If you’ve been in business for more than 20 years, you’ve probably heard about creating “raving fans.” This term was created by author Ken Blanchard in the mid-1990s to describe a customer who is so overwhelmed by the customer experience they’ve had that they can’t stop telling everyone about it. The benefits of creating “raving fans” are obvious, since they can be essential in making sure that your business is successful and continues to thrive. For this reason, creating these loyal customers is ultimately very important to your bottom line.
In the HVAC business, ensuring that your customers would never consider using your competition is key. This is especially true in the winter months when business tends to slow down and customers can take more time to get multiple bids from HVAC companies before making a decision. Loyal customers are also a great source of new customers, as they will always refer your business when asked by friends, family, and colleagues. It’s not that difficult to create “raving fans” for your business. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Always keep your commitments. The old saying “your word is your bond” has never been more accurate in creating “raving fans.” If you tell a customer you are going to do something, you must deliver on your promise. Companies that make empty promises usually end up out of business. The best way to create customers who will become advocates for your business is simply to keep your commitments and promises. If a situation comes up that is out of your control making it impossible to honor your commitment, you must make sure to keep the customer informed and do everything you can to make it right.
- Educate your customers. You can create “raving fans” by providing them with information on what is happening with products and services on a regular basis. Let them know when new products or services are available, if a promotion is around the corner, or if there is an unexpected issue with a product so it can be repaired or replaced. Also, provide them with information about new trends in energy efficiency, smart home products and other ways they can manage their energy use and save money. Becoming a trusted energy and HVAC advisor will go a long way in ensuring that they turn to you when they need an HVAC company in the future.
- Always provide consistent service. Customers like to feel like they know what they are going to get when they deal with a business. It gives them a level of comfort and security and takes the guesswork out of the equation and creates loyalty. Create consistent policies, paperwork, procedures and even signage on your trucks and the way your tech staff uniforms look. This tells your customer that you are detail oriented about how you run your business, which gives them confidence in how their service will be performed.
- Acknowledge and fix problems. If you avoid customer complaints or issues they will start to avoid you. Honoring your commitment, educating the customer on what can be done, and making sure you are consistent will keep them coming back. Chances are they will tell their friends how well you handled the problem and generate more business for you.
- Go above and beyond. Always approach every customer interaction with a “let’s find the best solution” mentality. This means that you look at every angle of the customer’s situation and need and provide the highest quality solution that will benefit them, not just a “cookie-cutter” approach or one that provides you with more profit. Customers will appreciate that you are taking all the issues into consideration and listening to their needs and will return that with loyalty and referrals.
- Make your staff real believers. Some of your biggest critics can be your own employees. Work with your staff to make sure that they are completely on board with providing the highest customer service possible and ask for suggestions on how they can participate. A “top-down” strategy is sometimes not well received in the “trenches” when they are faced with a variety of issues. Engage your staff and solicit feedback on their “real world” experiences to ensure that every aspect of the operations is contributing to creating a positive customer experience
- Internalize customer service processes. The best way to get your employees to embrace great customer service is through role-playing different situations. These exercises should only take a few minutes and should occur frequently. This allows employees to internalize the process and represent your business to the customer in a way that’s different from your competition — a way that the employees feel comfortable with.
- Empower employees to make customer service decisions.The answer to great customer service isn’t a locked-down process, but giving the right tools to employees so that they can make quick, intelligent decisions without permission is key. The secret of “raving fan” customer service is never letting a customer walk away with a problem unresolved. This means your employees need to solve a variety of problems, both large and small each day.
York Source 1™ HVAC Supply wants to help you create “raving fans” by providing you with all the support you need for your HVAC business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Visit www.source1hvacsupply.com to find your local store.