May 21, 2015

Winning the customer battle, losing the revenue war

Customer Battle, Revenue War

I get asked from time to time what is the best kind of marketing that a dealer can do for his or her company. Is it paper ads? Radio? Social media? The answer might surprise you, but one of the most valuable marketing tools is word-of-mouth referrals.

When you aim to improve your referrals, you have to consider what I like to call the customer battle and the revenue war. Think about it — is a $100 billing discrepancy more important than a lifetime maintenance agreement?

Here are three escalated customer scenarios and details on how to handle them so you come out on top long-term.

  • Problem No. 1: Your customer has a maintenance call for a system that is just days outside of their warranty period.
  • Solution: Let the customer know up-front that the system is out of warranty but that you will dispatch a technician free of charge to come assess the issue.
  • Here’s why: Putting a technician on the case to diagnose the issue costs you very little — maybe a half an hour to an hour of your technicians time tops — but showing the customer outstanding customer service above and beyond their contracted warranty is a set up for a great referral, not to mention an opportunity to sell them personalized maintenance programs.
  • Problem No. 2: Your customer is upset because of a late technician or Comfort Advisor and is considering going to a competitor.
  • Solution: Offer a free or low-cost tune-up for when the customer needs it in the future. 
  • Here’s why: Mistakes happen but when they affect your customers you need a backup plan of action. Offering a tune-up is a win-win for you and your customer. Customers are happy because they received something of considerable monetary value for their trouble, and you gained the chance to return to the home for preventative maintenance. Tune-ups have immeasurable potential for revenue growth so use them to your advantage.
  • Problem No. 3: Although the job was done correctly and with great customer service, your employees left a mess for your customer to clean up.
  • Solution: Send your customer a gift card for a local carpet cleaning business or cleaning service.
  • Here’s why: When you leave a mess behind, you’re breaking a cardinal rule of the field-service industry. Sending the customer a solution to the problem and not just a coupon for repeat service shows them not only that you value their home as much as they do, but also that you’ll go to any length to make it right and you’ll gain his or her trust for repeat business.

A small decision today may affect you long-term; so when you’re faced with an escalated customer-service situation ask yourself: Am I winning the customer battle? Or the revenue war?

From tips for technicians to advice for dealers, I offer daily insights on Facebook and Twitter — join the conversation today!

 

May 19, 2015

The three As of interviewing

3 As of interviewing

Want to know the secret to acing your upcoming job interview?  Just be sure you have each of the three As covered:

Appearance: From a fresh smile to manicured fingernails, every element of your appearance counts. If you’re unsure what to wear, a more professional appearance is better than a too casual look. Your appearance doesn’t just apply to what you are wearing either; consider the case on your cell phone and the bag or briefcase you’re carrying — the details matter.

Arrival: Arrival time is crucial to the tone of the interview. If you arrive too early, it’s possible the interviewer will feel rushed or worry if he or she recorded your interview time correctly, which can start the interview off on an awkward foot. Plan on arriving no more than 15 minutes early, and allow for extra travel time if the interview is in an unfamiliar area. Be sure to have enough copies of your resume and other requested interview documents.

Attitude: Confidence is key when it comes to having a successful interview. Remember, your resume or job application was appealing enough to get you in the door, so now show them why you could be a valuable asset to their company. Confidence doesn’t just come through in your tone of voice; confidence is communicated through your body language from your posture to your handshake.

Acing the interview is just the first step. Follow me on Twitter for tips on what to do once you’ve landed the job.

May 14, 2015

Dealing with homeowners’ pets

Dealing With Homeowners Dogs

You’ve done your pre-call planning, prepped for your next service call, and are walking up to the door. You ring the doorbell and hear a dog barking in response.

While this might not be the most welcoming sound, a homeowner’s pet is no reason to panic. Here are three tried and true tips for dealing with dogs.

