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6 Steps to a Memorable HVAC Customer Service Experience

March 15, 2019 • Life is very much about experiences. From an incredible meal at a much-loved restaurant to a perfect vacation spot nestled in the rugged mountains or along a sandy coastline, we strive for moments that stand out. It should come as no surprise those seeking help with their heating and cooling needs would want the same thing from their HVAC company. Okay, maybe a condensing unit repair isn't exactly sipping an umbrellaed drink somewhere on a beach. The experience for the client, however, can mean just as much. After all, you are addressing issues that directly affect a vital everyday concern of theirs - how comfortable they are in their home. Resolving the problems quickly and professionally will make you a hero. It can also create a long term client and plenty of future referrals. What does an amazing customer experience look like? More importantly, how do you provide that experience to your customers consistently? From the first call for service to the final follow-up and beyond, these are the six critical steps to make your customer's journey a rewarding one, even if it doesn't end at the base of a snow covered mountain. 1. Make Every Call Count The first impression is one that lasts. That very first call, email or other inquiry you receive from a prospect sets the tone for the relationship the customer has with your company. So make it count. You rarely get an opportunity to correct a poor first impression. The best way to avoid a bad initial encounter is to make sure you have a great one. Pro Tip: Don’t immediately place new callers on hold, even in the midst of a chaotic part of the day. Make the time to speak with and understand a caller's concerns; don’t rush them off the phone. If you or your team are overwhelmed, that demand might be justification for more help (with the costs more than covered by all of the new business). Answer emails within 12 business hours. If that proves a struggle, common responses to common inquiries are okay as long as the reply is personalized. Sometimes, the most straightforward need of the customer is just to be acknowledged. Monitor social channels: if you utilize online chat or social media as a means for consumers to interact with your company, monitor those channels regularly. Pro Tip: Regardless of how you structure your first line of contact, the key to growing your business is the ability to respond to it. 2. Customers Value Their Time - You Should Too Few if any individuals enjoy waiting around for nothing to happen. You don’t like it. Your team doesn’t like it. Most of all your customers don’t like it. Internally, a well-run operation dedicates itself to managing a tight and efficient schedule. You have your service area mapped, your techs accounted for, assigned and en route, and an understanding of the day's workload. Wonder how you can manage your HVAC business schedule and dispatch more efficiently? Housecall Pro has a solution . Take it further and make certain that all of the appointments during that day understand all of the information as well. When scheduling a call-up front, give the customer an accurate window of when a tech will arrive. If you want to rise above all other providers, make the window as small as possible - two hours, instead of four or, if you're ambitious, try for one hour, instead of two. On your way? Let the individual know when you're coming. If a job takes longer than anticipated, let the next appointment know. A lot of overheated clients can be cooled off if someone keeps them aware of their place in line. Even better is that many individuals are satisfied with a text. When you get there, don’t waste time at the job either. At that moment, the customer is the focus - not a personal phone call, not a break for a snack, not a back and forth with dispatch on non-related concerns. Yes, your company's time is valuable. The client's time, however, is even more so. Don’t take that for granted at any point in the relationship. 3. Don’t Undervalue the Many Forms of Communication If making repairs to heating and air conditioning systems were easy, everyone would do it, right? For many homeowners, the ins and outs of HVAC are indeed a foreign language. They understand the basics - hot, cold, and some of what’s in between - but that knowledge is lacking should a minor concern become a major repair. Employ appointment schedulers to help clients get to the heart of their concern. Train techs to aptly explain to homeowners the steps being taken to resolve their problem. Pro Tip: Never let a tech leave a job without walking through the final repairs with the customer. Communication isn’t limited only to the service call, repair job, or follow-up (which we cover below). Engaging with customers - both current and future - means developing an ongoing relationship. Your website is the perfect medium for this. With informative blog posts about all things HVAC and videos that present heating and cooling how-tos or product demonstrations, you can extend your brand beyond its primary service function. Not only will this shine a spotlight on your company’s expertise, but it will also inform consumers that you’re more than just basic service. Yours is a base of knowledge, dedicated to educating owners about one of the most vital systems in their home.   4. Would You Do Business With Your Business? It's a good question that many companies do not ask enough. If you were someone in need of a system tune-up or replacement of a major component, would you hire you? Is your office and sales team friendly and informative, and quick to respond to clients? Are your service technicians professional and courteous with clean, crisp uniforms and trucks that are kept equally immaculate? Do you ensure that all information and promotional materials - website, brochures, newsletters, mailers - are polished, error-free and convey positive messaging? When thinking about how your HVAC company presents itself to clients, understand the positive message you want to convey is a collective one. To achieve that cohesive image, everyone must be on the same page. Make sure your office team (and your field team, too) are friendly and informative and know where to get answers for customers when issues come up. Your techs often have to work outdoors or in hot, dirty attics or crawl spaces. Have them keep extra shirts handy, so they can show up to each job as if it were their first of the day. Of course, along with the uniforms, the tools your company use should also be kept clean and are in working order ready for any job. Your equipment may not be new, but there’s no reason for it not to look and perform that way. Customers notice that kind of thing. More importantly, those are the companies they want to do business with. 5. Make Doing Business Easy So when people do decide to use your heating or cooling services, do you make that engagement easy for them? Technology has simplified our lives beyond measure. How we do business is perhaps one of the most profound areas of innovation. Everything is designed to make life easier. If you hope to generate and convert leads or keep customers coming back, you must offer tools that uncomplicate how they engage your company. Appeal to mobile users by allowing them to set appointments from their phone. Streamline your estimating and invoicing processes by going paperless. Enable field techs to accept payments via tablet or smartphone. All of the above functions can be achieved faster and easier with Housecall Pro. Try Free for 14-days . Yes, there will be a segment of client angling for old school methods. More and more though, if your company isn’t looking towards the future and employing new and more advanced efficiencies, it will be left behind. 6. Follow-Up When you finish a job, it's easy to forget it and move on to the next one. Don’t. Happy, satisfied clients are your greatest resource, so stay connected to them. Whether it be a call or an email, touch base with the client between 24 and 48 hours after service (never let it linger more than that). Housecall Pro helps facilitate this with automated postcards and emails. If a client had a great experience with your HVAC team, a timely follow-up would put them further over the top. Aside from checking in on them, it’s also a good idea to mention referral rewards, should they know anyone else requiring service. More than just an immediate after service check-in, keep touch with your clients throughout the year. Information-packed newsletters and promotional mailers (with discounts for valued clients) keep your company and the homeowner’s needs front and center. Final Thoughts It doesn’t take as much as you’d think to separate yourself from other HVAC competitors. Much like those vacations we mentioned in the opening, customers are looking for reasons to love your service. They don’t just want their heating or cooling problems solved, they want to be wowed and impressed, and tell others about their remarkable experience. Being good at what you do no doubt helps. However, being great with those you do help is what will make your business shine above all others. It will also provide your valued clients with more than just a service, but an experience.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

