If you’re running a successful HVAC business, then you can understand the importance of always looking to expand your service area by growing your customer base. But maybe you’ve finally hit a plateau – there’s only so many air conditioning units around – and are looking for new methods to help grow your overall profit margins.
It’s no easy task with most competitors having access to similar tools and resources that help them find and secure new clients – fortunately, you can use them too!
Outside of buying a competitor’s book of business, expanding into new territories can take a large amount of time and effort but pay off greatly for your company. At the same time, building a strong web presence while providing top-notch customer service can quickly get overwhelming if you’re unprepared when new clients start rolling in. You’ve probably heard the phrase “suffering from success” going around and this is a great example.
To ensure you’re prepared, keep reading to learn six effective methods for how to sustainably grow your own HVAC business customer base!
Offline or online, once your company’s reputation is damaged it can be hard to secure new HVAC business opportunities. From local partnerships to earning more revenue, a bad customer service reputation can be detrimental.
Providing excellent customer service starts the moment a potential client reaches out to ask about your services. As soon as they inquire or press send (especially in an emergency situation), they’ll put you on a clock to respond. If you don’t respond fast enough, you’ll lose the potential customer and they’ll move on to the competition. Customer service can make or break any business and there’s never a bad time to make improvements!
So, where do you start?
Improving Customer Service
There are many ways to improve customer service and a common place to start is by creating better communication channels inside and outside of the company. Technicians need to be able to pass information between each other and/or the office in real-time to avoid simple mistakes on the job site. On the other hand, allowing clients to contact the company in the ways that are most convenient to them will show you’re trying to meet their needs before the business relationship even begins.
If you aren’t already, providing personalized services and offering flexible scheduling can help you find clients you might not have otherwise. If a customer needs a unique solution to tackle a complex HVAC issue – taking the time to create a customized business plan will show them that you’re willing to go above and beyond. Offering flexible scheduling (after regular business hours or on weekends) to accommodate customers who have nontraditional schedules is another way to improve customer satisfaction.
Once you’ve booked them in, it’s also important to keep them up-to-date with the process. For example, you can send them reminder emails a few days before their appointment, then instructions if they need to clear the area around the appliance, and, finally, a message to let them know their tech is on their way on the day of the job.
Addressing Customer Complaints and Concerns
You could be running the best HVAC company in the world and that still won’t spare you from the occasional bad review. And that’s a good thing! If you have hundreds of 5-star reviews, it can look a little suspicious to prospects looking you up.
With the right customer service team and technology, you’ll be able to address customer complaints or concerns in a professional and timely manner. This will show clients that you’re responsible and willing to own up to any mistakes made. Listening to customers and responding in a way that comforts them can save customers from changing to the competition or posting a bad review.
Marketing any business online is a crucial part of reaching the largest number of potential clients and showing off your credibility to them. Not only can you reach a new audience, but you’ll be able to track and analyze the data you collect from your online efforts. Investing in your HVAC marketing ideas will help them find additional ways to target new clients and improve their methods over time.
Optimizing a Website for Search Engines and Local Searches
When you’re learning how to start an HVAC company, you always see advice like “build a good website” and “make sure you show up in Google’s Local searches”. That’s great advice! But just because you’re not starting out anymore doesn’t mean you need to stop improving.
It’s important to make sure your website is constantly being optimized for search engines – on both the front and backends. There are many ways to accomplish this but it can take a lot of effort to properly implement and time to build a competitive web presence.
One of the best ways to increase your web presence and beat competitors is to create valuable content with HVAC-focused keywords. Content that your audience will spend time reading, listening to, watching, and hopefully sharing with even more potential buyers. The marketing plan will involve research, targeting, and publishing multiple forms of content (blogs posts, videos, social media posts, podcasts, etc…) with the relevant keywords your target marketing is searching for.
If anyone has a difficult time navigating the content you make – it’ll be hard for them to find you in the search engine and they’ll be less likely to move forward with your services. If you don’t have the knowledge to restructure the backend of the website yourself, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a third party or expert.
A common mistake companies make is not having their website optimized for mobile devices. Since most people are searching online using their smartphones – they’ll be looking for HVAC services or related content with them. If your website isn’t friendly to all search methods and engines, it’ll be an uphill battle for the marketing team to find success.
Many businesses choose to hire an agency to take care of their marketing. Check out the video below where Josh Moran, a marketing expert, explains why an in-house team is more efficient and when’s time to outsource.
Reach Potential Customers with Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to build relationships with current and potential customers. There are many ways to keep in touch with them – like sending newsletters, informative content, and expert advice that provides additional value to your clients outside of the products or services you regularly offer.
Not only is it a direct way to digitally talk with clients – you can use email marketing to let them know your availability for emergency maintenance or send periodic service reminders. Just like the other content you create, you can easily measure how effective and responsive your email marketing efforts are.
The marketing team can also make internal efforts to build backlinks through email marketing. Backlinks are an important part of creating and maintaining a high-ranking website and can take collaboration with non-direct competitors in the HVAC industry. The more backlinks the website can acquire, the more authority you’ll build in the search engines (it can also be a great opportunity to gain new social media followers!).
3. Offer Promotions and Incentives
When anyone starts their search for a new product or service, they’ll be on the hunt for a sale or deal that benefits them as much as possible. Everyone likes to save money – and if you properly set up your pricing structure you can build trust and positive brand awareness while appealing to a wide variety of customers.
