A vehicle making loud, obviously abnormal noises is never a good sign. I asked around about a good mechanic, and I had multiple friends refer me to a mom and pop shop called “Alex’s Automotive” described with words like, “honest, fair, and trustworthy.” The issue was that the shop was nowhere near my house, so I wasn’t eager to make the trip to another city.
I noticed “Alex’s” coming back from an appointment and pulled in, without calling ahead. I hauled my toddler inside, told the desk agent about my problem, and he said, “All my stations are full. I don’t know when I can get to you. Maybe we could make an appointment on Friday? I would probably be able to get you in.”
Now, this man didn’t know that I train people to say YES and deliver an excellent customer experience for a living. Where was the yes, empathy or confidence a young mother in distress needed? Nowhere to be found. So I didn’t make a possible appointment and took my $1300 job to a run-of-the-mill, corporate auto shop which had a child’s station all set up, great service and the classic free water and coffee.
But do you know what happened when I brought my estimate home to my husband? He told me to call the mom and pop shop and make the appointment because “all of our friends really liked them. I think they’d do a better job.”
That is the power of referrals. Even after a bad experience, I am giving this company a second chance because somebody I trust said they are the best choice.
As a business in the home services industry, your most powerful tool is what customers say about you.
Are they writing good reviews? Are they suggesting your company to their friends and family because they were that impressed with their experience? Do you have a referral program in place to thank your customers for referrals?
Please keep in mind, most people won’t give you a second chance. Every client interaction needs to be an exceptional experience that stands out from your competitors. I can call any company to book my appointment and send a technician out to assess my problem. If you want my loyalty, you need to earn it through empathizing, listening, reassuring me and explaining the process to somebody inconvenienced by an unexpected, most likely expensive and time consuming problem.
So how do you build loyal customers who turn into raving fans?
You deliver a consistent WOW experience, go above and beyond and express gratitude.
Here are some of my favorite ways companies we work with go above and beyond.
5 Examples of HVAC Companies Generating Referrals Through Phenomenal Customer Service
- A Texas based company created “visa gift cards” with absolutely no value except to use the code as a $25-50 gift card off the next job with their company. As a thank you for referrals, the company sends the gift card with a handwritten thank you note. Customers love it!
- A California based company builds value and trust for their clients by sending out an email on the technician being dispatched to their home. It includes a quick, funny bio, a photo of the tech, as well as a quick video of the technician introducing himself. As a customer, you know who’s coming to your house and their qualifications before they ever enter your home.
- A Minnesota based company wraps up their call with “The Honey-Do List.” They ask, “Is there anything else I can help with before I leave?” Then they hand the customer a list of small jobs the technician can complete with his last 5-10 minutes at the customer’s home. Things like, changing a lightbulb, hanging a frame, fixing a smoke detector, and other small tasks fixable with the tools in the bright orange “Honey-Do Toolbox.” The customer may not rave about their now-functional A/C unit, but they’re going to tell everybody how the technician rolled their trash can to the curb.
- A Virginia based company delivers a box of gourmet cookies with a handwritten thank you note to every customer who completes a new install. That $10-$20 builds more loyalty than anything else they do. It’s noted in almost every online review they have.
- Another Texas based company asks, “Who can we thank for referring you to us today?” on every call, and then responds, “That’s so great! To show our appreciation we’d like to send them a gift card on your behalf. We have a great referral program here, and I’d be happy to send one to you too if you refer your friends and family!” Then the CSR sends a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card to the referring customer and successfully advertises the program to the new customer. Everybody wins!
You need to be tapping into word of mouth. It will be your best-spent marketing dollars because those customers will last a lifetime, and in turn, generate more referrals as they share your name with their circles. If you can’t launch a full-on program today, it’s okay. Start with handwritten thank you notes. You’ll be amazed how far a little gratitude goes.
Still not sure if any of these strategies will work for your team? As the customer experience experts, Power Selling Pros specializes in developing referral programs and a consistent WOW experience for every client interaction. Schedule a call with an expert or talk to your coach today!