TOPIC: Success

Housecall Pro announces February 2019 Superpros

March 8, 2019 • SAN DIEGO, March 8, 2019 - Housecall Pro, the #1 rated app for home service companies, has announced the February cohort of Superpros.  This program is dedicated to defining excellence and identifying the highest quality local home service companies. The Superpro community includes the best Pros in each industry across the country, allowing for a unique opportunity to connect with equal caliber service professionals. Every month, we award this status to Housecall Pros dedicated to providing their customers with a transparent, modern, and online experience from day one, establishing a strong relationship for years to come. At this time, only 5% of Housecall Pro users are awarded with Superpro status. The Superpro Program was relaunched in the beginning of this year with a new application and stricter eligibility requirements. These requirements include offering a seamless online booking experience for customers on both website and Facebook pages, detailed and personable pictures and descriptions for all services to further facilitate an easy and customer-friendly booking experience, an average of 4.5 star reviews across all platforms, and high-account usage. We do a detailed audit of the Pro’s account to ensure they have met all requirements. Once they have been approved for Superpro status, we require the Pro to sign the Superpro Code of Ethics. This Superpro Codes of Ethics is signed by the company promising elite professionalism, quick response times to both customers and other Pros, and overall responsibilities as a Superpro in the home service community. Together, Superpros are dedicated to bringing trust and value back into the trades. Service professionals who have earned this award will have unique badges displayed on their websites and company profiles to distinguish them as 2019 Superpros. This award is earned every year and the status is valid for a year after acceptance. At that time, the Superpro will be reevaluated to ensure that they still meet all of the eligibility requirements. To apply to be a 2019 Superpro click here. Our February Superpros: Kings of Steam Prime Electric 1st Choice Phlebotomy Service Curb Appeal Solutions LLC AirPro Carolina, LLC Dirty2Dreamy Detail Services Antioch Heating & Cooling Best Impressions Mobile Detail Clean Air Columbia McCall Enterprises, Inc. Bee-Kleen Professional Carpet Cleaning & More AZ’s Best Pipe Doctor Plumbing, LLC Certified Restoration Quality Heating & Cooling MasterPro Service Inc Spotless Tile & Grout LLC ROX Heating & Air M&M Services Noble Carpet Cleaners Electrician On Call Titus Electrical Services Clark's Heating and Air Rug'it Cleaning Unstoppable Home Services E.W. Tompkins Plumbing Heating Cooling Doc's of Denver Eco Heating and Cooling, LLC Dr The Signal, LLC The Heat and Air Guy Go Squeaky Clean Fuse HVAC & Appliance Repair Diamondback Mechanical Group Revolution Air Browns Heating and Air Crew Home Services Five Star Service Company DRI Ready, LLC. Hardwood Your Home HYPER Purity Cleaning Systems Majestic Painting Company Inc. Clemenets Electric Action Steam Cleaning Reliable Pool Enclosures & Screens Glaze Heating & Air, LLC Resendez Bros. Carpet & Tile Cleaning Chapin Piano Service 1st Response Pest Control Green USA Cleaning LLC Tidewater Pro Air Hunter Electrical Service Precision Mold Testing Great American Cleaning Services Hawkeye Carpet Care Cajun Overhead Door & Repair Service Inc. Kern Floor Care Mr. Maid Enviro Plumbing Inc. Organize It SWFL OxyPro Cleaners, Inc. The Village Chimney Sweep Inc. Making Air Right 5 DIAMOND Manax Plumbing Bigger Better Movers Black Mountain Plumbing Inc. ELECTRIC CITY Tailored Mechanical LLC Rio Rancho Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning LLC Hickory Heating and Cooling LLC T.G. Electrical Services Integrity Home Comfort Solutions, LLC Integrity cleaning Honey Bee Plumbing Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning Superior Plumbing and Drains Evolution Deep Clean Good Guy Plumbing Provost Electric, LLC Colorado Virginia Company Big Air Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Safari Plumbing Arise Plumbing Service LLC On the spot carpet cleaning Anthony James Air Conditioning & Heating LLC 101 Lint Buasters Carpet Care Cleaning & Restortion JunkMD+ Citrus Fresh Carpet Cleaning AltaVista Services Home Advantage Plumbing Services, LLC Steel City Appliance Service Detectives Team Carpet and Flooring Advanced Wildlife Removal May's Heating and Air Conditioning LLC Clean Air Columbia Absolute Best Appliance Shamrock Overhead Door, Inc. Freedom Green Clean Landmark Electric Inc. Stemar Restoration AirCo - Heating and Air Conditioning Services, LLC Best Plumbing Inc. EZ PLUMBING Awnings And More Inc. Rem Carpet And Tile Cleaning Services AIR MED HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING, INC. The Shine Brite Company Facino Heating And Air Dry-N-Clean Carpet Cleaning Mold Bros 518 Floor Care 561 Carpet and Tile C&S Cleaning Services,LLC The Paint Doctor Grateful Plumber Premier Mechanical Avant-Garde LLC AC Man Heating and Air Rardon Home Performance, LLC Kamstra Piano Tuning, LLC Absolute Duct and Chimney Cleaning, Inc. Quikdry Carpet and Tile Cleaning John's Carpet And Upholstery Care Good Guys Heating and Air Conditioning D's Auto Spa And Mobile Detailing The Steam Police, LLC Electric Medics Mega Dry Carpet Cleaning All About Temperature Nick McElroy Electrician Gordon's Appliance Service Air Now Heating & Air Conditioning LLC Mr. Steamers, LLC. Propertifix LLC Verikill Pest Control, Inc. Pioneer Professional Carpet Care Dave Hartzells Heat & Air Vanguard Plumbing & Drains, Inc. Dust Busters of Lake County Severyn Cool Services Airtegrity Comfort Solutions The HVAC Guys South Shore Heating, Air Conditioning and Hydronic Inc. Senergy Plumbing heating & Air Top Notch Appliance Repair & Service, LLC Flow Pro Plumbing A-1 Cleaning Service, LLC Direct AC Aido Climate Solutions Inc. Home Design and Repair Preferred Air Ronnie Jones AC & Heating Safe and Sound Integrations Helpful Badger JennyClean Smart Green Clean Warsh My Windows 24 Hour Air Conditioning & Heating Clean and Green Solutions RepairButlers Core Plumbing Allegence Heating and Air Daniella's Cleaning, LLC

