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    Welcome Mat

    Customer Retention on the Cheap

    Aug. 2, 2021
    Hold open houses for existing customers. Put company stickers on systems you install or service. Invest in a quality service app. All so easy and affordable.

    For our August focus on customer retention, Charlie Greer provides some simple and practical ideas that will help customers remember you and stay with you.

    Never assume that everyone knows your company and its name. Even customers who were happy with your services can forget your name. I remember when I had a great experience with an auto repair shop and I wanted to use them again. I couldn't remember the name of the shop and I couldn't find my receipt. I looked through the Yellow Pages® (remember them?) and didn't see any names of shops that I recognized. This shop was a half-hour from my house and I had to pay a $2 toll to get there. I went to the industrial park I thought they were in and drove around looking for their shop and I couldn't find it. 

    Open Houses

    I know a fair number of contractors that hold an occasional Open House for existing (and new) customers. In fact, no contractor has ever told me it was a waste of time. Some of them have had more success with Open Houses than they've with booths at home shows. 

    Most of your customers have questions about heating and cooling and this is a chance to get them answered. In fact, you'll find out that's why most of them showed up.

    Open Houses often turn into a recruiting opportunity for new employees. 

    Most of your customers have questions about heating and cooling and this is a chance to get them answered. In fact, you'll find out that's why most of them showed up. 

    Get an inexpensive app, like Service Shift (https://serviceshift.com), that sends the techs' picture and bio, and a link to a map that tracks the techs' progress on the way to the call. People love that.

    Here are some of the guidelines contractors who've held Open Houses have given me:

    • Hold it in the early evening and have as many of your staff attend as possible
    • Have some nice equipment on display. You don't need to make it fancy. Just a nice condensing unit and furnace, and some indoor air quality products on display are more than adequate. Have literature on these products available, and make sure your company name and contact info are on it
    • Have some quality food and drink
    • Hold a drawing for a nice prizes. The more prizes, the better. They don't have to be industry related. Most people have been given gifts they didn't want that are still brand new. Ask your employees if they've got any of those laying around that they want to get rid of. I just did that here locally, and everyone loved their prizes.

    Stickers for Air Handlers

    Never under estimate the power of stickers. The very first call I ran when I took my training on the road was for an equipment lead. When I pulled into the driveway of an upscale home a woman came from behind it and asked me what company I was with. When I told her, she said, "Good. Your company installed an air conditioner in my main home, and I want air conditioning installed in my guest home out back. I couldn't remember the name of your company, so I just started calling air conditioning companies again. I just got the idea to go look at the air conditioner to see if your name is on it, and I just saw it there. So, there's the house. Just let me know how much it is and when you can do it. I've got to go back inside and cancel all those other appointments I made with contractors." 

    A lack of a sticker could have cost me this very large, very profitable job. 

    Modernize the Service Experience

    Get an inexpensive app, like Service Shift (https://serviceshift.com), that sends the techs' picture and bio, and a link to a map that tracks the techs' progress on the way to the call. People love that.

    Know their service history when you arrive. I can't stress the importance of this enough. People absolutely love it when I tell them I reviewed their service history before I got there, and repeat customers hate it when you don't know their service history. 

    Send the Same Tech

    You always get a warmer reception with customers for whom you've already provided service.

    Retaining your service technicians is crucial to retaining customers. A pattern I've noticed is that companies that can't retain their employees also can't retain their customers. I always hated it when I'd go to a shop to run calls with their techs and, as soon as I walk in the door, the customer says, "Every time you come here it's a different technician. Can't you guys keep employees? 

    CHARLIE GREER was recently voted the 'Favorite Industry Trainer," and is the creator of, "Slacker's Guide to HVAC Sales" and "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD." For information on Charlie's products call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822) or go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Email your sales related questions to [email protected].