and put on the consumer hat! We have a lot going on running a heating and air conditioning business…..but do we really know “The Homeowner’s Frustration?” They have a problem with their A/C system, and they just want it fixed. It’s time to take off the contractor hat and put on the consumer hat.
Let’s make it easy for them
Remember the consumer is not very familiar with this process. They don’t call a heating and air contractor every day, and remember from our recent article (Why Did We Lose the Sale?), the average homeowner only purchases a new hvac system on average 2.5 times in their lifetime. So, they don’t speak our language of SEER, AFUE, and HSPF. Think of it like this; we speak Spanish and they speak French……we don’t understand each other.
It’s not an easy process for the consumer…..
Ok, you’re now the homeowner. You walk in your house after a long day at work, and what do you find? Your house is HOT, the A/C is out! So what do you do? …. other than go into panic mode!!!
- You check your thermostat, does it have power, batteries?
- Check your breaker box, any tripped breakers?
- Is the outside unit running?
- Is there cold air coming from the vents?
If the homeowner determines it’s time to contact a professional, then what? Some may have a relationship with a local air conditioning contractor, but many homeowners do not. In the old days, you went to phonebook and looked up air conditioning companies. But when is the last time you even laid eyes on a phonebook? Or you called a neighbor to enlist help, uh oh it’s 2019, you may not know your neighbors that well…..sorry but it’s true. So, today’s consumer uses the latest technology at their disposal:
- They post their problem on social media: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter asking for a reputable contractor
- Maybe they check the neighborhood app: Nextdoor
- Of course there’s Google and other search engines….
The Next Step after the initial search phase
Alright, here is where it gets good. Your next potential customer has gotten some information via a recommendation and has decided to search on their smartphone. Remember they are still in the “Oh S**t” moment of, “I don’t have air conditioning” in my home. That’s not a good place to be, and they want to move away from that place as soon as possible. Now that they have a recommendation or two, they start the rapid research phase…..
A Quick Judgement is Made about your heating and air company
The distressed homeowner looks up air conditioner repair or another related search, and they find…..we’ll call them company “A” on their favorite search engine. And let’s see what their search returned….
Contractor “A” – Here’s their stats:
- They have a website, but it was built in 2002. It has limited information, it’s not optimized for mobile, has outdated coupons, and kind of “hang the open sign in the window” approach.
- Google shows only 3 reviews, and their rating is 3 out of 5 stars.
- The company has a Facebook account, but it hasn’t been posted to since 2016…
- And they are registered with the BBB or Better Business Bureau, but do not have any reviews.
Hmmm…..let’s look at the 2nd contractor.
Contractor “B” – “Our shining star”:
- Their website is modern, mobile optimized for the smartphone(which the distressed homeowner is using), it has “Call to Action” buttons to schedule service and it promotes coupons for savings on service calls, and it screams fast, reliable air conditioning service.
- Contractor B has over 100 Google reviews, many of them recent, and a 4.7 rating out of 5 stars.
- They have active Facebook and Instagram accounts that show recent job site pictures and happy homeowner recommendations.
- The company is BBB registered, rated, and has many positive reviews.
Contractor “C” – Remember we were taught by our parents to get “Three Estimates” right?
- No website to be found.
- A Google listing that shows the picture of a house, and the listing has not been claimed.
- There is an old link to a “My Space” account.
- I know this getting a little ridiculous…..
Who do think they called…….
Broken Promises, told one thing and…..
Congratulations you are the lucky contractor that gets the chance to win over this customer for life. The homeowner just wants their A/C fixed asap. So, we tell them we can have a service tech at their home tomorrow afternoon……the new customer begrudgingly says “ok, that will be fine.” Fast forward to the next day, and the homeowner takes the afternoon off of work in order to meet your technician. It’s about 2:30 pm and no one has contacted this excited new residential customer. So, they decide to call your office, and the receptionist answers and checks with the dispatcher……They come back on the line with their “shiny new” customer and says, “We should be at your home by 4:00 pm.” The homeowner feels somewhat relieved…..Now it’s 4:15 and still no knight in shining armor to fix the air conditioner. Now the technician contacts the homeowner, and says that their current call is taking much longer than anticipated…….“Can we come tomorrow morning? You’ll be the first stop!”
Do what you say you’re going to do
We have to be courteous, respectful, and do what we say we are going to do. I know we are stereotyping the HVAC industry, but I’m just trying to convey some common issues homeowners experience with residential service providers. I’ve personally had some awesome customer service experiences and some that have been less than stellar…..and that’s putting it mildly. There are so many outstanding service companies today, and the consumer is taking notice! Today’s consumer is expecting you work around their schedule and provide the highest quality service and workmanship……or they will find someone that will provide it.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Think like the consumer and not the contractor, “walk in their shoes.” They are unhappy and uncomfortable…..They just want an easy solution to take them back to their “comfort zone.” Make is simple and easy! Remember, often times they don’t know what kind of system they have, they may think their air conditioner is a Honeywell or White Rodgers……I’m being serious! Make the scheduling process easy from the start to finish. Live operators answering the phone even after hours……Forms to schedule service on your website……and stick to your appointment time. Also, be flexible with your service times. Early evening and weekends work great for consumers! Throw your contractor hat away and wear the consumer hat……You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes in your sales!