HVAC contractors can’t solely depend on investing in technology or hiring the best technicians to succeed. By focusing on maximizing customer satisfaction and enhancing the customer experience, they can create profitable, lifelong relationships with homeowners.
Customer Experience Matters
Consumers increasingly care more about customer experience than they do about price or quality. For example, Amazon is beating Walmart and eBay because of ease-of-use and guaranteed 2-day delivery — not because the price of goods is lower or quality is higher. Starbucks is the largest coffee company in the world because of their cafe experience — not because their coffee is better or cheaper.
Netflix bested Blockbuster because of how easy it is to watch unlimited TV through their platform, not because their movies are better or cost less. Uber disrupted the monopoly that taxi companies once had because of how much more convenient the service is to use, not because rides cost less.
In the HVAC and home service industries, the trend is the same. Used to radical convenience from online services, homeowners demand the same treatment when they call for HVAC service. Consumers don’t have to do business with your company. If they can get the convenience that they crave from one of your competitors, they will do business with them.
So, just how have the expectations of home service customers changed? Homeowners are busier today than ever. They want service providers who make it easy to book service calls, are respectful of their time, are transparent with price, and leave their home in better shape than they found it. They’re also more vocal than ever. Positive customer experiences lead to high customer reviews. Negative customer experiences and disparaging reviews can be hard to recover from.
The biggest driver of customer loyalty is convenience. When a division of the Corporate Executive Board surveyed almost 80,000 customers, the researchers found that, above all else, customers preferred to do business with companies that made their services convenient and easy to use.
What are ways that contractors can use technology to boost the convenience for customers? For starters, homeowners want to be able to book a service call online rather than having to make a phone call. Looking into consumer preferences, 31 percent of respondents in another study from 2018 said they’d be much more likely to choose a provider that offered online booking over one that didn’t.
Customers also don’t want to have to keep providing their address and billing information whenever they do need to call. Following the example of Amazon, contractors need to basically be able to provide one-click ordering. When a company is contacted by a repeat customer, all of the customer’s information and service history needs to be instantly accessible by a customer service representative. This will speed up the process for everyone. Don’t forget, though, that today’s customers expect to be able to receive updates about the location and expected arrival times for technicians.
Good technology makes it easier for both the consumer and service provider to do business with each other. It removes barriers, increases productivity and saves everyone valuable time. Implementing the right technology to improve the customer experience in these ways pays off by boosting your bottom line. Better customer experience leads to higher customer retention, which leads to higher revenue and more profits. Always remember that convenience is king and consistency is an ingredient of success. The easier you can make it for your customer to schedule or purchase services, the better.
In the COVID-influenced marketplace, the customer experience remains as important as it was before. The biggest difference will be that consumers will expect contractors to be able to provide technological solutions to engage them virtually whenever possible.
Maximizing the customer experience isn’t just about the bells and whistles of new technology, though. A great customer experience starts with making it easy for homeowners to book services, 24/7, through whichever method the consumer prefers. It ends with efficient operations and professional technicians who deliver amazing in-home service on time. By finding improvements that can be easily implemented and consistently delivered over time, a reputation for the best kind of customer experience will become permanently associated with your brand.