We all know the value of a service agreement customer: sustained work, customer loyalty, home energy audit opportunities, and new equipment sales lead generation. The benefits of having an agreement customer are priceless.
At Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning we have more than 22,000 service agreement customers. How did we get so many, and how can your company grow its service agreement base? Our main growth in agreement sales is through our technicians. Their attitude is everything. Customers look to service technicians as being experts at what they do, and if a technician truly believes in the value of a service agreement the customer will believe it, too.
The technician who leads our company in service agreement sales believes that you need to develop a relationship with the customer before ever heading to the thermostat. He takes the time to engage the customer in a conversation about something of interest to them, such as a beautiful flower bed or an antique car in the driveway. This technician sells agreements on accessories — even when a customer already has major equipment coverage — by involving the customer in a conversation about the equipment. He asks questions such as, “How is your water heater working? Have you drained it? Cleaned the burners?” He then offers to take care of those things for the customer and most times the answer is a resounding “yes.”
We reinforce the value of the service agreement by ensuring that a precision tune-up and safety maintenance for an agreement client takes as long as that for a non-agreement client. There are no short cuts and nothing is skipped because we maintained the equipment the year before. In addition, when the office staff schedules a problem call or a routine maintenance visit we quote the normal amount of the call and stress that it is completely covered if a customer has our comprehensive service agreement plan. If they have a lesser plan we quote the amount they are saving by being an agreement customer.
We strive to be in contact with our agreement customers on a regular basis, be it scheduling a routine maintenance visit or thanking them for being a customer. We recently have developed a new position, quality assurance representative, to help us be proactive in contacting customers a few months prior to their agreement’s expiration date to answer questions and reinforce the benefit of the agreement. We send renewal agreements out approximately six weeks prior to the expiration of the plan. Customers who don’t renew receive a reminder postcard about 10 days before the end of their renewal month. We also have had good success at getting renewals by having the quality assurance representative contact expired renewal customers.
Many customers prefer to communicate via email. We make it a priority to collect email addresses on every call we take. We then send out a few email “blasts” throughout the year to offer a special and generate additional work.
Customers are able to schedule appointments via our website as well as set up a yearly reminder for maintenance. We also use social media by posting information about our service agreements on both Facebook and Twitter.
I truly believe the driving force behind our success selling service agreements is our people. We strive to take great care of our employees so they will take great care of our customers. Our personnel all share the common vision of delivering a world-class experience at every level. By purchasing a service agreement from us, our customers receive the ultimate experience we can provide.
Offer Choices, Financing To Make Service Agreements Attractive
At Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning we offer a variety of service agreement plans to our customers: A comprehensive Gold Seal agreement with full parts and labor protection, a Silver Seal agreement with discounts on repairs, and a Precision Plus plan that includes a 30% discount off of any repairs. All of the plans provide routine maintenance and priority service.
Although we offer both one year and two year plans, the two-year is our most popular as it includes a 30% discount on the second year of coverage. This allows us to lock the customer in for two years and ensures two to four planned visits throughout the life of the agreement.
Offering payment options has proven to be beneficial for many customers. We offer a payment schedule for our Gold and Silver Seal customers, with no finance fee. Our Precision Plus plan allows customers to pay a low monthly fee (as low as $10 per month) with a credit card.
Offering a variety of plans and helping customers finance the plan of their choice makes our service agreements attractive and affordable.
Joyce Kelliher is the residential service manager at Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning, which is headquartered in Rochester, NY. The company was Contracting Business.com’s 2002 Residential Contractor of the Year. Kelliher can be reached at 585/546-1400 ext. 313, or by email at mailto:[email protected]