is nearing the end of its life cycle, but it will also help you be proactive about notifying customers affected by recalls.
Your technicians and comfort advisors should also be reviewing past decisions made by customers. Review and resurface previously presented estimates if the proposed solution is still relevant. The customer will be impressed that you’re tracking that information, ultimately establishing credibility. Also be cognizant of whether that customer always selects the “good,” “better,” or “best” option. If there’s consistency in a customer’s buying habits, your technicians and comfort advisors should consider tailoring the options they present accordingly.
Most importantly, tracking work done at a customer’s property in a way that allows technicians to see all history while in the field equips them to address a customer’s frustration upfront and empathetically. Your technicians should always be the ones proactively acknowledging that you’ve made multiple visits for the same problem and assuring the customer that they’ll do everything within their power to close the loop.
Use Relevant Messaging when Marketing to Your Customers
Leverage the data you collect to get your homeowners to know you, trust you, buy from you, and then buy from you again. Targeting customers with messaging that pertains to them, rather than taking a shotgun approach to marketing, makes customers much more likely to engage as a result of your efforts and can save your staff valuable time that would otherwise be used to manually pick up the phone to follow up on opportunities.
Hyper-target customers when building email marketing campaigns. For example, create an audience for customers who have open estimates presented within the past 30 days or for customers whose equipment is over a certain age. Once you’ve built an audience, create what's called a drip campaign, which will automatically send tailored emails to those customers on a set schedule, only removing them from the cadence you create once they take the action you want.
Get creative with other forms of marketing, too. Write content that adds value to your customers’ lives — articles they’ll find useful based on the pain points you know they have. Share content about the “Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Energy Bill Down” with customers who have unsold estimates so they understand the value of high efficiency units. Raise awareness about the importance of IAQ with customers who have pets. Share tips on how to avoid heat stroke in the summer with your elderly customers. Then post that content to your website to boost your SEO.
Taking it Step by Step
Using data to drive decisions and interactions doesn't happen overnight, and establishing a process for collecting data can be intimidating for contractors who aren't already in that habit. But if you find the right tools that make it easy for you, and successfully communicate to your employees why data matters, it will pay dividends in the long-run.
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