March 2013 Issue
Marketing to HVAC service customers: Your best bet for soliciting feedback and referrals
Seeking out customer feedback and referrals must be a key component of your strategy when marketing to HVAC service customers. HVAC businesses that place their emphasis on one-time transactions are missing one of the keys to long-term business success. Building relationships with current customers for repeat sales and referrals is the way to establish a service business with staying power and powerful growth potential.
Learning from customers
If you didn’t start out with a well-designed customer database, and you don’t have a structured place to enter new details as you add customers and make new sales – you’re losing a lot of valuable information.
These days, running your HVAC service by the numbers can yield predictable results and business success – compared to running your business without keeping detailed records, when you’re left making plans by the seat of your pants. The good news is it’s never too late to get your database on track.
The value of direct referrals
Getting direct referrals makes selling much easier because these recommendations are hot leads. Selling to these individuals is extremely cost effective compared to winning new customers in any other way. These referred customers come to your business with a need and desire to buy, and they walk in already trusting you to a large extent. It (literally) pays to seek out referrals from your best customers.
By providing you with feedback/referrals, clients become more invested in your business, more involved in your success and more likely to continue assisting you as part of your “team.”
Loyal customers spread the word
Your loyal customers are also an excellent source of good word-of-mouth. The majority of people (71 percent per Forrester Research) investigate services and products online before buying, especially larger investments. Reviews are free advertising, often with more effect, because reviews aren’t bought – they’re earned. Marketing to HVAC service customers can garner reviews and testimonials from loyal clients. Reviews and testimonials from loyal customers have a great impact on their peers – your future customers. Just being an excellent HVAC Contractor isn’t enough to get good feedback, however…you need to WOW them.
How to get feedback:
• Ask. Ask your customers to leave feedback immediately after service is delivered and/or once your customer has had the opportunity to try the new / repaired product.
• Make reviews / feedback simple. Provide links to preferred review sites and / or your survey form. Ask and provide links for clients to share reviews on social media, Facebook, etc. Provide an opportunity for anonymous feedback, too. Include a simple star rating option with text, asking “give us your review” plus comment space.
• Create surveys. Some individuals prefer online surveys; you can use Facebook’s Questions tool if you have a business page. Others may respond to a postcard. Include a request for permission to quote responses. Consider a third-party survey, where customers may be more open and truthful with their answers. A research firm can also provide objectivity in analyzing and interpreting data.
• Offer incentives. Motivate, but don’t bribe. Encourage customers to provide reviews when marketing to HVAC service customers, but don’t specify “good” reviews. Offer incentives like the chance to win something. Providing discounts or free services in exchange may give the impression of buying positive feedback.
• Leave comment cards with clients at the end of service calls. Include a review / survey link on receipts. Customers might toss a business card but keep receipts.
• Follow-up. Via well-timed direct mail, email and / or a personal phone call. Physical mail is becoming rare, giving each piece more impact. Include a website address and prepaid postage to make your feedback form simple to fill out / return, and create opportunities to cross-sell.
Halo Programs specializes in marketing to HVAC service customers. We provide expert survey design, professional follow-up, response analysis and lead tracking for business growth.
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We offer professional services to get your database on the right track, then provide marketing programs and exclusive lead generation. Contact us at 800-521-0026 for a personalized consultation. Ask about our FREE, no-obligation, company database evaluation!