Comfort FAQ

Q: What have you done to stay in touch with loyal customers?

A: How often do you change mechanics, or barbers, or favorite restaurant? Probably not often. These are all people and places in whom you've come to trust, based on the relationship you've forged over the years. That new mechanic may be good, but he will have to prove it to you. What about you and your company of professionals. Your homeowner doesn't ask you in often, and like you they can be forgetful. Whether young or old, it's hard for you to stay connected. Right now, on average, 10,000 of us are turning 65 every day.

So, how are you reminding them of you? If they can't remember you, how can your missing relationship help you at all? I'll tell you the answer to that one…it can't. In our latest "Service Call" research we discovered that half of all HVAC contractor calls in a given 12 month period will begin as a maintenance call. Just a homeowner wanting to know that their system will be okay in season. Have you noticed the different way you are treated in the home of someone who knows you or the home where you have been recommended versus a cold call? It's sad to see how many "cold calls" take place with homeowners you count as customers, who don't remember you.

Your business should be more of a relationship business than the car mechanic, the café staff, and the barber, after all you are their consultant for their home comfort, their home comfort care physician. One problem that looms large, is that you just don't get a chance to see your customers frequently. List the ways you stay close to them. What about email?

In the recent study we asked how many of you asked for your customer's e-mail addresses, to keep up to date, and to be able to share information with them. There are so many reasons to keep up and so many reasons they will want to open your e-mail if you make this an important part of staying in touch.

About one in four homeowners were asked for their email address by your technician when in their home last. What an opportunity to add another low cost way to maintain your status as a friend, and to help ensure your relationship remains strong.

Garry Upton, of Decision Analyst, Inc., Arlington, TX, shares his interpretations of Decision Analyst's American Home Comfort Study of homeowners, and explores what customers look for in HVAC contractors. To learn more about this study, or to purchase it, contact Garry, at [email protected].

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