Hi I'm Paul from FieldInsight and I've talked with 1000s of HVAC men and women, and the one common theme is dealing with pissed of customers sucks big time, or as Trump would say, Sucks Bigly.
HVAC businesses have a huge amount to deal with on a daily basis to keep their business turning over. The only currency you have in the competive market of winning a customer is the experience you give your customers, this is everything for any business. Build up goodwill you get referrals and references, and repeat business, Anger your customers and they are 5 times more likely to spread the bad experience around.
If you dont care how your customers perceive you or you are not keeping that experience top of mind, you are killing your growth opportunity.
Watch below as I talk about the customer experience and the things that will piss them off, or make them sing your praise.
3 Ways to make your Customers Angry as all Hell.
or you could .....
Tell your customers that you are serious about their successful experience and reward you with a great review, reference and the cream of repeat business:
- Be on Time.
Turn up late, don't turn up at all, turn up to the wrong place. Unhappy customer, guaranteed, every time! "Miss a job, turn up late, turn up at the wrong time, forget to call. Not happy Jan."
- Quality of Delivery
You just didn't deliver to your own standards. Customer's not happy. "You left a great bloomin mess in my house when I got home, I had screaming kids and I had to clean up your mess", or "the next team came in and billed me to clean up your guys mess, WTF Jan"
- Customer Communication
You did the job, smashing job. You're really happy. Talk to the customer, the customer's an unhappy camper.
You go in, "What's wrong?" They go, "Well, you didn't do this, and you didn't do that, and I asked you to that, and you didn't do that, and what's this? And you broke that," and da, da, da, da, da. You go, "I knocked it out of the park. It's an awesome job." Unhappy customer the result
What do you do about it? How do you reduce the chance of getting an unhappy customer? Four secrets, and I'm going to tell you three of them. Next week, I'm going to tell you the fourth one. (I ended up telling you all four :) )
1. Simple, nail your scheduling
- Schedule a job in a time frame when your guy is going to be able to get there (include travel time).
- Make sure they're not conflicted on another job.
- Make sure they're the right person with the right skillset.
- Make sure they're not on leave.
- Manage hvac scheduling tightly is crucial.
- Make sure the customer is there when turn up.
- Give them an ETA message before you get there.
- Give the technician a reminder before they depart.
That's pretty straightforward stuff, but pissed off customers happen. These are ways to improve the outcome when it does happen :)... stay tuned for the end.
2. Job quality
That's two things. One is straightforward, that's
- Get to the job.
- Do your pre-job checklist.
- Do your job.
- Do your post-job checklist.
- Sweep up.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Leave a thank you card for the customer, just good customer service.
Leveraging job management software can help manage this (this is where we love to help :). )
The second part to that is
Culture's a bit trickier, but it comes down to working out what your
- writing them down,
- sticking them on the wall,
- putting it into the contract for your guys who sign up to work with you.
- Walk them through it when you induct them.
- Tell them, "These are our values."
- Represent those values yourself.
- Make sure your senior guys pull up any values which aren't being adhered to by your junior guys.
- Pull each other up on your values.
- Go through them once a month, and say, "Look, these are our values."
Values are harder. It's a bit subtler, but quality comes from those two things.
3. You think you did a Great Job ... BUT ... the customer is Pissed Off!!!!
You've done the job. You've knocked it out of the park and think it was a great job. The customer comes back and said, "What the f@#$?" You're like, "What the f#$%?" You don't say that back, but you're thinking, "What the hell?" back.
You talk to the customer. They're saying, "Oh, what about this, and this, and this?" You're saying, "You didn't ask me to do that?" They go, "Yes, I did," and on about this and this. "You charged me this. You said you were going to charge me that."
How do you mitigate that?
- Pre-job photos,
- Post-job photos,
- clear documentation of what you're going to do,
- Send it to the customer.
- You probably do it in a quote.
- Job steps, in case you get interrupted on site, your tech adds a little note, "Got interrupted on site. They kicked us out for two hours."
- A full history of what happened during the day, very handy, and if there's multiple days involved, a history for each of those days, and if there's multiple days involved, or you're doing work for a couple of weeks, and you've got a gap for a couple of months, and you come back to it, just a history all the way along, really key.
- Your photos and history, key to mitigate that misunderstanding.
- Good communication, regular communication, is vital.
The fourth secret, this is not really a secret......
The fourth one is goodwill. If your customer's already not super-duper happy with you, and you go and kick him in the nuts by missing an appointment, or are late for an appointment, or leave a mess, or forget about something, forget to pick something up, and then you mess up a job, then your customer's gone ... ... The wick's already burning. That pushes them off the edge. That's not the right analogy, but you know what I mean. They're unhappy little Vegemites.
If you have goodwill, if you delivered that surprising above-and-beyond experience, if you've gone out of your way to make them love you, and you mess up, which happens, then you've got a bit of a buffer, and they're going to come back and say, "Hey Paul, you know, you got this wrong, but what are we going to do about it?" Then you go into solution mode, and normally you can nut something out together.
Apologize, if that's all you can do. Make amends, if that's the right thing to do.
So, there it is, if you are serious about growing your HVAC business you need
- A focus on the customers successful experience and to
- To ensure you put the systems/processes in place
- You need to monitor and respond to your customers
- You need to automate the love, referral & references
- You need to automate renewal work
- Ensure your guys follow the Checklist (If a drunken pilot can use checklists to fly boeing 747, you can get a tech to clean up after themselves)
We spoke in our previous blog about 7 tragedies of paper and in there focussed on your staff, if they are not managing the job site cleanly then customers will not be happy.
Some small changes with your operating model along with an integrated job scheduling software would be to:
- have a job site checklist that has to be completed and submitted to the office (include photo's if you can) and ensure you have a review process with your staff to manage any tardiness that could tarnish the customers experience
- ask your customers to 'tell you about their experience' - you can do this via a survey or a form to complete
- Track all your job information ina central place with quick search access to the Job's history and to all jobs you've done.
It may be painful to hear it all, but we love you and we know tearing off the band aid and hitting it head on in a systemised step by step way, is the way out of the pain; and in to a growing business, a five star experience for your cusotmers and time to for your family and yourself.
It is all learnings you can take in to the next customer interaction and it may also open an opportunity for you to correct the situation through goodwill, with some amends and an apology.
We can help by running through how we might be able to help you streamline and systemise your business and deliver that 5 Star Experience we all aspire to. :)