Alexa Greenberg

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Calculating Your Break Even Point In 4 Easy Steps

March 2, 2019 • Starting a new business isn’t for the faint of heart… or for the impatient. In fact, most new businesses aren’t profitable for about three years. But just because you’re not raking in piles of cash doesn’t mean you have to be bleeding it. The first goal toward turning a profit is breaking even. It may not sound as exciting as a free trip to Hawaii, but the moment you break even is actually a big milestone for your business. What is a break even point? Put plainly, your breaking even point (BEP) is when your sales are exactly covering your expenses. But calculating the BEP isn’t as simple as it sounds. You must take into account all of your expenditures, both fixed and variable, and do some calculations about profit per unit. Here is a 4-step plan for how to calculate the break even point for your business. Add Up Fixed Costs Track the Price of Your Services and Products Identify Variable Costs Run The Formula For Your Break Even Point Step 1: Add Up Fixed Costs The fixed costs are the easiest part of your break even point calculation. These are the expenses that remain predictable each month/period. That being said, it’s easy to leave something out of your calculations if you’re not careful. Here is a list of common expenses that will comprise your fixed costs: Rent. The costs associated with leasing your office, warehouse, and/or retail spaces makes up a huge percentage of your fixed costs. Salaries. Executive salaries are likely to remain fixed for the first few years of operation. Property taxes. If you own any property associated with your business, don’t forget to factor in these annual taxes. Depreciation of assets. The depreciation of an asset, from a vehicle to a building, is also considered a fixed cost. Insurance. Regular insurance payments are unlikely to fluctuate significantly from month to month, so put them in the fixed cost category. Step 2: Track the Price of Your Services and Products The next step is to itemize the retail price of each product or service your business offers. This may change as you determine your target profit formula, but you need to get a baseline. For instance, maybe you run a business selling sunglasses and hats. The current sales price of a pair of sunglasses is $5 and the price of a hat is $10. This information is crucial to calculating your break even point. Step 3: Identify Variable Costs On to the variable costs. These are the costs associated with actually producing your sunglasses and hats. Variable costs change in proportion to your production volume. If you produce fewer sunglasses this month than last, your variable costs will also decrease. Variable costs are typically calculated on a per unit basis. Some examples of variable costs include: Labor costs. As you produce more sunglasses and hats, your factory labor costs will increase. If you have a retail location, you may also need more employees to handle the increased sales. Raw materials. Let’s say your sunglasses are made of plastic and metal. As you produce more sunglasses, you’ll need to buy plastic and metal in larger quantities. Sales commissions. If you have employees on a commission schedule for selling your sunglasses and hats, you must also consider the average commission per unit. Packaging. Just as your raw material costs fluctuate depending on production needs, your packaging costs will also go up and down based on the number of units you sell. Step 4: Run the Formula for Your Break Even Point Now you have all of the necessary elements on hand to calculate a break even point. The basic formula is: Fixed Costs / (Price - Variable Costs). The second part of the equation is also called the contribution margin because it represents the dollar amount each unit contributes toward fixed costs. When you’re considering multiple products in your evaluation, you’ll also want to weight the selling price and variable costs accordingly. For instance, maybe your annual sales break down to 40% sunglasses and 60% hats. Let’s use these numbers in a break even point example to show you how this formula is done. Say your fixed costs (rent, salaries, insurance, etc.) are $100,000 per year. The price of your units, as we referenced earlier, is $5 for sunglasses and $10 for hats. Now let’s say your variable costs (materials, factory labor, etc.) break down to $2/unit for sunglasses and $4/unit for hats. Remember we’re assuming your sales are 40% sunglasses and 60% hats. To figure out the weighted selling price, you will multiple the sales price of each product with its contribution to overall sales: = ($5 x 40%) + ($10 x 60%) = ($2) + ($6) = $8 Now let’s calculate the variable costs using a similar weighted formula: = ($2 x 40%) + ($4 x 60%) = ($0.8) + ($2.4) = $3.20 Now you’re ready to run your break even point calculations Fixed Costs / (Weighted Price - Weighted Variable Costs). $100,000 / ($8 - $3.20) = 20,833 units Your company needs to sell 20,833 units per year to break even, but let’s see how that breaks down among different types of product given that you sell more hats than sunglasses. 20,833 x 40% = 8,333 sunglasses sold 20,833 x 60% = 12,500 hats sold You need to sell 8,333 sunglasses and 12,500 hats this year to break even. Or, if you’re offering services, you need to book 8,333 sunglasses jobs this year and 12,500 hats services. Once you have a break even point based on sales, you can start to outline how long it may take you to actually reach that goal. For instance, if you know it will take 18 months to sell that many sunglasses and hats, you can make the BEP a second year goal. In Conclusion Figuring out the break even point for your business is a crucial step toward profitability. It’s near impossible to meet financial goals without detailed accounting practices, as any new business owner will soon discover. To that end, your business should be taking advantage of Housecall Pro’s QuickBooks integration and invoicing software whenever possible. Are you ready to take control of your business finances and break even? Contact Housecall Pro to learn more about streamlined scheduling and payments for your home services.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Calculator and paper calculating a break even point

Housecall Pro announces January 2019 Superpros

February 6, 2019 • SAN DIEGO, February 6, 2019 - Housecall Pro, the #1 rated app for home service companies, has announced the January cohort of Superpros.  This program is dedicated to defining excellence and identifying the highest quality local home service companies. The Superpro community includes the best Pros in each industry across the country, allowing for a unique opportunity to connect with equal caliber service professionals. Every month, we award this status to Housecall Pros dedicated to providing their customers with a transparent, modern, and online experience from day one, establishing a strong relationship for years to come. At this time, only 5% of Housecall Pro users are awarded with Superpro status. The Superpro Program was relaunched in the beginning of this year with a new application and stricter eligibility requirements. These requirements include offering a seamless online booking experience for customers on both website and Facebook pages, detailed and personable pictures and descriptions for all services to further facilitate an easy and customer-friendly booking experience, an average of 4.5 star reviews across all platforms, and high-account usage. We do a detailed audit of the Pro’s account to ensure they have met all requirements. Once they have been approved for Superpro status, we require the Pro to sign the Superpro Code of Ethics. This Superpro Codes of Ethics is signed by the company promising elite professionalism, quick response times to both customers and other Pros, and overall responsibilities as a Superpro in the home service community. Together, Superpros are dedicated to bringing trust and value back into the trades. Service professionals who have earned this award will have unique badges displayed on their websites and company profiles to distinguish them as 2019 Superpros. This award is earned every year and the status is valid for a year after acceptance. At that time, the Superpro will be reevaluated to ensure that they still meet all of the eligibility requirements.

