Building a great independent contracting company in the industries of HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical requires the provision of service excellence. But a great service company must achieve service excellence by also focusing on the foundational aspects of sales, leads, and retention. The focus on retention within a company can sometimes be unintentional placed “on the back burner” because it is not always an immediate revenue booster. However, retention of clients and employees is a vital aspect to the health and growth of an independent contracting company.
Retaining customers is especially important during slower business times when demand calls are not streaming in because it is these current customers who may have scheduled maintenance plans that will keep your service technicians and sales technicians busy and productive. Routine tune-ups during the slower business time can also create opportunities for leads, add-on sales, repairs, and replacement because technicians are face-to-face with the client. When boiled down, good client retention can be attributed to:
-Need-When your company meets a customer’s need then an instant connection is built. This step can be very straightforward when a customer makes a demand call to your company. But there are times when a customer does not know that they have an issue that needs attention, thus technicians and other company employees must reveal the issue to the customer. Many clients may not know that for the greatest HVAC system efficiency they need a system tune-up annually. Clients may not be aware of the health benefits of add-on products such as HVAC Indoor Air Quality products or plumbing water quality products. But when a customer is shown their need first-hand and they understand the repercussions of the issue, then they can make a well-informed decision. Client education is vital to the long-term retention of clients.
-Message- Potential customers want to do business with a great company and every great company needs to have a consistent message. It does no good if your company promises service excellence but in the end the customer receives mediocre service and attention. Customers value a consistent message. There are two insightful questions that every independent contracting company should ask: “what is our message and values?”; and “how do we follow through with our message and values?” When a company can address the first question with their specific message and values then the company can effectively move forward by making their message and values measurable.
-Relationship-Quite possibly the best way to great client retention is through relationship building. No customer wants to feel that a service company is only interested in taking their money and never following-up. When a customer feels valued and connected to a company they will be clients for life. Relationship building doesn’t have to mean managers and all employees must know every customer by first name (although this would be very effective relationship building) because it is not feasible for most companies. But lasting company-to-client relationships are built when customers feel their investment is highly valued and that they always receive polite and efficient service.
While retaining clients may not always bring in large, short-term revenue it is the lifeblood of maintaining a healthy, growing business in the long run. Excellent client retention occurs when customers know their need for your service, value your consistent message, and feel that they have a relationship with your company.
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