No Show! No Dough!
Heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical contractors are retailers. Period. So, you must think like a retailer! Most retailers have the advantage of selling a tangible product – shoes, a car, carpet. And yes, we do sell tangible products – a furnace, a toilet, or a hot water heater, but those are the products used to provide what our industry really sells – comfort, convenience, energy efficiency, and occasionally m. (Think fancy registers and pretty toilets and faucets.) Generally though, we are selling comfortable environments, healthier air, physical safety (high seat toilets), and security (wifi technology so the consumer can monitor what is happening in the home).
We know how important the customer experience is. We comprehend that it is the focal point of education, differentiation, and value added. To the customer, it is entirely about the relationship with their provider. The question is, “How does one orchestrate a customer experience?” How can that experience drive consumer purchase readiness? Always remember, people typically buy on emotion and justify with facts. So how does it all fit together?
I am the kind of person that likes to connect the dots to make sense of things. So, when a very wise man, Bob Z., said, “Let me explain it this way: No Show…No Dough.” This made perfect sense. He did not mean that you must be a comedian, a puppeteer or even a jokester. What he did mean was that trying to communicate technical information to a non-technical person is extremely difficult and often results in misunderstanding or misinterpretation and all out frustration for the customer. Sometimes even skepticism and distrust are the end state of mind. To any retailer, that outcome is totally unacceptable.
To avoid this, visually represent the features and benefits of those products and services that solve the customer’s environmental problems. This should become the operational fabric that binds a company’s culture together. A visual process becomes integrated in the company brand identity.
The lingering questions for any customer purchasing an upper-end product or service are: “Did I get my money's worth? Was it a great value or did I just get ripped off?” Studies consistently reveal that customers rate their experience highest when stories, pictures, videos, checklists, graphics, or drawings are used to explain what must be done, how, and the finished result.
That information was the primary reason why one HVAC company uses the tag line, “We do NOT GUESS. We TEST.” This culture dictates that the customer is shown every test result, photo, thermal scan, etc. that illustrates the best choice for timely and affordable corrective action all without paying for guess work.
Customer complaint: “Our home is drafty in the winter. It must be the furnace. Please send a technician to look at the furnace.”
The No Show Approach:
The technician arrives and introductions are made. He goes to the furnace and checkout procedures are followed. He returns to the customer informing him or her that the furnace is fine and drafts are something that just happen in the winter. He leaves with the $79.00 fee.
Now for the Show:
arrival via text.
A clean, wrapped, logoed, well organized service vehicle stops in front of the house in clear view. The technician then exits the vehicle in full uniform with his name “James” clearly readable on his uniform and a photo I.D. badge on his pocket. The work order is in hand along with monthly special, club membership information and booty floor protectors.
The technician goes to the door, steps back, and greets the customer. He refers to the conversation the customer had with Sally, the dispatcher, and reassures the customer she made a good choice calling his company. James, the technician, confirms the problem and shows the customer a diagram of the comfort system showing the furnace as only one component of the total system. He then asks if there are questions or additional concerns.
The technician retrieves his tools and test instrumentation, work mat, puts on his booties, and begins the inspection, diagnostics, and checklist. Once complete, he then shows the customer the results with all factors being in the “green.” Next, he shows the homeowner how much cold air is cascading down from the attic into the conditioned living space using his thermal imaging device. The customer now sees the technician as Superman who can see through walls, floors, and ceilings while locating the real problem.