Alexa Greenberg

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Superpro Spotlight - Cassie & Oscar Pound, Quality Heating & Cooling

January 3, 2019 • Cassie & Oscar Pound, Quality Heating & Cooling Ordinary people, extraordinary courage. This is how we do the work. OUR STORY Built on the foundation of integrity, determination, and passion, Cassie and Oscar Pound are revolutionizing the home services industry. The owners of what was once a one-truck operation, have now built a multi-million dollar heating and air company that dominates the Oklahoma market. “It’s been a lot of trial and error, and we had no clue what we were doing. We’ve definitely made mistakes, and worked hard for our victories.” - Cassie If you were to meet a thousand Pros in a day, Cassie is the one Pro whose name you won’t forget. A true hustler, she is boldly confident and being told ‘no’ is her strongest motivation. Oscar on the other hand is a man of few words, but has eyes filled with stories. When he chooses to speak, everybody stops what they are doing and listens. A family man, he will stop at nothing to provide for his loved ones. Together, they are Oklahoma’s power Pros. Cassie and Oscar are the kind of business owners that have built a unique and strong company culture. Even after a long day’s work, you will find their technicians staying late to have a bowl of Oscar’s homemade gumbo, drinking a beer, or simply looking for things to help out with around the office because they feel like they are a part of the family. “We care for our techs like we care for our kids. There were times if we couldn’t take a paycheck, we made sure our employees did.” - Oscar BACKGROUND Growing up, Oscar knew he was never going to go to college. He enjoyed working with his hands and found fulfillment in building something out of nothing. Even at the age of 17, Oscar was a forward-thinker and job security was most important to him. He wanted a skill set that he could take with him anywhere he lived. Recognizing that heating and air conditioning is a necessity to our livelihood, he knew this was his destiny and jumped right into doing the work. Oscar started out doing maintenance for commercial buildings, and with hard work and intellect, he was quickly promoted through the ranks. It wasn’t long before Oscar realized he could do this on his own, but better. Oscar ran a successful one-truck operation for 5 years, but was working crazy hours running the entire business on his own. Working 18 hours a day, he was spending more time with his customers than his own family. Raising six kids, Oscar and Cassie felt immense pressure to succeed. It was time for Oscar to grow his team, and he needed a work horse. Cassie didn’t waste any time getting to work. Jumping right into the position of VP and Operations Manager, Cassie described her days as mass chaos. Buried in paper invoices, struggling with dropped calls and miscommunication with customers, she knew they would not be able to scale their business using pen and paper. “Our guys would leave for the day with a schedule that looked like a kindergarten art project. We had no real scheduling system and no real tracking.” - Cassie Quality Heating and Cooling was up and running on Housecall Pro in under a week. Finally having an easy operating system in place, Oscar was able to switch his focus from working in his business to working on his business. OUR TEAM Even though it wasn’t an obvious fit, they made a bet on one of their first technicians and hired their landscaper, Brent. Brent had no experience in HVAC, but that didn’t matter to Oscar and Cassie. They saw in him what they look for in all of their new employees - strong work ethic, attention to detail, and good communication skills. They believe that the quality of their business is only as good as the technicians you send to your customers’ homes. If you look for personalities that are a good culture fit, the rest can be taught. “We prefer hiring guys with no experience. We want to build and train them so they don’t have bad habits, and are receptive to learn.” - Oscar All of their technicians have worked alongside Oscar at some point. Oscar operates at a high level and that’s how he sets the standard. True leaders are the pinnacle of what they expect from the people around them, and leading by example encourages his people to aim for that. The Pounds do bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with each of their employees to maintain good relationships with their employees, and help them stay on track to hit their goals. Their teams’ personal lives are just as important to them as the work they do day-in and day-out. As business owners and leaders, they want their techs to feel valued and supported in all aspects of their life. “Transparency is what it takes to be a good leader. You have to be invested in their personal life, and also be available to them at all times. You can’t just care about them as an employee, but a human being.” - Cassie The biggest lesson Oscar learned in his early days of working for other companies was how important giving and receiving verbal confirmations are. He knew he was doing good at his job because he was always getting raises and promotions, but he never received compliments from his boss letting him know how great he was doing. “You would be surprised how loyal they will be to you if they think they are getting your approval. I try and verbally let my guys know how they’re doing because I know that ultimately they want me happy and they get satisfaction from knowing they’re doing a good job.” - Oscar Providing his team with positive affirmations lifts the overall morale, encourages his techs to grow, and also makes it easier on Oscar when he may need to come down on them a bit harder for making mistakes or doing lazy work. No day is perfect, but if the positive outweighs the negative, that means his team goes home feeling good about the work they achieved and that’s what’s most important to Oscar. OUR CUSTOMERS There is a reason why Quality Heating and Cooling is the highest rated HVAC company in their area. Cassie and Oscar understand it’s not about them, it’s all about their customers. Every moment of every job is of critical matter. The value of their company and the value of their brand they have worked so hard to build completely depends on the experience and quality of service that they provide to their customers. There is no doubt that Quality Heating & Cooling sets the industry standard when it comes to customer satisfaction. If you were to shadow them on a job site, you will never find a tech walking around - but running from task to task. “Our techs run on the job site because of the sense of urgency we have created in them. From the moment they arrive, the customer is their priority.” - Oscar For Quality Heating and Cooling, the year of 2019 is all about their customers. By giving their customer the option to book online, they have opened up a market for new customers - the younger generation that is primed to book services online just like they would book a flight, or a dinner reservation. “Housecall Pro has been a gamechanger for our business. Our goal for 2019 is to hit $3.5 million in revenue, and Housecall Pro will help us get there.” - Cassie They plan on using Housecall Pro to close 500 Service Agreements this next year. This will allow them to set their customer up for success by extending the lifetime of their AC/Heating units while guaranteeing their repeat business to combat for their slow season. OUR COMMUNITY Cassie and Oscar are very active within their community, and are always looking for ways to help others. They do annual paper and food drives for their public schools, and are also members of their Chamber of Commerce. This holiday season, when their customers visit their website to book their services online, they have the option to donate a toy to a child in need and  in turn they get $20 off their diagnostic fee. Identifying themselves as community leaders in Oklahoma, they are looking to share their knowledge with all companies in the home service industry - even HVAC companies. “Working together with other Pros gives more value to the industry and the market. Working against each other, constantly undercutting each other, devalues what we’re all doing.” - Cassie Cassie and Oscar host monthly Pro Meetups in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City to grow the Housecall Pro community, learn from each other, send each other referral jobs, and bring value back into the home service industry so customers will be more trusting for Pros to enter their homes, and willing to pay the price you deserve - no questions asked. Quality Heating & Cooling is setting the new industry standard. Allowing their customers to book online, earning their trust by delivering great work,  and investing in their community to help other Pros go from good to great, Cassie and Oscar Pound are true Superpros.

