One of the first steps to growing a successful HVAC business has nothing to do with megohmmeters, compressors or ductwork. This type of success begins at hello.
Customer care calls start with a simple greeting and can quickly expand a customer base and HVAC business. Call centers – whether they have one person or 10 – are essential to the EverRest business model. Calls to new customers boost a company’s public profile by bringing in more business. Calls to existing customers showcase the company’s interest in personalized service and loyalty.
Of course, establishing an in-house call center isn’t as simple as just picking up the phone. There’s plenty to think about, including:
- Who will make the calls?
Determine whether an existing employee, such as a dispatcher or administrative person, will make the calls or you will hire someone specifically for the call center. Since this person will be your brand representative and can be the customer’s point of initial contact, carefully consider the attributes you want in your caller.
- What is the strategy?
Decide if the outgoing calls will be focused only on contacting new and existing customers for new business or if the calls will also handle collections and other kinds of debt management. Will the call center also take incoming calls for new service inquiries, bill explanations and other types of assistance? Also, will the callers handle other types of correspondence such as email, social media and live chats?
- What is the budget?
Consider the expenses for setting up an in-house call center – including employees, equipment and furniture – and determine where they fit into the budget. Many modern calls centers include a business phone bank and monitoring software to start.
- Where will the call center be located?
Look around your office. Do you have a quiet location where your callers can engage customers over the phone while not disturbing others? If the answer is no, you’ll need to set up an area for your call center or have the callers working remotely.
- What is the desired outcome?
Define your key performance indicators (KPIs) and expected outcomes to determine if the call center is worth the time and costs. Some trackable KPI measurements could include average time spent on calls, wait times, missed calls and scheduled service and replacement calls.
Other considerations for launching an in-house call center include:
The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts certain telemarketing calls, texts and faxes and provides for a do-not-call list. Businesses that violate the TCPA may be subject to fines and lawsuits. Before launching an in-house call center, contact federal, state and local regulators to ensure compliance.
- Employee training
Your call center employees should know what is expected of them. To do their job well, employees need specific information, including scripts, customer database and details about special offers and promotions.
Instead of randomly calling customers, consider the best days and times to place the calls. If your customer care calls begin after a direct mailer, calls should begin 3 to 5 days after delivery. At Hans Heating and Air, the call center staff works from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, they place calls from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Ultimately, a call center can help grow your HVAC business by putting technicians into 4 to 5 homes a day to reach the sweet spot – a sales mix of 80% replacement and 20% service.