Home Performance is a tough business. It can also be very rewarding—on many levels—when done right. Done right. There is a tendency in our industry to focus on the technical side. This is understandable, especially since we’re faced with the fact the most homes operate poorly precisely because of poor focus on the technical while they were being built, maintained, or remodeled.
Let’s take it is a given the we need to provide high quality services, whether we’re talking about quality diagnostics, quality air-sealing, quality HVAC installation, whatever service we’re providing. But too often, we make a mistake and focus only on the technical. Unfortunately, that frequently comes at the expense of customer service. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard the tales from program folks around the country. And it’s a huge mistake.
Here are a few of the common traps the contractors in our industry throw themselves into too often.
Not returning calls or showing up on time. Marketing is everything you do. And everything you do impacts sales. If you don’t return calls quickly, potential customers will infer that’s how they’ll be treat with any project you take on—that makes sales tough. If you don’t call back, you open the door for your competitors. Don’t show up on time? Same idea.
Taking way too long to get back to customers with audit results. Three months? Yes, unfortunately there are stories of people waiting that long to hear back after the initial audit. We can scoff at the ridiculousness of that—three months is too long. So is three weeks. So is two weeks. You should be ready to go back to a customer within three days. Or less. Sometimes it will take longer to get back because the customer isn’t ready. But you should be. If you’re not, it’s time to examine your processes. (And yes, you can close a deal on the initial visit even without Energy Pro modeling.)
Not dealing with complaints or satisfaction issues. Everyone makes mistakes. Most customers recognize this. Yes, some unhappy customers can create enormous headaches. But fearing the headache, too many contractors run away. Instead, they should embrace the opportunity to learn, improve, and build loyalty. If you make a plan for the occasional complaint, take each complaint seriously run away, and resolve things quickly, you can actually benefit from them. Ignore them, and your trouble compounds, not just with the customer, but with the leads and sales you lose.
We can’t control the weather. We can’t control energy costs. We can’t control our competitors. But if we are diligent with the simple but important things that we can control, we’re much more likely to win customers, sales, loyalty, and more customers. If we ignore these things, it’s a long, tough slog, indeed.