Alyssa Bennett, Director of Growth

Quality Heating & Cooling

Plumbing Industry Trends: 10 Predictions You Need to Know for 2019

November 26, 2018 • As a home service business owner, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and technology so you can provide the best available solutions to your customers. The more you know about what to expect in 2019 and over the next few years, the better you can future-proof your business, take advantage of the available technology, and anticipate changes in customer expectations. Here are some of the emerging trends and predictions that will shape the plumbing industry in 2019. 10 Plumbing Industry Trends to Watch in 2019 1. Online Engagement Will Matter More Than Ever In 2019, online engagement will be more important than ever. This is true for any type of home service business, not just plumbing. Think about it – when a customer is looking for a local business, they’re searching online. That means your online presence will directly affect whether someone chooses to hire your or not – or if they’ll even see your business in the list of results. So, aside from optimizing your website SEO and claiming your Google My Business listing, you should put some effort into your social media presence. Standing out on social platforms is one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with potential customers. Even if you don’t want to invest money in paid ads, you can join and participate in Facebook groups related to plumbing, or home renovations, or even water preservation. Be helpful by responding to consumer questions and share informative articles that would interest your target audience. This not only sets you up as an expert in your field, but also creates a convenient opportunity to plug your business or link to your business page (as long as the group rules allow it). 2. Even More Customers Using Mobile Search If your website isn’t responsive, you’re going to lose out on potential business. Why? Because your would-be customers can’t navigate your website on their phones – which is how a large percentage of consumers are searching for local home service businesses. A responsive website is one that’s built to look great on any screen, regardless of size, so it can be used easily on any device. However, if you’re still using an outdated website that’s not responsive, consumers might not even be able to load the homepage, let alone navigate the site or find your contact information. 3. A Growing Need to Educate Customers Plenty of customers shop around for the most cost-effective services. However, low-cost doesn’t always equate to a great deal – especially if it means lower-quality work in exchange for the lower rate. Since it’s often quick and easy for consumers to compare rates online, it’s important to educate customers about the importance of quality craftsmanship. This isn’t necessarily about justifying the cost, but about helping people understand what they’re paying for and improving your customer relationships. Plus, for many home service businesses, it’s impossible to compete on price alone. If everyone did that, the margins would keep on shrinking – and nobody wins in a race to the bottom. It’s much more sustainable to inform your customer base about the value provided by your expertise. So, whether you invest in content creation (adding a blog to your website and sharing videos or photos on social media) or add an FAQ to your website, you need to find a way to educate consumers and establish yourself as an industry expert. 4. Online Reviews Will Make or Break Your Reputation You already know that your reputation is your livelihood – and that’s not changing anytime soon. But what has changed is the way consumers learn about your business. Customer reviews are one of the biggest factors that influence your reputation. Increase your positive reviews by asking happy customers to write a brief comment about your professionalism. If you do get any negative reviews, it’s best to respond as diplomatically as possible. Try to get to the root of the issue and encourage the customer to give you a call so you can clear things up. Hopefully, you’ll be able to fix the issue – and maybe even convince the customer to reconsider their initial review. 5. Increased Awareness of Water Consumption As consumers become aware of the true impact of climate change, more people are looking for ways to do their part by reducing their environmental footprint. Considering that the average American family of four uses at least  300 gallons of water per day – that’s a conservative estimate of 109,500 gallons annually – it’s about time consumers start to think about how they can minimize their water consumption. Something as common as a running toilet wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day. So, simply hiring you to fix a toilet could reduce their household consumption by two-thirds of the total used by the average family every day. Plus, installing modern toilets allows consumers to waste less water with every flush. According to a 2014 Government Accountability Report, Americans could reduce their water usage by 20% or more by simply switching to water-efficient appliances. You might also start to see more solutions designed to reduce water consumption. For instance, greywater recycling is growing in popularity since it allows consumers to reduce water usage at home. 6. Greater Concern About Aging Pipes Considering that the average age of pipes around the US is 47 years (and some pipes in New York and Philadelphia are almost double that), the problems caused by aging pipes in entering public awareness more than ever. You may or may not find customers asking about pipe relining before an incident occurs, but you’ll definitely get calls from people dealing with the consequence of waiting too long to replace or reline their pipes. This will include a range of issues, from leaking pipes to major plumbing issues to damaged property. To prepare for the influx of issues related to aging pipes, make sure you and your team have the right tools, training, and knowledge to handle these problems. 7. More Solar-Powered Water Heating Solutions More than ever, consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of their household appliances. This is contributing to one emerging trend that you should keep on your radar: a growing preference for energy-efficient water heaters. As homeowners take an interest in environmentally-friendly alternatives, you can expect to see more solar-powered water heaters. Consumers opt for solar heaters for the twin benefits of saving energy and lowering their heating bill. Here’s why this matters for you: when consumers first make the switch, they’ll need a local plumber to handle the installation. So, make sure you add solar heater installation to the list of services on your website. 8. You Might Encounter Self-Diagnosing Pipes With the technological advances and the power of artificial intelligence, smart appliances are popping up in just about every industry – including yours. If you haven’t encountered brain pipes in the wild yet, it’s likely only a matter of time before you do. These smart pipes are able to self-diagnose leaks and alert the consumer before much damage has a chance to occur. It detects where leaks are located, which makes your job easier and keeps your customers calm in what could otherwise turn into a homeowner’s nightmare. 9. Trenchless Tech is Becoming More Popular Technology isn’t just good for saving your customers money on water usage, it can also help you work more efficiently. For instance, trenchless technology offers an alternative to the traditional method of installing and repairing pipelines. Unlike traditional sewer lines, this tech provides a faster, cost-effective solution that requires considerably less manual labor. Rather than digging up the client’s property to install the pipeline, you only need to create small openings at both ends of the pipe. Plus, it’s easier to figure out what’s going on when plumbing issues arise – because you can view the inside of the pipe with a camera. 10. The Competition is Growing – But So Is Demand There are a lot of plumbing professionals out there. In fact, in 2016 there were almost 470,000 plumbers in the US – and that number is only increasing. More people are entering the trade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the plumbing industry will grow by 24% from 2014 to 2024. But just as the competition is heating up, so is demand for plumbers. In fact, reports suggest that no plumbing company holds more than 1% of the market share in terms of revenue. To improve your odds of success? Keep up with the latest industry best practices, never stop learning about your trade, and take advantage of everything Housecall Pro can do to streamline your business.

