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Although we serve clients from a variety of industries, Blue Corona has a special place in its little heart for need-based home service companies. As an example, we absolutely LOVE helping HVAC companies get more leads and sales from the web. Our team of web marketing experts has extensive experience helping HVAC companies increase website traffic, convert more web visitors into leads, and more leads into sales. We’ve got clients that have grown so fast that they’ve landed on the Inc. 5000 and others that have been recognized as leaders in the industry by winning the National Comfort Institute (NCI) Contractor of the Year award.
While we can help you get more leads from the Web until we’re blue in the face (why do you think we’re called BLUE Corona? Actually, that’s not why at all. Forget I said anything), it’s up to you to seal the deal when your phone rings.
But just because we can’t answer your phone calls for you doesn’t mean we can’t help you convert more inquiries into booked jobs.
I’ve interviewed two of Blue Corona’s service industry call handling experts in converting more phone leads about the top mistakes HVAC companies make on the phone that ultimately cost them the sale. With our call tracking and call tagging services for HVAC companies (which our best and most successful clients take full advantage of), we’re able to not only accurately track our clients’ phone leads, but also listen to their calls. Through this service, we’re able to identify and recover potential lost leads, as well as pinpoint why the sale wasn’t made.
Here are the main mistakes we’ve identified:
Mistake #1: Your Customer Service Representatives Aren’t Well Trained
Whether they realize it or not, your customer service representatives (CSRs) are essentially sales reps for your HVAC company. Whoever answers the phone call is the first, and sometimes the only, impression of your company. It’s therefore crucial to create a process for your call handling team, implement a training program, and measure, track, and continually optimize its effectiveness.
In addition, many CSRs fail to make the sale simply because they lack the expertise of what they are representing. For example, we’ve heard of many cases of CSRs saying the HVAC company they work for doesn’t offer a service when it actually does. Walking around your office, you’ve probably even heard this happen! Since most HVAC companies offer a wide variety of heating, cooling, and other services, it’s crucial that your CSRs are trained on exactly what services you offer. We know what you’re probably saying—you’re busy—be that as it may, the alternative is lost sales.
And although we think this one should be obvious, your CSRs should be trained to act professional. When someone calls you for HVAC services (or any services for that matter), your tone of voice can make all the difference, as well as your opening line. Make sure to include the company name, who you are, and of course, ask how you can help.
Mistake #2: Failing to Capture Contact Information
There are several ways this mistake can occur, such as through excessive holds or transferring calls. It’s absolutely critical that you train your CSRs to capture each caller’s information (name, phone number, location) as early as possible in the conversation. It’s absolutely unbelievable how many CSRs fail to do this!
Our call tagging services, in which we monitor and categorize our HVAC clients’ calls, allow us to recover a lot of these otherwise lost leads for our clients. In fact, we once helped one of our clients recover a lead for a $30,000 job!
Mistake #3: Delaying or Not Asking for the Sale
Typical consumer behavior suggests that when looking to make a decision, most consumers will shop about three companies—reducing your chances of turning your call into a sale. For this reason, it’s very important to try and book an appointment on the first call.
You can do this by creating a sense of urgency by offering an incentive to book now as opposed to later, such as suggesting that you have a tech right around the corner on XX date or using leading questions vs. yes/no question (instead of asking, “would you like me to schedule someone to come out and take a look,” ask, “how does Tuesday between 12-3pm work for Bill to come by and have a look.”) In addition, you should differentiate yourself as much as possible in a way to touch on your consumer’s pain points. For example, if you’re an HVAC company and the caller is looking for air conditioner repair, you can highlight that your company offers same day, 24/7 service, especially if your competitors don’t do this!
When it comes to HVAC services, your potential customers are looking for reassurance that your company can remedy their heating and cooling issues, so confidence is key. Statements like “We do that all the time!” or “That’s our specialty!” can go a long way here.
Even if you fail to make the sale on the first call, make it clear what the caller’s next steps should be and give them a phone number to call you back.
Mistake #4: Trying to Upsell too Early
Many companies offer commission incentives for their CSRs to upsell certain services or products. However, it’s important to focus on the service the caller NEEDS and booking that appointment before you attempt to upsell. Train your CSRs to ask key questions and then, based on their answer, offer a benefit statement. For example, if you were to ask the caller for a time frame on getting the repair made and they say, “ASAP,” you might say, “Perfect, that’s one of the reasons so many people in your situation hire us–we’re in your area A LOT and can get a tech to your house very quickly.”
Mistake #5: Failing to Audit Your Call Handling Team
Regularly auditing your call handling team is crucial for testing new sale strategies and tracking your success rate. If this sounds like a royal pain in the butt, you can always hire us to do it for you! Our team will set up special tools that allow us to establish a baseline for your CSRs call handling skills. We’ll also secret shop your company and put together an analysis with recommendations. Depending on the outcome, we can also implement a training plan with regular monitoring and follow up evaluations.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your phone call handling performance, contact us today.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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