What is the number one challenge facing Home Service Businesses in the United States? COMPETITION.
According to IBISWorld, there are over 109,000 businesses in HVAC in the United States alone – that is not including plumbing, electrical, and other home service businesses.
I live in Logan, UT, a small, college town in northern Utah close to the Utah-Idaho border with a population of just over 50,000 people. A quick Google search of “HVAC repair near me” returns four pages of companies, with 21 companies on the first page alone. There is not much to distinguish these companies from each other on Google other than slight differences in ratings and the order in which they appear.
What’s more is that the industry is expected to grow by 2.8% annually through the year 2022 – meaning that the competition will only continue to intensify. So, I pose to you this question: how are you going to set your service business apart as different, better, and special in the years to come?
The Easy Answer
The easy answer to this question is to provide unparalleled customer service and provide work that is consistently of a higher quality than that of your competitors, right? With so many competitors though, how can you ensure that you are actually achieving that objective? Create a great experience and then hope they will come back again and tell all their friends about you? Such has been the case for many of the service businesses we have coached in the past, but there are two better answers to the question of how you will set your service business apart as different, better, and special from the competition.
1. Use Emotion
The first thing is to connect with your customers on an emotional level. Don’t just do a quality job when you perform a maintenance or repair (your competitors likely offer quality work as well). Build a relationship with the customer.
All business is human to human (H2H). And committed, long-term, human relationships are sequential and emotional. They develop over time as we add value to each other’s lives. My wife didn’t marry me because I am a “good provider” (there are millions of guys who can be good providers). She married me because I put in the work to nurture our relationship, show her I care deeply about her, and make sure she felt loved. Yes, I also happen to be a good provider, but that was not what sealed the deal.
Your customers are human beings just like my wife! They don’t become loyal to you simply because you are a “good provider” of heating, ventilation, cooling, plumbing, or electrical work. Again, there are millions of companies, your competition, that do that too! They become loyal to you when you put in the work to nurture the relationship, show them you care about them, and make sure they are comfortable and safe in their homes.
Looking for specific ways to make that happen? When you answer the phone, be cheerful and pleasant to talk to first. Ask them to tell you about their problems before you start asking for their address and other information. When the appointment is over, make a happy call to ensure that everything you did met and exceeded their expectations. When you are in the home, cover your feet! Walk the customer through your process, don’t leave them in the dark. Connect with them and empathize with them about their problem.
You need to develop an emotional relationship with your customers.
2. Sell Service Agreements
One of the other significant challenges facing service businesses is staying busy in the slow season and getting customers to come back and do business with us again. This is where service agreements can be the life-blood of your organization. When they are on a service agreement with your company, that almost instantly eliminates your competition completely from being that person’s service provider.
Service agreements are a way to ensure that the relationship is long-term and that there is a mutual understanding of that longevity.
Who should be selling service agreements in your company? EVERYONE. Your CSRs should be offering service agreements at the end of their phone calls. Your technicians should be offering service agreements in the home. You want to serve, and customers want to be served.
Center it all on the Customer Experience
The competition you face is significant and growing. We don’t want you to be “just another service company” on the search results. We want you to develop a reputation for being the most trusted service provider in your community. Do so by building relationships with your customers and getting them on your service agreement plan.
Since you are here reading this post, it makes sense that you need some help setting your company apart as different, better, and special. The most obvious thing would be for you to go here and request to have a customer service consultation with one of our business developers about your unique company. Also, make sure you download the Ultimate Guide to Customer Service for Home Service Businesses by clicking the image below!
Zac Garside believes in giving a voice to the ones that can change people’s lives. He works as the marketing manager at Power Selling Pros and lives in Logan UT with his beautiful wife and son. You can get Zac talking for hours if you talk about the Philadelphia Eagles or anything by Simon Sinek.