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[Webinar] 5 Steps to Booking More HVAC Services

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This article is taken from our “Booking More HVAC Services” Webinar below, featuring Ray Clark, Head of Sales for Schedule Engine and Kelsey Johnson, Product Marketing Manager for Smith.ai.

You want to book more services and earn more revenue for your heating and air conditioning business.

The industry has seen a boom after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and you’re looking for ways to streamline business and capture every lead that comes your way (without drowning in work)!

Where do you start?

Here are five questions we’ll walk you through:

  • How do you make the most of your marketing budget?
  • How can you turn a higher percentage of leads into paying customers?
  • How do you re-sell and up-sell customers consistently?
  • How do you encourage customers to refer their friends and family?
  • What does it take to manage all these extra bookings and communications with ease?

We’ll help you tackle these starting points so your HVAC business can beat competitors and schedule more services.

1. How do you make the most of your marketing budget?

The #1 driver for HVAC service purchases are emergencies. HVAC is an on demand industry (consumers don’t plan for their heating and air systems to bust). So you want your marketing strategy to reflect that by targeting customers who are already looking to make a purchase.

That means making sure you rank first in local Google searches.

There’s a lot that goes into search engine optimization (SEO). But a few simple things you can tackle first are:

  • Getting more reviews
  • Optimizing your website for mobile
  • Getting your business listed on a Facebook page
  • Making sure your business is listed on Google Indexing

Related: 5 Local SEO Tips to Get Your Small Business to #1 in Search Results

Beyond SEO, you also want to make sure you're prepared to help those customers once they reach out or find you.

88% of consumers expect an immediate response when they contact your business. And if you’re not there to answer them, they’ll move on to a competitor.

It’s hard (and unrealistic) for your team to be available 24/7, especially when customers reach out to you after hours or on the weekends. So instead, you should focus on getting back to customers with a next step, like:

  • Scheduling a call
  • Letting them book their own service time online
  • Providing a time frame for when you’ll respond
  • Send an automated message confirming you got their note

Just letting the customer know that you received their message can make a huge impact when they’re in the middle of a crisis. That’s why tools like autoresponses for texts or a digital receptionist for calls can make a lasting positive impression.

You’ll get the most returns when you make it easy for new customers to connect with you and get services booked.

What about the consumers who aren’t ready to purchase a service?

While the majority of your customers will want to book a service ASAP, there will still be a handful of consumers who visit your website during the research phase of their customer journey.

Your HVAC company can nurture those leads by creating FAQ and “How To” pages on your website to answer any questions they have.

The best FAQ pages will identify the most common questions customers have. For an HVAC business, those are typically:

  • How often do I need to change my air filter to get the best indoor air quality?
  • How often should I have my HVAC system serviced?
  • What size unit do I need?
  • If I replace my outdoor unit, do I need to also replace my indoor unit?
  • What causes air conditioner units to freeze up?
  • What’s the best way to extend the life of my unit?

Your goal is to give them everything they need to make a decision, then be there to follow-up once they’re ready to book.

2. How can you turn a higher percentage of leads into paying customers?

Customers will not unlearn convenience. They have high expectations after the digital boom from the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’ve become accustomed to fast, on demand, and digital service.

That’s why if your HVAC business is going to be competitive, you need to make it easier for homeowners to schedule appointments.

But how do you do that?

70% of consumers expect businesses to offer the ability to book online.

So one of the fastest ways your HVAC business can up its game is by changing your website’s contact form into an actual booking system (or a chat box they can use to schedule appointments or service calls).

SMS Chat is one example of a tool you can use for scheduling appointments.

It’s a widget that goes on the bottom right corner of your website. Visitors use it to send your business a message, and your responses go directly to their cell phone as a text.

It connects them to you immediately and drives faster conversions.

Tools like SMS Chat are also great for those consumers who have questions but aren't quite ready to purchase or book a consultation. You quickly help them, and that positive experience stays with them.