Emily Bauer

Plumber doing work

Everybody Wins With Recurring Service Agreements

November 20, 2018 • Recurring service agreements are a great new way for you to generate dependable revenue for your business, strengthen your employee relationships, and increase your customer loyalty. They allow you to develop revenue streams to help smooth out those seasonal variations in your business while keeping you well-connected to your best customers. HVAC, plumbing, and electrical companies have been using recurring service agreements to help grow their business, especially during the times when the incoming calls slow down. Businesses aren’t the only ones that win by offering recurring service agreements. Both your customers and your employees benefit from them too. Customer Benefits Preventative care Most homeowners don’t realize that HVAC, plumbing and electrical emergencies could be prevented with simple upkeep and continued maintenance. By participating in recurring service agreements, your customers can save themselves from the unnecessary stress that comes from a pipe bursting, or an ac unit crashing in the heat of summer. Value of home The longer your customers have lived in their home, the more wear and tear they’re doing. By automatically maintaining the infrastructure of their home on a regular basis they will be able to increase their resale value without having to do any major work. Lower costs Recurring service agreements are often offered at a discounted rate, but that’s not the only way your customers save. By regularly having preventative work done on the foundation and utilities of a home, your customers will avoid unplanned emergency expenses. Plus - they save on utilities when they keep their plumbing, electricity, and HVAC unit running efficiently. Maintain warranty Most long-term warranties require frequent maintenance in order to keep their validation. By participating in a service agreement, your customer will put that maintenance on auto-drive. Employee Benefits Quick and reliable jobs Because recurring service agreement jobs are frequent your employees know what to expect. These quick, predictable jobs make for a pleasant experience for both your customer and your employee. They know that they’re doing what’s right for the customer and can always leave on a positive note. Steady work Not only are the jobs easier, but they’re consistent. Sometimes, it’s hard for your employees to feel valued during the slow season when there aren’t as many jobs to keep them busy. Recurring service agreements allow them to feel secure in their job, knowing they will always have work to be done. More money Consistent jobs mean a reliable paycheck, but that’s not the only way your employees can benefit financially from recurring service agreements. Most companies that offer recurring service agreements also incentivize their employees to sell them to new customers, for a commission. This allows your employees to feel even more involved in the benefits of recurring service agreements and driven to increase the number of contracts you have. Company Benefits Reliable revenue In any industry, businesses have to deal with financial ebbs and flows of their market. That’s why money management has become such an important focus for maintaining a healthy and stable company. Recurring service agreements allow businesses to have dependable income throughout the year, giving some relief during those slower seasons, and making it possible for business owners to continuously invest in their growth. Customer loyalty We cannot stress enough how valuable recurring service agreements are to your customers. By maintaining the structure of their home, providing a positive customer experience, and saving them money, you’re building a trusting relationship that’s sure to bring reviews or referrals. Resale value Recurring service agreements can help increase the value of your customer list when you're ready to retire and sell your company. A list full of recurring service agreement customers is far more valuable to a potential buyer than a long list on one-time customers. Make it easy In order to reap the most benefit of service agreements for everyone you want to make sure you’re keeping your schedule organized, your payments automated, and your communication streamlined. Learn how you can start automating service agreements with Housecall Pro here.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

EveryoneWins

How Recurring Revenue Helps Grow Your Home Service Business

November 2, 2018 • If there’s one thing that’s holding back many home service businesses, it’s uncertainty.  Fluctuations in revenue and cash flow can make it difficult to make investments in equipment, create a marketing strategy, hire new team members, or just plan for the future. There are often many question marks about what’s to come and how to handle it. Home service leaders are looking for new strategies to deal with uncertainty and build a more stable and predictable business. One of those strategies is to structure the business to take advantage of recurring revenue. What if the majority of your work wasn’t dependent upon timing and one-off projects? What if you could build your business on a schedule of regular customers who paid for recurring services on a regular basis? That’s the dream, right? Recurring revenue can help you not just get a grip on your current workload, but it can give you the space, freedom, and confidence that you need to plan for the future. Here are some of the ways that these kind of deals can help you manage and grow your business: Creates lifelong customer loyalty Improves the customer experience Stabilizes revenue and cash flow Simplifies scheduling and dispatch Streamlines workflow Let’s take a look at how this approach works in practice and how you can implement Create Lifelong Customer Loyalty (And a Better Customer Experience) Competition for most home service businesses can be cut throat. If often seems like there are new competitors coming and going every single day. And, it’s no secret that it can difficult to compete--it might feel impossible to stand out in such a crowded market. In hypercompetitive industries like HVAC, garage doors, and appliance repair, this problem can be especially pronounced. But you’re not alone. In fact, some studies have ranked  achieving customer loyalty as the #1 challenge for small businesses. Many customers simply don’t have a strong attachment to a particular company or vendor. When they have a problem, they do a quick Google search, compare some options, and decide who to call. But this also means that most contractors are losing out on a huge opportunity to turn a one-time call into a loyal, lifelong customer. Even if you provide incredible service to a new customer, there’s a strong chance they could start their search from scratch next time they have a problem--and they may end up on your competitor’s website rather than yours. So how do you convert these opportunities and create lifelong customer loyalty? Offering packages that include multiple services can make it simple for you--and seamless for the customer. With Housecall Pro, you can easily offer recurring services like maintenance or inspection with customers and schedule out work--and revenue--in advance. Best of all, it provides a seamless and modern experience for your customer, too. Rather than having to remember to call and schedule regular service calls or worry about major, unforeseen problems, your customers can rest easy. They’ll know that they have a professional who will keep an eye on their home or appliances, perform essential maintenance, and identify any needed repairs before they become major problems. With Housecall Pro, you can even save customer payment information and completely automate the process of scheduling recurring service appointments. But let’s not forget that service agreements aren’t just about the customer--they’re also about growing your business. Boost Revenue and Lock-In Cash Flow Most service businesses generate about  70% of their revenue in just a few months out of the year. A big part of that, of course, is inevitable. It’s just the nature of the industry. You’ll always have peak season for services like HVAC and painting. But that doesn’t mean you’re helpless when it comes to cash flow. While we can’t change the seasons, recurring packages do help companies make their revenue more predictable and can also provide a bump in earnings and profit. For one, maintenance and service contracts can be an untapped opportunity. It’s estimated that 90% of customers only call home service professionals when there’s an emergency. This means that most one-time customers could be converted in ongoing customers if they’re offered a package deal that would give them some peace of mind. If most of your revenue is coming from emergency service calls, then you could see a huge increase in revenue by using service contracts that will also stabilize your workload. The truth is that while service pros know all too well how important regular maintenance and preventative repairs can be, customers often just need to be told about the benefits and cost savings. Secondly, having a stream of recurring revenue allows you to plan for that future cash flow. You can predict much more accurately what your revenue will be in the future and then make smarter decisions about how to grow your business, make strategic investments, and plan operations. Introducing Service Agreements with Housecall Pro Here’s the thing about providing ongoing services: While they’re great in theory, they can be a huge burden to manage without the right tools. Keeping track of agreements, scheduling, and collecting payments manually can quickly end up being an overhead nightmare. So, even if they may be a lucrative opportunity, many companies simply don’t have the time or capacity to put them into practice. That’s what makes Housecall Pro your secret weapon. With our new service agreements features, we make it simple to start generating more recurring revenue and locking in loyal customers today. Simply schedule a recurring service agreement monthly, seasonally, or yearly and let Housecall Pro do the rest. All you have to do is sign up the customer and collect their information once. When it's time to send a tech out on recurring calls, Housecall Pro takes care of the logistics, schedules the job, and even handles payment from the customer’s credit card on file. Using these new features, service pros can build a hassle-free recurring revenue program. Check out everything Housecall Pro can do here. Or, if you’re already a Housecall Pro customer, read all about service agreements here.

