“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” That saying is at the heart of customer experience: consistently execute every step in a customer’s journey. That is vital when your customers’ heating and air conditioning is at stake. So, how do major HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contact centers ensure their customers get the best possible experience? Here are five tips:
Train every employee and subcontractor on the importance of customer service. Here is a personal example: I booked a furnace repair from a highly rated HVAC company. Their booking Agent was knowledgeable and friendly. However, the technician that came to my house was rude and bad mouthed the previous technician (from his own company) who did last year’s work. From a customer perspective, that erased their Agent’s great performance and the positive experience with last year’s technician. The weakest link in the chain is what customers remember!
Train employees and subcontractors to be empathetic. Especially during the hectic "Light Up" season (when customers turn on their furnaces for winter) and "Cool Down" season (when they turn on their air conditioning in early summer.) Callers may be freezing cold in November or horribly hot in early June. They may be concerned about young children and elderly relatives getting chilled or overheated. To address these concerns, train your team to show empathy, no matter how busy the queue gets.
Deal with one of your customer’s biggest pet peeves: appointment times. Has your contact center ever received calls that start with, “Where is the service tech?” or “When are they coming to my house?” Train Agents to preempt that complaint by clarifying appointment times. When a customer hears, “Your appointment is scheduled between Noon and 3:00 PM”, some customers think a technician will arrive at Noon and be done by 3:00 PM. Avoid “expectation failure.” Let them know a technician will ARRIVE sometime between Noon and 3 PM to START doing the work. The repair may take up to three hours after they start (for example.) So, the homeowner should have someone available to let the technician into the house from Noon onwards and stay with them until 6:00 PM. Setting accurate expectations will reduce customer callbacks and improve customer experience.
Help customers upgrade to a higher efficiency water heater, furnace or air conditioner so, they save money on natural gas and electricity. Inform them of government grants that reduce their purchase or rental cost. Mention how more efficient appliances help the environment. Many rental programs also cover annual maintenance and repairs for the duration of the rental. So, customers feel better knowing they will not have to pay extra to keep their new water heater, furnace or air conditioner running. This type of upsell is a form of proactive customer service. You never want customers to say, “How come no one told me about…”
Offer products that will improve your customer’s quality of life. For instance, attaching a humidifier to their furnace will reduce dry, itchy skin in the winter and help prevent furniture and wood floors from cracking due to dryness. Or, installing a HEPA air filter will reduce allergy irritants and cooking odors while improving home air quality. The key is training your Agents on how to “soft sell” as an extension of service. So, customers get exceptional proactive service and your contact center generates more revenue.
Be sure to use these five tips to improve your organization’s customer service approach and make customers happier.