Examples of Effective Promotions and Incentives
Offering promotions and incentives is a great way to stand out from and compete with others in your neighborhood. The right discounts on service or customer referral programs will get the local HVAC market talking about you in person and online – encouraging each other to take action and increasing your overall customer base.
Keep in mind that it’s not about making your services look disposable, but about offering the right incentive at the right time. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got all your costs down so that when you do offer a discount, it won’t hinder your HVAC business cash flow.
Monitoring the Effectiveness
Once you start running a new promotion or customer incentive program, you can use the email marketing list you’ve built to quickly distribute the necessary information to your target audience.
As previously mentioned, it’s important to track the success rate of your efforts and tweak them accordingly. Setting your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) at the beginning of your project is key. If you aren’t appealing to potential, current, and repeat customers – someone else will!
4. Leverage Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Encouraging Customers to Leave Reviews
Sometimes the hardest aspect of reviews is getting customers to leave them! If a client tells an HVAC business technician that they were a delight to work with – train them to persuade and provide the customer with the information they need to leave a review. You can even set up a program that provides clients with a small refund or discount after they leave a review. Consider rewarding technicians for the number of reviews they get a month!
When replying to reviews, express how important their business is to the company and that you appreciate them. Once you gather enough positive reviews, you can even put together a testimonial page on your website to quickly show clients what the company is all about.
Responding to All Reviews
It’s no surprise that a client who had a negative experience with a company or product will go online to write a bad review on the website or post negatively on social media. Since bad reviews can hurt your business and reputation – they can’t be ignored. Even if the technician or company doesn’t feel like they’re in the wrong, dealing with customers that are impossible to satisfy is a part of being an HVAC business owner.
Most business owners know they should respond to negative reviews, but one thing they forget is that positive reviews also need an answer or, at least, an acknowledgment. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but responding to positive reviews will also strengthen customer loyalty, improve your reputation, and meet customer expectations.
Showing clients that you’re willing to listen to the issues they had and are able to respond to them in a thoughtful manner will demonstrate responsibility and accountability to anyone searching and reviewing your services.
Businesses that reply to more than 25% of their reviews earn 35% more revenue on average.
Keeping track of and sharing physical documents will slow down your daily operations dramatically. Using the most advanced digital tools will ensure that you don’t get disorganized as you scale your customer base. Introducing a new piece of technology across your business might seem overwhelming but it’s a necessary part of managing growth.
Benefits of Using Software
If you aren’t using the latest technology or software to: communicate with customers, schedule jobs with optimized routes, never lose track of inventory, manage HVAC contractors, and brand your business – you’re going to struggle to build a larger customer base and consistently lose profits to the competition who is.
Improving Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
If you’re wondering what all of these benefits look like in action, look no further than Premier Heating Solutions, a family business started by Phil Mulvenna in 2015, who implemented their new software tool in 2017. Since then, Phil has said:
We’ve quadrupled our workload, but we’ve only doubled our workforce; this is because of all the features Commusoft offers… The beauty of Commusoft is that it’s a completely scalable solution.Phil Mulvenna, Owner of Premier Heating Solutions
Phil Mulvenna, Owner of Premier Heating Solutions
Clients will easily be able to tell if the company is unorganized or if technicians are unprepared when they arrive. With the right technological system in place – taking control of your operations as you expand your profitable HVAC business and grow the customer base can be stress-free. Taking advantage of technology and using it to help improve operations will result in increased efficiency and customer satisfaction.
It wasn’t just the Premier Heating Solutions team who noticed the improvement; their customers reacted with staggering positivity to the change in services since switching to Commusoft.
Phil shared that they have received “over 1000 five-star reviews online”. He attributes a portion of this accomplishment to their software saying, “we wouldn’t be able to offer the service as efficiently as we are, or, as effectively as we are” without it.
6. Use Your Social Media Accounts
Social media is a crucial digital tool available in today’s sea of technology to reach your target market or audience. There are over four billion people in the world that use social media – creating a near never-ending chance to find new opportunities for any business!
Share Valuable Content
Creating keyword content is a great way to plan posts for your social media. You can use snippets from blog posts, videos, or other pieces of content the marketing team creates to provide informative content to your audience and potential clients. You can also promote discounts, incentives, or special daily offers and pay to get them in front of anyone who recently searched for HVAC services.
Target Potential Customers with Paid Advertising
One of the most important things social media offers for businesses is the ability to advertise directly to a specific demographic or local area. You can use paid advertising to get more views on your content or promote one of your current deals or incentives!
For example: once you have a better understanding of what social media posts perform best for your company, you can start running HVAC Facebook ads with similar posts to earn more followers and grow your customer base.
Start Growing Your HVAC Business Customer Base Today!
There you have it – six tips to get you started and learn how to grow your HVAC business customer base! Placing high importance on training in customer service, utilizing online marketing strategies, offering promos and incentives, responding to customer reviews (positive and negative), and taking advantage of technology will work wonders and make growing your HVAC company easy!
Thanks for checking out the Commusoft blog - I’ve been helping business owners improve their strategies for a few years now, so I hope you were able to take something away from the content I’ve written. Feel free to continue exploring the blog - or reach out to us with any questions!