Emily Bauer

man-showing-woman-under-sink

The Benefits of a CRM for Contractors: 9 Reasons Every Home Service Business Needs a CRM

October 29, 2018 • As a home service business owner, you’ve almost always got your hands full. Thankfully, there’s plenty of technology available to make running your business a little bit easier. Just as you use home service software for handling your day-to-day business needs, you should consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to manage your sales and customer data. A CRM platform is a tool that makes it easy to keep track of sales opportunities, including new leads, open estimates, and repeat business. It stores information about your customers and handles all the data, so you can just focus on your growing business. Why should you use a CRM for your home service business? Among its many benefits, a CRM platform helps streamline your sales process, which can mean increased productivity, better customer service, and higher profit margins. Let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons to use a CRM for contractors and home service businesses. 1. Easily visualize your sales pipeline Do you know how many potential sales opportunities you have on-the-go right now? Or exactly how many proposals and estimates your team has given out recently? Or how close any of those opportunities are to closing? A home service CRM puts all of this information into an easy-to-digest visual format that you can understand at a glance. From leads to prospects to repeat customers, you can see who’s at which stage of your  sales pipeline, which potential customers are closest to booking appointments, and whether you have enough leads coming through to hit your revenue targets. 2. Spend less time managing customer data As your business grows, it gets harder and harder to keep track of everything that’s happening with your sales process. The bigger your pool of leads and potential customers gets, the more reasons you have to consider switching to a CRM platform. One of the biggest benefits of a CRM for contractors is the ability to keep sales data organized without even trying. Whether you’re currently tracking leads and sales opportunities in an excel sheet or keep an informal list of contacts you’re hoping to turn into customers, you have better things to do with your time than entering sales data into a spreadsheet. 3. Deliver better customer service Since a CRM allows you to track all customer communication in one place, it provides value to your team as well as your customers. A CRM gives you a better understanding of your customers, which improves the customer relationship and creates a better service experience. Furthermore, a CRM makes it easier to share information internally. Everyone on your team can access the same information about the client, which means they’re better prepared to handle every customer interaction. For instance, a CRM allows you to track customer requests from sales call to house call. So, if a lead mentions a specific need on an early sales call, you can make note of it in the CRM so your technicians are aware of it when completing the job. 4. Never forget to follow-up with leads In many ways, sales is a numbers game – and it pays to be persistent. So, always remembering to follow-up with potential prospects means you can land more new customers. If you make the effort to put together an estimate for a potential client, you sure as heck better be following up to ask if they’re ready to book. You can use your CRM to schedule reminders to connect with open estimates if you don’t hear back from them within a certain timeframe. They say  80% of sales take five follow-ups to close (and only 8% of salespeople bother to follow-up that many times!), so a CRM can help you win new business by simply reminding you to follow-up consistently. 5. Forecast revenue more accurately Sales forecasting can be tricky, especially when you’ve got a bunch of potential customers and jobs that could turn into sources of revenue – but you have no idea when they’ll close, if at all. When all of your customers and opportunities are tracked in a CRM, you can visualize the likelihood of each deal closing, which means you can predict future revenue much more easily and accurately. Since forecasting is crucial for budgeting and keeping your business running smoothly, this is one of the most powerful arguments for using a CRM for contractors. 6. Use data-powered insights to perfect your sales process A home service CRM can help you uncover insights about your sales process. Since all of your sales data is stored in one central place, you might recognize patterns that you might not have noticed otherwise. You can see where each sales opportunity is in your pipeline – from new contacts and leads to open estimates and prospects you need to follow-up with to long-term customers. Furthermore, you can easily measure and track important sales metrics. This includes metrics like average close time, average job value, and what percentage of estimates turn into deals, as well as data related to specific customers, service people, and sales reps. Tracking these metrics allows you to finetune your sales tactics to close even more deal in less time. 7. Find ways to maximize your revenue Not only will you gain a better understanding of your sales process, but you’ll also find new ways to optimize customer revenue. Because a CRM provides you will a bird’s-eye view of your sales pipeline, you can see where there might be any untapped opportunities. For instance, you can use the information you have about various customers and prospects to up-sell them on higher-value services, perhaps by increasing the scope of a particular job. Or, you might find an opportunity to cross-sell complementary services related to their original estimate. This might include something like offering a preventative maintenance plan after an HVAC installation. [potential image here depicting cross-selling and up-selling?] 8. Better ROI on your marketing efforts Even if you figure out how to maximize your sales revenue, it’s important to ensure your marketing budget is being put to the best use possible. Since your CRM stores so much customer data, you can identify details like the best times to reach out to make a sale and your most profitable customer types. This gives you a better idea of who to spend your marketing budget on and when to target them with ads for the best return on your investment. 9. Your information is secure yet accessible on-the-go A modern CRM for contractors allows your team to securely store and access your data from anywhere. All of your is data stored safely in the cloud, so your service technicians can find the information they need on their smartphone wherever they happen to be working that day. Employees with access can make notes on a client’s file, adjust estimates, request specific materials, and move opportunities from one pipeline stage to the next.