3. How do you re-sell and up-sell customers consistently?

The key here is retention. You spend so much converting customers once, and it's 5-7x more cost effective to turn previous customers into repeat customers than to only focus on new accounts.

Afterall, you can only re-sell and up-sell customers who stick with you, so how do you make sure you stay top of their mind?

You stay top of mind by building relationships with existing customers. And the best way to build relationships is by keeping in the loop with email marketing newsletters or occasional texts.

Your goal with these messages is to offer value that reminds customers why they chose your business in the first place, and this value could come in the form of:

  • Discounts and digital coupons
  • Updates on new services
  • Educational content
  • Behind the scenes content of your team

Just be sure you’re using a channel customers will actually see. Communicating with your customers won’t amount to much if they don’t open the messages you send.

For example, only 5% of calls are answered, and 15% of emails are opened. But texts are read 99% of the time.

That’s why some of the HVAC business owners who use text for promotions and tune-ups have gotten a 6,800% return!

Related: 22 Text Templates to Engage and Retain More Customers

4. How do you encourage customers to refer their friends and family?

Word of mouth marketing is twice as effective as paid advertising—especially now that word of mouth marketing has moved to the digital space in the form of Facebook groups and LinkedIn communities.

People are already comfortable making referrals in these social communities, and you want to leverage that so they refer your business. But you need to make sure you have a presence on those platforms first.

Start by choosing just one channel where your clients and networks already are, then be active in conversations there. You want to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

For example, if you're customers are on Facebook, you should spend time in conversations with people in your community on Facebook. That includes adding existing and potential customers as friends, getting into networking groups or HOA pages, etc.

Related: [Podcast] 5 Essentials to Succeeding on Social Media

How do you build relationships on the platform you pick?

Referrals come from relationships and providing good experiences. Only when you’ve provided a quality customer service experience can you ask someone for them.

When you ask for referrals, do so through individual conversations as opposed to a larger campaign. Referrals in general need to become a part of the way you act daily, as opposed to a campaign you push once a year or once or quarter or only once period.

Social media is about conversations, not a sale. So talk to these groups like you’re a real person, before you ask them for review or referrals. Make sure you’re also asking customers you've actually worked with.

Hop into local listings and offer advice that piques your audience’s interest and establishes you as an expert. Pay attention to the questions the people in these groups have, then answer them in the form of content, like:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Graphics

Your goal is to become a HVAC industry expert these groups trust. From there, you’ll naturally begin to accumulate brand ambassadors who champion your business on these platforms.

PC: Dreamgrow

5. What does it take to manage all these extra bookings and communications with ease?

What you really want is a reliable way to grow your HVAC business without busting your budget or taking time away from everything else your team has to do.

A great online booking software, like Schedule Engine, can go a long way in converting customers, while a virtual receptionist or virtual CSR, like Smith.ai, can help you manage communications and scheduling.

Texting can also help you manage your influx of bookings.

99% of texts are read and responded to within 90 seconds. People love to text (it’s the number one consumer preferred form of communication), and your customers would much rather do that than call or email you.

You just need a platform to help you manage your texts in the most professional way, and Text Request can help with tools and features like:

  • SMS Chat
  • Autoresponses
  • Keywords
  • Groups
  • The ability to send photos of service areas
  • Text enabling your phone number

You have to find ways to become more efficient, and your HVAC team may need extra support to do that.

What’s your next step for booking more HVAC appointments?

Start by differentiating your company. Why should someone work with your HVAC business over a competitor’s?

Convenience is one answer.

Customers want instant gratification and to save time. So make a list of what you think will help you provide that most efficient customer service, and start eliminating the bottlenecks that keep you from increasing your bottom line.

Prioritize changes you can make, and pick the lowest hanging fruit (or the simplest update that will have the largest effect). Then move on to the next update on your list, tackling one improvement at a time.

Related: 7 Ways HVAC Service Companies Succeed by Texting (Plus Templates)