  1. Pass the sniff test. Dogs are sensory animals that judge a stranger by their scent and not their character. While you might not mean them any harm, dogs see big toolboxes and equipment and a scent-rich stranger. Allow the dog to come to you and smell your hands. Think of it like a handshake with a stranger; this lets the dog know you’re good people.
  2. Give the customer warning. Will you be using loud tools? Will the install or service make noise while you’re there? Let the customer know if anything you are going to need to do while in the home might irritate the dog. Dogs respond to sound in different ways so giving your customer a quick warning might mean the difference between a barking and unhappy dog and a calm and quiet canine.
  3. Speak up. Not every person is a dog person and most pet owners are pretty understanding of that. If a loose dog is going to impede the quality of your work or extend your service call time don’t hesitate to ask the homeowner to put the dog in another room or secure it in a kennel.

Whether the four-legged friend brightens your workday or proves to be a distraction, the most important thing is to complete your job in a timely, efficient, and professional manner with exceptional customer comfort as your ultimate goal.

I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.

 

May 12, 2015

What does weather have to do with it?

Weather forecast on Apple iPhone 5S

Today, I’d like to talk about a simple, daily, proactive planning measure you can take to help your company function smoother during the busy summer months — check the weather.

Now, some of you might say, “Mike! I already check the weather every day; how does that affect my business?” Knowing the weather for the week helps you proactively plan and prepare your employees for some small adjustments throughout your business to improve both safety and revenue.

Here are some ways weather planning can help you prepare for your day:

  • Adjust time in between appointments: During rain or inclement weather, auto accidents become more common. Prolonging the period between appointments helps your techs get from point a to point b safely and decreases the chance of auto damage.
  • Supplies – Weather planning also helps you know how much inventory you will need. From extra cleaning supplies and shoe covers for rainy and inclement weather to extra water for those super hot days, inventory is crucial when it comes to the quality of customer care and the wellbeing of your employees.
  • Emergency service: The summer storm season means power outages, lightning strikes, and flooding which can affect your customer’s HVAC needs around the clock. Prep your emergency and on-call staff for the storm season to maximize efficiency and revenue.

From tips for technicians to advice for dealers, I offer daily insights on Facebook and Twitter — join the conversation today!

 

May 6, 2015

Discover your learning style

Discover your learning style

Students interested in classes and webinars offered by HVAC Learning Solutions, can often be unsure of whether the web-based or instruction-based technical training is the best option. To help you choose which course style is best for you, I’ve outlined some points to consider from each class, based on learning style.

Visual Learners vs. Aural Learners 

Visual learners … 

  • Prefer to be shown how to do something, not just told
  • Like quiet time to focus
  • Like colors and pictures, versus plain text
  • Should choose BuildATech™ — A visual learner will likely benefit from the hands-on experience the instructor-led class provides. Our state-of-the-art skills lab lets you practice on life-size models, helping each student to explore the mechanics and functionality of the unit while practicing repair and troubleshooting techniques.

Aural learners … 

  • Like to watch videos
  • Prefer to be listening to music while working
  • Like to read out loud
  • Should choose Virtual BuildATech™ — With time to read at their own pace, and create a study environment customized to them, an aural or audible learner will likely benefit from the digital and self-paced format of the Virtual BuildATech™ program. 

Solitary vs. Social Learners 

Solitary learners … 

  • Prefer to work alone away from crowds
  • Like to study based on a plan with goals
  • Should choose Virtual BuildATech™ — The individual self-paced learning of Virtual BuildATech™ will be a great fit for a solitary learner, so they can set a daily or weekly goal and plan their own curriculum.

Social learners … 

  • Like collaboration and asking questions
  • Prefer background noise over a quiet environment
  • Should choose BuildATech™ — A social learner will appreciate the classroom setting and hands-on lab feature of the instructor-led BuildATech™ class so they can ask questions and learn together with fellow students.

What kind of learner are you? Visual? Aural? Social? Solitary? No matter what type of learning style you prefer, we have a proven curriculum that will help you become a certified, revenue-generating technician in just a matter of weeks. Visit www.hvacls.com for course descriptions and availability.

  • Meet Mike Moore

    Mike Moore isn't just an HVAC expert;
    he also knows a thing or two about
    HVAC employee training. As one of
    HVAC Learning Solutions founders
    and Director of Training, his biggest
    goal is to help HVAC leaders and
    technicians grow their business
    and build lasting skills. This
    University of Kansas grad has
    a contagious personality, a lot
    of knowledge, and a knack for
    providing HVAC training
    and development.