Emily Bauer

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Responding to Customer Complaints: 11 Tips for Dealing with Unhappy Clients

October 29, 2018 • Dealing with upset customers can be one of the hardest parts of running your field service business. Unfortunately, it’s also unavoidable. Mistakes happen, it’s impossible to please everyone, and sometimes customers are miserable for reasons beyond your control. Whatever the case, you’re bound to encounter an upset customer at one point or another. Rather than treating customer complaints as an unpleasant fact of life, you should look at them as a chance to improve. Even better, if you’re able to go above and beyond to remedy the situation, a bad experience or service issue presents an opportunity to transform an unhappy customer into a long-term, loyal advocate for your business. This is a phenomenon known as the service recovery paradox. When everything goes according to plan, it’s difficult for customers to see or appreciate the amount of effort that goes into the fantastic work you do. The smoother things go, the less of a chance you have to show customers how committed you are to delivering great service. On the other hand, a mistake or service failure creates an opportunity to improve the customer’s experience, demonstrate your dedication to your craft and your customers, and, strengthen the customer’s loyalty. However, you can only take advantage of the service recovery paradox if you know how to recover from a service failure. The tactics listed below will allow you to respond to upset customers in a way that turns negative experiences into long-term customer relationships. 11 simple yet effective tactics for handling upset customers 1. Be responsive Your first goal is to de-escalate the situation by addressing the customer’s concern. This means acknowledging and responding to questions or complaints as quickly as possible. For instance, if they’ve left an angry voicemail, call them back as soon as you can. If they left an angry review online, respond immediately. The longer a customer goes without hearing from your company, the more frustrated they’ll be when you do get around to talking to them. A quick response communicates that you’re prioritizing the customer’s concerns and are serious about making the situation right. 2. Get on a first-name basis People love the sound of their own name – especially if the alternative is being called ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir.’ Using a customer’s first name is an easy way to make your apology feel sincere and reiterates that you’re just a person talking to another person, rather than a company addressing a generic customer. It humanizes the situation. This is particularly powerful if you’re speaking to a customer on the phone rather than face to face. Saying their name establishes a stronger connection and makes them more likely to sympathize with the fact that you’re doing your best to correct the situation 3. Express gratitude Thank the customer for choosing to hire you in the first place as well as for their patience while you work through the issue. You can say something like: “I really appreciate you bringing this to my attention and can’t thank you enough for your patience and loyalty while we figure this out.” Simply voicing your appreciation can go a long way in strengthening customer relationships. It acknowledges that you understand their frustration, which is why you’re so grateful for their patience. 4. Practice active listening Oftentimes, the best thing you can do for an unhappy customer is to hear them out. They want to know that their concerns are being heard and acknowledged. So, when they first contact you with a complaint, give them a chance to vent. Don’t interrupt or try to present a solution right away. They need an opportunity to voice their frustrations before they’re able to shift their focus to thinking about possible solutions. If you feel the urge to interject before the customer has finished explaining their concerns, you can even put yourself on mute. This forces you to sit and really listen to what a customer is saying. 5. Repeat the issue back to them If a customer is emotional when they contact you, it can take a bit of digging to find out what the root of the issue actually is. For this reason, we recommend that you always repeat their concerns back to them before attempting to respond with a solution. Calmly state what the issue seems to be so that the customer can clarify if need be. This ensures that you know what they’re actually upset about, shows that you’re listening, and helps calm down a stressed-out customer. Plus, it gives you a starting point when it comes time to present a solution. 6. Show some empathy Sometimes all a customer wants is to have their feelings validated. So, empathize with their experience and emphasize that you understand their concerns. For example, you might offer: “I understand you’re still waiting on flooring samples that were scheduled to be delivered last week. I know how frustrating this must be for you, especially since you’re renovating on a tight schedule.” Once you’ve established that you empathize with the customer’s situation, it’s time to apologize so you can shift the focus towards solving the problem. 7. Say sorry (and mean it) A sincere apology is key to mending customer relationships. In fact, saying you’re sorry can make a bigger impact on how a customer feels about the situation than offering credit or discounts on future services. More specifically, a genuine apology can double customer satisfaction with the outcome of service issues. According to Nicereply, a study from the Carey School of Business found that only “only 37% of upset customers were satisfied when offered something in return for the issue. However, if the business said sorry on top of the credit, satisfaction increased to 74%.” The secret to an effective apology is that be specific to the individual customer’s situation. That means acknowledging why they’re upset, accepting ownership for the problem, and then offering to fix it. 8. Present a path forward Now that you’ve established a common ground by identifying the issue and started to rebuild your relationship by apologizing, you can start to talk about next steps. Before you propose a solution, consider what your customer is most looking to get out of this situation. For instance, if they feel they didn’t get enough value from the transaction, you could offer them a discount for future services or throw in a freebie to help mend the relationship. Or if a customer is unhappy with the end result of work done by your company, you should offer to evaluate the situation in person and (unless they’re being unreasonable) you could offer to re-do the job so it’s up to your professional standards and they’re happy with the result. 9. Provide multiple options When presenting potential solutions, you can give the customer control by letting them choose from a number of viable choices. For instance, you could say: “I have a few ideas for how we can make this right. Let’s talk about some of these options together, so we can choose the best course of action together.” If they continue to reject every solution you propose, you should ask the customer directly what would make them happiest. Either way, you’ve managed to turn the situation from a combative you-vs-them dynamic to a collaborative effort focused on reaching a resolution. 10. Turn negative feedback into positive change Just because you’ve resolved the issue this time, doesn’t mean it won’t crop up again with another customer. That is, unless you use the negative customer feedback received from this experience to fuel change within your company. Start by pinpointing the exact cause of the issue. Where did it start? Who was involved? Once you identify what went wrong and how the situation could have been avoided, you can use that information to minimize the chance of a similar problem occurring in the future. For instance, if the problem was related to customer service, you could consider additional training for your field techs or look for ways to improve employee onboarding. You could also encourage your team members to discuss tips for handling or preventing common customer service issues. 11. Follow-up and share any improvements When all is said in done, you should check in one more time to make sure the customer is satisfied with the outcome. Ask if there’s anything else you can do for them and thank them again for their patience. Following up builds credibility, reassures the customer, and increases the chances that they’ll become a loyal client and potentially an advocate for your business. It’s also a good idea to walk the customer through any changes you’ve made to prevent it from happening again. The more details you provide about the steps you’re taking to fix the issue, the more clearly the customer will see how hard you’re working to deliver amazing service.

Emily Bauer

Responding to Customer Complaints: 11 Tips for Dealing with Unhappy Clients