7 Ways HVAC Service Companies Succeed by Texting
As an HVAC service company, you’ve got a lot going on. You’re trying to get new customers while servicing current customers, and make everyone happy.
Then you’ve got technicians to manage, budgets to keep up with, and various technologies to monitor so everything runs smoothly. Add the high level of competition for HVAC services in your area, and it’s a lot to handle!
At the end of the day, what you really want is a reliable way to grow your business without bursting your budget or taking time away from everything else you have to do. Right?
You’re not the only one who feels this way!
That’s why so many other heating and air conditioning companies have started texting. You probably text every day anyway, but there are at least seven ways HVAC service companies succeed with SMS.
7 Ways HVAC Service Companies Succeed by Texting
1. Generate new leads.
You can only service current customers so often, so it’s important that you have plenty of new leads - which you can turn into new customers - coming in. How does texting help you get new leads?
SMS Chat is a widget that goes on your website and allows customer to text you in real-time directly from your website.
You can set up an Autoresponse automation so a link to your calendar is automatically sent as a reply, and leads can book their own appointment. Or, you can manually reply with a few openings.
You can also prompt viewers to text you through digital marketing or social media for a discount code. E.g. “Text us for 20% off biannual servicing!” Keywords are a good option here. Your ad could say “Text HVAC for 20% off!” Then, anyone who texts in HVAC gets sent a coupon code.
Using keywords (with Text Request) automatically adds contacts to a group, too, so keeping up with who gets what discount - or reaching out to all of them later - is easy.
Texting tools like these can drastically improve your customer journey.
2. Schedule more appointments with new customers.
Time is money. Every hour not spent servicing customers is money lost. This also means the longer it takes you to set up an appointment, the more money you lose.
Obviously, that isn’t ideal. But what can you do about it?
So what do you do? You play phone tag, send multiple emails, and sometimes never even connect with that hot lead!
But text messages are read within five seconds of being sent, on average. This means you can connect with leads much faster and more consistently to schedule appointments.
As one Text Request customer said, “People don’t answer calls while they’re at work, but they’ll text all day.”
People actually read their texts. This helps you connect faster, which puts more money in your pocket. That’s a win-win!
3. Schedule more seasonal or biannual appointments.
Real money is made on repeat customers. When you’re able to service the same customers over and over again, you can increase revenue while decreasing marketing spend. That’s good business!
How does texting messaging help?
Text messages reach customers far better than any other form of communication. In fact, 99% of all texts are read! Most of them are read in the first few minutes, too. Here’s how HVAC companies are taking advantage.
They’ve found the sweet spot is to perform routine and preventative maintenance about every six months. So each week, these companies pull up their list of contacts, find everyone who’s due for maintenance, and send them texts to schedule appointments.
That message usually reads something like this:
Good morning! It’s time for your biannual HVAC tune up. We have openings on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Would either of those times work for you?
It’s that time again! Let us know when you’d like us to service your heating and air units. Thanks! - Joe @ Advanced HVAC
Sometimes these companies individually send messages to each customer. More often, though, they use our BCC group messaging.
They type and send one message that goes to everyone on their list. No one sees who else got the message, and replies go straight back to the business, not the group.
You could do the same thing, or even schedule messages to send in advance. For instance, after servicing a customer, you could schedule their next check in text for six or 12 months down the road.
It doesn’t take long for this simple step to bring you more revenue (and loyal customers).
4. Keep up with service technicians more easily.
Most HVAC service companies have a lot of people “in the field,” visiting customers’ homes and offices. How do you keep up with them all, or know who’s where and when?
You could have people call the office with updates. This is a hassle, though, and can tie up phone lines that should be reserved for customers.
Using pagers is another common option. Technicians page the office whenever they arrive at or leave a location. The office pages a technician whenever they need to call the office for an update or new customer address.
This takes a lot of steps, and then you have to supply (and maintain) pagers for all your technicians! Techs could write down when they arrive and leave, but this can easily be fudged, and likely won’t give you the most accurate results.
How would texting be any better?
Every text message comes with a timestamp. Technicians can text the office when they show up to a customer’s house or office, and when they leave. It takes minimal time, and you get a permanent record.
Texting also comes stock on every cell phone, so you don’t have to worry about supplying or maintaining any devices.
Smartphones will even open an address in Maps with a simple click. So if you text one of your guys an address, they’ll have a record that can also give them instant directions (which means you might not have to supply GPSs either).
Finally, picture messaging can be helpful, too. Not sure if a needed part is in stock? Send a picture to the office, and have someone check. In short, texting with technicians can help your HVAC business run more smoothly.
5. Finalize more service contracts, faster.
Service contracts mean guaranteed revenue. That’s good! Getting them can be a hassle, though.
You either need to be with the customer in person, or go through a series of scanning, printing, emailing, and/or faxing. You’re willing to do this for the money, but it’s not ideal.
Why not use picture messaging?
For office workers, the process would be roughly the same. Take your standard contract file, and attach it to a text inside Text Request.
Now the customer has it right on their phone. If their phone’s picture app has a drawing or pen option, they could even sign it and send it back without having to print a thing.
Or, if a service tech is with the customer when they sign a physical contract, they can send a picture of it to the office. The contract can be processed before 5 o’clock, and you automatically have a permanent digital record! This is often better for everyone.
6. Send promotions customers actually see.
Occasionally, you’ll have a sale or discount or some kind of promotion. These are great for restimulating customer spending, but they only work if people know about them.
Normally, businesses like yours would promote these offers through email marketing. But the average email open rate is only 18%! You could advertise your promotion on Facebook. That’s not a bad call, but results are often hit or miss.
Or, you can text all your past customers about your promotion. With Text Request, it’s easy to send one message to your entire list of contacts - just like you would send an email campaign.
The only difference is that 99% of texts are read. That’s 450% better than email! Sending promotions via text can lead to more revenue, referrals, and reviews for your business.
7. Get more online reviews.
Testimonials and reviews are powerful. You probably know this - one happy customer experience can be your best marketing tool, and one angry one can be your worst.
It might not surprise you, then, that 9/10 people say online reviews on business listings affect their buying decisions. Or that companies with 10 reviews get 50% more click-throughs than those with 0 (that gap widens with more reviews).
As one contact said, “It’s simple. When we got more online reviews, we got more customers.”
The question is, how do you get more online reviews? Our complete guide, How to Get More 5-Star Online Reviews, gives more details, but the simple answer is “text.”
More people read texts than emails, and links included in text messages have an average click-through rate of 36%, which is 18X better than email’s meager 2%.
When you get a happy customer, ask them politely for a Google, Yelp, or Facebook review, and text them the link to leave it. That’s what other HVAC service companies are doing (and they love it).
The next step is pretty simple: Start texting.
If you’re already a Text Request user, treat this guide as a template for success. If you aren’t, sign up on our Pricing page. It only takes a moment.
We don’t charge for contacts or users, so choose your plan based on how many messages you think you’ll send. You can also change plans at any time (we don’t have contracts). What’s important is that you start, because you won’t get any of the results covered above until you do.
If you still have questions or want to see a demo before signing up for Text Request, pick a time with one of our experts on our Demo page.
The sooner you start using these seven texting strategies, the sooner you’ll be able to reliably grow your HVAC service company or small business without bursting your budget or taking time away from everything else you have to do.
You can even use your existing phone number!