BE DIFFERENT on the Phone, Online, and in the Home

Don’t make the mistake of being like everyone else. The mistake of providing average service for average customers at average prices. You need to be remarkable.

Sadly, though, most businesses are NOT remarkable.

On the Phone

Just yesterday, I called into an HVAC business (whose name I won’t mention), and the CSR answered the phone with the same tone of voice I would expect from someone who had just been woken up at 3 a.m.: “Our Heating and Cooling Company, how can I help you?”

That greeting… that terrible greeting set the tone. I wanted to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

On the Web

Last week, I went to the website of a different home service business. Excitement brewed within me when I noticed a chat widget in the bottom right corner! “Surely, they are going to help me FAST,” I thought.

Think again.

They required me to complete a form BEFORE I could start a conversation with their company. Do you think I filled out that form? NO.  

One of the great things about chat is that you can collect that kind of information in a more conversational way than impersonal forms.

In the Home

A couple of years ago on a Sunday my wife and I could smell gas in the air of our home. The smell obviously worried us, and since we had a gas furnace we decided to call a local HVAC contractor to come to take a look for us.

On the phone when I asked for a “ballpark price”, he told me we would pay if there was something that needed to be fixed. Neither my wife or I remember any mention of the dispatch fee.

He did his inspection and was generally very kind to us. No gas leaks were found and the contractor went on his way wishing us a happy Sunday! The whole issue turned out to be something with our neighbor’s motorcycle. We thought that was the end of it, and we were grateful for the help.

A couple days later, we received an invoice for $100. Flustered, my wife called the contractor who emphatically, and rudely, told her that’s what we owed him. He was insistent that he told us the fee before hand and that we better pay up. A good experience, ruined.

For the record, it wasn’t the price itself that bothered us. After all, it was a Sunday that we had him come out on, and I understood how the industry worked. The problem was that A) he didn’t mention the fee beforehand and B) when we called to challenge him on it, he treated us like he was a collections agency and were past due debtors.

The Opportunity for You

Here’s the best/worst part of the experiences I have described above: they are common. It’s truly not that difficult to be different than everyone else in this industry.

When a customer calls you on the phone, you have an opportunity to WOW them. To treat them with respect and kindness, and be excited to talk with them.

When a customer visits your website, the technology is available to help you talk with customers the way THEY want to talk. Whether by phone, by chat (without forms), by social media, or even by texting! It’s easier than ever to set up your business so that the experience you create online is different and better than everyone else.

When you visit a customer’s home, you have the opportunity to set the expectation before you arrive, exceed that expectation while you are there, and love and respect your customers at every point that comes after.

Be different than everyone else! In the end, it’s the least risky thing you can do. The riskiest thing you can do? Be like everyone else.

The company that gets closest to their customers wins.

David Cancel, CEO of Drift

Whether by phone, by chat, by social media, or even by texting – customers expect to be able to communicate with businesses how THEY want to communicate. PowerChats is a tool we created to help you do that. check it out at