Running an HVAC business is tough.
In the swelteringly hot summer months, the phone rings constantly. The jobs pile up, and technicians are kept busy. The same goes for those long cold winters.
Customers give their AC or heaters a break in the spring and fall, but this presents other issues. Work slows down, and it’s too quiet. You’ve got employees to pay and a business to sustain. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to keep the phone ringing and work coming in all year round. With a good strategy and an excellent HVAC answering service, out-of-season efforts prepare you for peak seasons that run smoothly and successfully.
Reach out to existing or repeat customers
In slow seasons big new jobs are harder to come by. But new business doesn’t necessarily mean new leads.
Customer retention is valuable for every industry. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is on average between 60-70%. And the HVAC industry is no exception.
Off-peak periods are the perfect time to remind them about the importance of servicing and entering hot or cold seasons with a fully-functioning AC or heating system. No one wants it to break at the height of summer or depths of winter.
Chances are you will need to remind customers to get a service, as most won’t have it marked on the calendar. Sending out emails to customers, posting about the importance of maintenance on social media, and advertising service packages are great ways to get people calling up to book.
If you are pushing services – especially if you’re spending money on advertising – making sure you answer each call is crucial. Most people will sort out work like this in the evenings or at the weekend. You don’t want to have to answer your phones at the dinner table, but missing calls will mean missing business. This is where an HVAC answering service, like AnswerForce, comes in. Our trained staff can make sure your business answers every call. They can also book appointments, or even make outbound calls to nurture existing leads.
Follow up on old leads
Booking a service doesn’t just apply to repeat customers. Make contact with customers you haven’t heard from in a while. You can offer service reminders or upgrades.
Now is the time to follow up on old leads that were sidelined in favor of warmer, high-priority leads. Follow up, see if they still need help. Many will have moved on to another company, but it’s likely some will still need work done.
This can nurture relationships, build brand loyalty, and gain repeat customers. Why does this matter? Because more than 50% of customers will spend more money with companies that they feel a sense of loyalty towards.
Part of our answering service for HVAC company, allows you to use a lead capture service with our virtual receptionists to make outgoing calls, so they can nurture and convert old leads.
Offer out-of-season discounts
Discounts exist to drive interest. They’re a great way to encourage customers to take action. Someone thinking about getting work carried out will often take action much sooner if there is a discount available.
Here are three things to keep in mind to make your discount work:
- Make it a good deal for everyone. Enough of a discount to make it appealing to customers, but also not too big that you don’t make any money.
- Add in scarcity. Either make it only for a certain amount of time or for a pre-set number of customers. ‘10% off AC servicing in April’ or ‘first 20 jobs booked’ – this makes people take action because they don’t want to miss out.
- Offer deals irregularly. If you do offer a deal, don’t do it too often or regularly. If there is a pattern, your customers will learn this and won’t book work until you have a discount.
If you don’t want to offer a discount broadly, then do it targeted to regular customers. You can do this by sending emails to a specific group of existing customers. Make sure you let them know why they are getting the deal – ‘repeat customer special’ – this shows you value them.
Smarten up your online presence
The off-season is the perfect opportunity to get ahead on your marketing. It’s a great time to handle all the things that usually get sidelined during busy months.
If you don’t have an online presence, this is prime time to start building an audience. Social media is one of the most effective tools for marketing with more than 4.55 billion people now using it to make purchasing decisions.
Managing your online business listings on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Angi’s (formerly Angie’s List) is crucial for HVAC businesses. When someone is searching in a hurry when their AC breaks down in mid-summer, these are the places they turn to. Taking the time now to update them could mean much bigger returns later on.
If your listings don’t need work, it’s likely your website does. You could refresh SEO, update existing content, or draft blogs so that you have fresh content to upload when you’re too busy over the summer. To streamline marketing, repurpose content into social media posts during the peak season and use a scheduling tool to avoid more work later.
Getting HVAC leads out of season can definitely be harder, but it doesn’t mean your business should be really slow. The key ways to keep business coming include:
- Encouraging previous customers to get services.
- Advertising the benefits of servicing equipment ready for when it’s needed.
- Look at offering discounts or packages, even if just to loyal customers.
- Follow up on older leads.
- Make sure your marketing is up to date so people searching for HVAC repairs and work can find you.