We experienced a rare phenomenon in Michigan this past weekend: consistent sunny weather with temperatures over 60°F. That’s a rare feat this early in spring. In this state, and many others, weather can change at the drop of a dime. To celebrate, my husband and I decided to dig out the grill and have our first barbecue of the season.

The day was perfect right up until we went shopping at a nearby store for supplies. We couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we stopped to ask an employee. Before I even finished my question, she cut me off and nastily said, “I have no idea.”

That was it. She didn’t offer to find out for us, share any suggestions on someone else we could ask, or point us in the right direction. Her rudeness affected my good mood and soured my opinion of that store. I will find a new place to shop in the future.

Customer service is a key component in every business, including HVAC contracting companies. In fact, customer service may even be more important in a service business because, most of the time, customers are calling because they have some kind of problem with their heating or cooling systems. They are already predisposed to be in foul moods. So, having somebody understanding and sympathetic on the other end of the call can go a long way to creating a lasting relationship with that customer.

Butch Welsch, owner of Welsch Heating & Cooling in St. Louis, addressed the importance of customer service in a recent column in The NEWS.

“A customer’s experience begins with his or her first contact with your company,” Welsch wrote. “This is usually in the form of a phone call. Even if a consumer contacts you via email, a follow-up phone call is usually necessary to finalize the appointment. Therefore, since first impressions are so important, the way the customer is treated when he or she first calls can make or break a future relationship with your company.”

When people list businesses with extraordinary customer service, very rarely – if ever – do HVAC contractors make the list – something Stephen Dale noted in The NEWS.

“We need to wow our customers,” Dale explained. “We need to provide them with an outstanding experience with our organization from start to finish, from the incoming call to the CSR to the dispatched technician to our follow-up and accounting. This will help morph customers into clients. This turns a company into a business that generates raving fans through reviews and loyalty for years to come. We need to look outside our windows and step outside our boxes. We need to open our eyes and learn from other industries and companies that are building loyalty and crazed fans through a wow experience. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we simply must change our company culture to match that of a successful party from the inside out.”

So, how does one create a customer service-driven company culture? The answer is training, training, and more training. Like Dale explained above, contractors don’t need to reinvent the wheel – simply look around. Just about every contracting organization offers some type of customer service training, including ACCA, Nexstar Network, Service Roundtable, and plenty more. Many of these organizations also offer online learning and webinars on the topic, so you don’t have to break the bank spending tons of money by sending your employees to conferences and seminars. So, take a minute and create a training schedule incorporating customer service for your employees. The success of your business may depend on it.   

Publication date: 4/17/2017

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