Your customers first contact you because their water heater is on the blink, or their air conditioning doesn’t seem to be cooling like it should. Maybe they’re worried their furnace is unsafe.

Your potential customer does a Google search and your site comes up. Or maybe a partnership with a real estate agent leads to your landing a new contact. This is great; your marketing is working. But marketing efforts shouldn’t stop there.

How you treat your customers, how you solve their problems, and how you maintain contact with them afterwards is also marketing. In fact, handle the call correctly, and your customer might just help do your marketing for you. It’s easy for a positive review from a customer to be read by thousands in your community.

At a restaurant or resort we expect, or at least hope, to be wowed by the service. We don’t always expect it from our HVAC guys. The wow factor is a chance to set your business apart from the other guys, and make sure clients spread the word about your company. The effort it takes is well worth the payback.

Use these tools to turn your customers into converts:

  • Listen to the customer’s concerns. They may not use the right terms, but listen anyway.
  • Train your techs to be courteous and friendly. I’ve had pleasant techs visit my home, as well as techs that complain or are rude. Guess who gets called back?
  • Keep the customer’s house clean.
  • Give stuff away. Offer tips on what the homeowner can do to prevent the problem from recurring, and how they can save money on maintenance or energy costs.
  • Give a thorough recap of service and charges at the end of the call. Ask, “Is there anything else we can do for you?”
  • Thank them for their business and offer an incentive for referrals.
  • Follow up with a phone call to make sure the repair was effective and ask if they need anything else.
  • Call with a reminder when it’s time for fall or spring service.

Clients are attracted by your product, but it’s the whole service experience that turns them into loyal customers and motivates them to recommend you to their friends. Give them a good reason, and they become part of your marketing team.

An after-word here. I don’t mention online review services like Angie’s List, or Google Places or the myriad other services out there. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on these as they can be excellent sources of great reviews….or places where a bad review can demolish your reputation. Make sure to check them out often and tackle any issues that crop up before it’s too late.