HVAC contractors are probably used to the ebbs and flows that come with the heating and air conditioning market, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with decreased workflow during traditionally slow times. While people are traveling or hosting relatives, the last thing many of them think about is scheduling heating maintenance services.
Potential customers are out there, and they all have equipment that needs maintenance, so how can contractors best encourage them to book an appointment? Here are a few strategies to keep repair technicians busy during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
EDUCATE CUSTOMERS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF A TUNE-UP
When functioning properly, a good HVAC system remains relatively invisible as it quietly heats and cools the home. This creates a classic “out of sight, out of mind” problem where customers only notice when something’s wrong. To encourage them to book an appointment for annual maintenance, it is best to inform customers about a few key furnace tune-up benefits:
- Catching small problems before they become major issues;
- Staying in compliance with the manufacturer’s warranty;
- Saving money by reducing waste in the system;
- Reducing environmental impact by boosting efficiency; and
- Reaching desired indoor comfort levels faster.
Between travel, gifts, and expensive meals, money can get tight during the holidays, and that could make customers reluctant to schedule maintenance appointments. One way to circumnavigate this complication is to provide additional value that can be perceived by the homeowner.
When reaching out to customers, start the conversation by offering a free seasonal inspection of the HVAC system. Technicians can use this time to examine the unit and point out any potential problems to the homeowner. Based on the information gathered during inspections, contractors can either recommend repairs or sell extended maintenance agreements.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY
What methods are contractors using to stay in touch with customers? If they rely on “traditional” methods such as mailers and phone calls, a significant portion of their correspondence has a good chance of finding its way into the trash. Today’s consumers are tech-savvy, and it’s important for contracting businesses to keep up.
The most important thing to do is make the company website fast and friendly for browsing on mobile devices. Over 70 percent of time spent on the internet is done on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile devices, and if businesses won’t display properly, potential customers might move on to a competitor.
Mobile marketing is also a key strategy in today’s digital age. Use text messages and emails to remind customers that they’re due for an annual maintenance appointment. Contractors can even take advantage of smartphone functionality by including a “tap to call” button that instantly connects the customer with their office.
GET OUT IN THE COMMUNITY
Many people have time off during the holidays, and a lot of that downtime is used for shopping. If the local community has any street fairs or other commercial gatherings, it might be worthwhile to procure a display space on the main thoroughfare, so you can interact with potential customers.
Even if the community doesn’t have special street festivals during the holiday season, there are other opportunities to get a company’s name out there. Concerts and other presentations are often in need of sponsors, and contractor's can use that placement to get potential customers thinking about their business. When possible, include a message about the importance of an annual HVAC tune-up.
People work hard for their vacation days, which is why nobody wants to use them for things like maintenance appointments. While communicating about the importance of a tune-up with customers, stress the inconvenience of wasting precious leave time for HVAC maintenance.
Customers are already going to have time off around the holidays, so sell them on the fact that you can get this important work done without wasting vacation days. While they are at home baking or getting ready for visitors, the technician can be working in the background to help make sure the holiday season stays warm and cheerful for everyone.
STAY BUSY DURING THE HOLIDAYS
These are just a few strategies HVAC contracting companies can use to book more appointments during the holidays, but there are a few other techniques as well. Make sure to monitor competitors to see what other companies in the area are doing, and what offers seem to be working. Contractors can also implement a referral program that rewards existing customers for passing their company name along.
The holiday season might be a traditionally slow time for heating tune-up specials, but that doesn’t mean a crew needs to spend the month sitting idly by. All contractors really need to do is let their customers know that once the warmth of the holidays fades away, the bitter cold of winter is just beginning.
Publication date: 12/12/2018