Customers have gotten used to the incredible convenience of virtual services that rose to prominence during the pandemic, and they’ll continue to expect the same level of convenience afterward. That applies to the HVAC world just as much as it does to other industries. So how can your business adjust?
You need to be connecting with customers digitally. Texting is an easy and effective option because customers are already used to it and because, studies show, they would prefer to text with you over other modes of communication.
Texting is a great way to meet current communications expectations while making your own life easier. People don’t want to play phone tag or wait on an email. They want fast answers to help them make quicker decisions.
Here are five ways to add texting to your HVAC business so you can better connect with customers while saving time and growing your business.
1. Send out promotions and upsell your services
Too often you spend time and money bringing in a customer who then only works with you once. There are lots of reasons why that might be, but there’s one simple thing you can do to bring customers back: texting.
How can you start? Prompt customers over text to set a service appointment. Most people ignore their heating/cooling until something breaks and it becomes an emergency. Seasonal maintenance checks are a great conversation starter to get customers re-engaged when things are relatively OK. Just text your past customers.
“We’re running a $49 HVAC health check special right now! Things are heating up around here, and we’d like to check out your unit before anything goes wrong. Reply to book your service and take advantage of this deal!”
Messaging similar to that will help lure in repeat customers, and you will also have opportunities to upsell them with extra services, new units, or cross-sell if you offer other services like plumbing.
It might sound like a lot of work, and if you were texting all your customers from a personal cell phone, it would be. But with a good texting platform, you can simply add your customer list and fire a text away to all of them simultaneously.
2. Use texting to lock down new business leads
People usually notice their HVAC problems when they’re at home, and they’re home usually outside of business hours. Asking people to fill out a form on your website or to leave a voicemail is just not going to cut it when they have a pressing issue. People don’t want to wait until 8:30 the next morning to hear back from you. They need a response now, and the problem with that is that you and your techs probably aren’t monitoring your business line or email after hours.
As you’re likely aware, this can cause you to miss tons of business opportunities. If you’ve already paid for the leads through online ads, you don’t want to lose them if they’re reaching out to your competitors and going with whomever responds first.
With a business texting solution, you can tell customers to “text or call at this number” on your website, under your contact info. They won’t have to wait around for an email or a phone call when they can just text you.
Be sure to turn on notifications for getting those messages. You can have an auto response telling them that you got their message and that you’ll be with them in the next few minutes (being as precise as possible with that timeframe helps). If it’s an emergency, provide them with a number that they can call. Auto responses are a good way to let prospects know that you’re on top of things — helping them forget about your competitors.
HVAC companies are actively trying to get people to their website and reach out. Texting ultimately helps them connect faster than competitors.
3. Book and update appointments over text
Booking an appointment is the only way to gain prospective clients. You’ve got the lead (via contact form, inbound text, or voicemail) and you need to make sure that you close that deal.
Encourage your prospects to schedule their appointments via text. You can start by texting a calendar link with open availabilities. If nothing on there works, the customer can always reply with their preferences. You can also send out text reminders for annual appointments. From there, customers can text you to confirm a date, change an appointment, or cancel.
Texting is also a good way to send out dispatch updates.
“Hey, [Customer]! Are you still good for us to get there at about 12:30?”
“On our way, should be there in about 15 or so.”
4. Offer payments over text
No one really carries checks around anymore. And sometimes, your customer might be away when your team is performing a service. Instead of asking for a check in person or waiting to send an invoice until later, you can encourage customers to confirm a payment over text. After they’ve left a card on file with you, it’s easy to text your customers to confirm a withdrawal from their account when the service is completed.
“Hey, [Customer]! It will be an $80 fee today for the installation. Can we go ahead and charge it to your card ending in 1234? Text YES to confirm, or text us if you have any questions.”
Ease the payment process by allowing customers to pay for your services through texting. It’s a better experience for customers and speeds up your cash flow tremendously — especially if you aren’t already investing heavily in your team’s technology.
5. Text clients to earn more reviews
You need stellar online reviews — and a lot of them. People in need of HVAC services often run a Google search or ask for recommendations, then pick the highest-ranking company with great reviews.
Texting can help you more reviews by making it easy for your customers to give you the feedback that you need. After service that’s gone well, you can gently nudge your customers a reminder to leave a review. You can do this by texting your customers a direct link to your review page, or they can type the review in a text and send it over in an instant.
Texting can truly ignite growth for your HVAC business. When you make it easier for your customers to talk to you, it greatly enhances their customer experience — and they’ll be more likely to leave you reviews that will ultimately boost your business’ reputation.