The demand for HVAC services is increasing, both commercially and domestically. But how do you bring balance to your business when sustainability, cost, quality, and more are on your customers’ minds? A quality experience can make all the difference...
To say there are a lot of factors influencing the HVAC industry would be an understatement. Whether it’s new technology, increased costs, sustainability, new certifications, or even concerns over climate change... phew, it’s a lot to handle. But how do you go about doing all of that and keep your customers happy?
As much as I’d love to offer a miracle solution to help solve everything, what I can do is provide sound advice on at least one aspect of your business. The great thing is, this one things—customer satisfaction—can have a positive impact on other areas, too.
First and foremost, when it comes to customer satisfaction, it's best to prepare properly and proficiently.
No, don’t stop reading!
Alliteration aside, I understand it may sound obvious...and of course: you already know that good customer service is a little easier said than done. To help make it easier though, you’ll want to consider adopting automation processes to really get the most out of your plans. There’s certainly more to it but that’s precisely what we’re here to explore...
- Customers are your priority.
- Quality communication opens doors.
- Planned Preventive Maintenance is essential.
As with anything that’s worth doing, enhancing your customer experience is bound to present a challenge. Fortunately, if you have a plan supported by the right tools, it becomes a whole lot easier to not just put in place, but continually enhance, too.
So, with that in mind, let’s discover how customer satisfaction helps to create a healthy HVAC business!
1. Customers are your priority
They're the bread and butter of your business. Without customers, well...you simply wouldn’t have a business. A happy customer is a powerful commodity, so the minimum you need to do is keep them happy with good work. After all, they can:
- Bring repeat business,
- Act as a quality marketing tool,
- Indicate how best to grow your business.
That said, dealing with customers isn’t always a walk in the park either. Expectations are high and with easy ways for customers to compare you with the competition, it can add another level of complexity to customer service.
If you have a crew of staff dedicated to customer service (and even if you don’t), no one has ever said that “dealing with 100’s of customer calls in a week is super easy: no problem, it’s barely an inconvenience.” That said, it’s well within reach of your business to make delivering an excellent service easier, thanks to process automation.
You might be wondering how automation plays a role in enhancing your customer experience?
Let’s break that down:A customer is using your business because they believe you offer the best HVAC solution for their needs. These needs, when you get down to it, are quite basic too. They focus on:
- Comfort, and
Any interruption to a HVAC service can cause these things to deteriorate. After all, damaged ventilation can negatively impact an individual's health and inefficient heating can cause discomfort in an office, particularly if it’s not at the desired Goldilocks level of “juuuust right”.
Ultimately, your goal is to prevent these things from happening and ensure that customers have the best possible experience of your service. After all, doing the opposite can lead to deteriorating efficiency for their own business, and they certainly won't be happy if that's the case. If it’s not dealt with quickly (through preventive maintenance, for example), this would inevitably affect your own professional relationship and may even lead to them ending the service and moving on to a competitor.
The knock-on effect of poor customer service: whether it’s negligent maintenance, poor response times, or inaccurate information, can be significant. We're sure you'd agree that communication is essential. With that in mind, if you want to improve customer satisfaction (and you always should), you need to make sure that your communication is crystal clear, at every stage.
An automated communication workflow guarantees that will be the case...
2. Quality communication opens doors
There are three essential points to consider when thinking about communication.
Speed. Clarity. Accuracy.
In a world where many services are available 24/7, 365 days a year, customers expect to get responses quickly. They also expect those messages to be clear, which goes hand-in-hand with accuracy. After all, an incorrect invoice or false certification will only go on to cause headaches and waste time for you and your customer.
Fortunately, through automation, you can ensure that these requirements are met far better than if you relied on a human, alone. That's not to say people aren't capable, but a helping (digital) hand goes a long way. To automate something means you’re not relying on a person to do something (or forgetting to do something) you instead make use of it as a tool that enhances the work your staff are already doing.
When a process is automated, messages can be sent instantaneously. This means, for example, that a customer requesting information from an online booking portal can receive an automated confirmation email as soon as they’ve submitted their request. On the other hand, if an engineer has just finished an appointment, they can confirm this via their mobile device, and have an automatic notification sent to the office, letting staff know they’re free for additional jobs. Little things like this can save a lot of time, and speed is certainly a major benefit of automation. We’re all racing against the clock, and with automation, you can claim back much coveted time.
It’s great when everyone is on the same page. An organisation functions significantly better when everyone has an idea (even if it’s not intimately) of what others are doing. As a result, they can be confident in their own actions. For example, with an automated, integrated database of information, an engineer can request a purchase order for parts because they know the items they need aren’t in stock anymore. On the flipside, if the system can see parts are low, it can even automatically generate a parts request to get more in. As a result, admin staff can quickly confirm these requests (influencing the workflow and scheduling of jobs) because they can see where stock and parts are, when they’re due to arrive, and on what jobs they’re needed.
Automation also means that a task can be completed consistently. If something is automated in your business, it means it’s done every time, without fail, in a specific way. By creating templates, you can establish a clear process across the company that sets a standard in quality; it means no more manual writing of messages (so fewer chances to make spelling errors or miss out information) and with auto-fill features (as one example), you can still maintain a level of personalisation to elevate the customer experience, quickly pulling specific client data from your database into the message for you. Easy!
All in all, these 3 points come together to truly enhance your interactions with customers. If you can communicate clearly, accurately, and in a timely manner, you’ll find success.
3. Planned Preventive Maintenance is essential
Customers respond positively to an effective service (that’s what they’re paying you for, of course) but they’ll be happiest when they don’t have to think about the service at all.
The most effective HVAC will be when it doesn’t even cross their minds, allowing them focus on their own work i.e. not being bothered by it being too cold, too hot, or the unpleasant smell of something in the air...
When HVAC is done right, your customer can rest easy. Of course, in order to make sure this is the case, it makes sense that you’ll be carrying out maintenance: specifically preventive maintenance.
Your commitment to quality can be made more apparent if you ensure PPM is scheduled regularly. Regular maintenance can even extend the lifespan of an asset, and with smart devices working in tandem with your automated mass scheduling and communication, it should be obvious how optimised maintenance helps to further please the customer.
Along with notifications, reminders, and confirmations that a service is due, the process of PPM requires a lot of administrative work, so assigning repetitive tasks to your field service software will help ensure that your current PPM strategy is optimised, streamlining the admin work you have to do and the work your system takes over for you. You could see a decrease in the likelihood of missed appointments thanks to automatic messaging, and an increase in productivity because of real-time, auto-synchronised data.
Having a PPM strategy is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to quality, safety, and even your acknowledgement of keeping up with current industry standards. If you can maintain these qualities (because automation optimises your service) then customers are more likely to stick around, enjoy your service, and even help attract new business.
It’s undeniably true: without preparation, you’re setting yourself up to fail. After all, you’ll have got where you are now, thanks to a lot of hard graft and good preparation.
Being prepared helps to keep your business ticking along efficiently, but if you can streamline the processes you have in place and automate some of them, it means you can enhance your capability to manage growth in a sustainable way and keep everyone happy, especially your customers!
To take things just a little further, we’d suggest reading our feature on on Why your Database is Essential for Customer Retention and encourage you to utilise our 100% free infographic, which you can view by clicking the image below!
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