For some of you, the hot weather has blessed you with more work than you have hours for in a day. However, we all know the cycles in the industry. At some point, the telephone will stop ringing.

Here are five things to do now, so that there will be work to do when the customers stop calling.

1. Keep a backlog of work.

Right now you may be so busy, you couldn’t do the “nonessential” work if you wanted to. However, whenever a technician goes to a customer’s home or office, she should record everything that is wrong with the hvac system.

These problems may not be the reasons that your employee went to the customer. However, a good tech always keeps his eyes open for other work. Get techs in the habit of writing down what could be done later on the service ticket.

At this time of the year, they may be afraid to write everything down because the customer may tell them to do it all. Write it on the service ticket anyway. If the customer says no, keep potential work in a tickler file for when it gets slow. Customers appreciate your involvement.

2. Thank the customer for calling, setting up a service call, scheduling an appointment, etc.

The simple act of saying “thank you” goes a long way toward keeping customers. Follow up after the service call or installation. This is not expected, and is a great way to make sure that everything is operating properly (as well as keeping a customer happy).

3. Give out at least 500 business cards per year (and don’t stop because you think you have enough work).

I’ve known one plumbing company where a customer kept the owner’s card for at least 12 years. The reason he knew it was at least 12 years old was because he hadn’t used that card style for more than 12 years.

People keep cards if they think they may have a need for your service. Give a card to the owner of the place where you or your technicians eat lunch. It’s important that the owner know what you do, since you spend so much money with him. He should feel obligated to at least let you quote on any hvac or refrigeration-related repairs or installations.

4. Give referral gifts to customers.

Whenever someone refers you to a potential customer, thank that person with something tangible. Cash gets spent. Cut flowers die. But a plant lives for a long time, as long as it is watered. Consult with someone in the know as to what types of plants are hardiest; these might make the best, longest-lasting choice as a gift.

Every time the customer sees the plant, s/he will be reminded of the reason s/he got the plant. And, he will be more likely to refer someone else to your company.

5. Always wear your company’s name on your clothing when you are in public places.

You’ll be surprised at how many times people will stop you to ask questions. These questions could lead to service calls, equipment and parts replacements, and referrals.

King, of American Contractors Exchange, may be reached at 800-511-6844; 770-729-8028 (fax);

Publication date: 09/04/2000