HVACR Service With a Text
HVACR Service With a Text
No-contact sales solutions are popular now, will also be an efficient way to continue in the future. And for marketing support, the best developers act as true partners in a contractor's success. We hear from Podium, Mosaic and HVAC contractor Tim Flynn.
Kelly L. Faloon
Feb 26, 2021
As the country continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, several vaccines are now available, revealing a light at the end of the lonely tunnel. Yet not every citizen will take the vaccine. Mechanical contracting firms will need to continue providing field personnel with personal protective equipment and working under pandemic protocols — protecting customers as well as workers.
No-contact sales calls may seem strange, but it’s been a necessity over the last year. Much can be done through today’s technology, video calling being the predominant method of keeping in touch. But a combination of text messaging and photos is one technique HVACR techs can use to work with customers and solve problems — while saving time and money.
“Recently, we had a contractor start with Podium that was in near lockdown,” explains Marc Glutz, Podium’s director of sales. “A new customer came to the HVAC company website, asked about scheduling a time via Webchat (a website texting tool), communicated via text with the service manager, and even sent and received photos of the perceived problems via text.
“The technician was dispatched to the home with access to earlier conversations, was able to enter the home, replace the part, take and send a photo of the final
Text messaging has a 209 percent higher response rate than phone, email or Facebook, notes software testing and reviewing firm TechJury.Podium replacement and send a review link for the customer to provide a Google review. The customer did it all via text and left a five-star review. Easy communication, right in the palm of their hands via text.”
Not all your customers will have a smartphone with Internet access, but almost everyone has a mobile phone that receives and sends text messages.
Text messaging has a 209 percent higher response rate than phone, email or Facebook, notes software testing and reviewing firm TechJury. And that was before the pandemic hit our shores. And keep this in mind: not all your customers will have a smartphone with Internet access, but almost everyone has a mobile phone that receives and sends text messages.
Because of the medium's immediacy, text messaging is an ideal way to communicate with customers to help with their home service needs. There are many ways this technology can help home service contractors benefit from “becoming textable,” Glutz says.
Other tools that HVACR contractors can benefit from include video chatting via text, internal feedback, creating and tracking marketing campaigns, and automation of appointment reminders.
“It is customizable to each company and their desired process and customer interaction philosophy,” he notes. “Podium has different tools within the platform to generate text conversation from a website, send photos and updates, collect secure payments and send bulk text reminders. Being able to execute on business processes via text seamlessly is great, but allowing access to techs, administrators, office staff and owners for oversight on a singular system for communication can save hours of time and stress.”
Other tools that HVACR contractors can benefit from include video chatting via text, internal feedback, creating and tracking marketing campaigns, and automation of appointment reminders, he adds.
“It’s about modernizing local businesses to help ensure communication is simple for the entire HVAC process via text,” Glutz notes. “Text messaging is imperative in today’s economy and marketplace. It saves us time, energy and opens conversations we may not usually have. So when HVACR contractors and homeowners can connect via text, it can become a win-win for both.”
Kelly Faloon is a contributing writer to Contracting Business magazine and principal of Faloon Editorial Services. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, she has more than 20 years' experience in the plumbing and heating industry and B2B publishing. Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University.
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No-contact Works, but People Still Matter
Tim Flynn, founder/owner of Winters Home Services , Watertown and Needham, Mass., uses Scorpion for website marketing and lead generation.
"Scorpion makes clients call in," he said. "With Scorpion, I realize the more money I put into it the more money I get out of it. They're the only ones that told me the truth. They're the only ones that backed up their claims and did what they said they would do. They've got a customer for life with me."
Founded in 1995, Winters Home Services is an award-winning full-service company specializing in plumbing, heating, cooling, drain cleaning and quality air products.
“I think what people should also realize is Scorpion is a team of people. They call, they talk to you. Owners like me are so jaded by web-based companies trying to sell us their services, we blow them off. Scorpion is sincere about what they're doing. You usually speak with one person, but there are about 15 people on your team you never meet. There is an entire staff behind my one phone call or email. If someone doesn't get back to me for whatever reason, two or three people get back to me in a matter of hours. It's a really good, smart outfit.”
The owner's responsibility is ancillary training.
"If you're going to be a partner with Scorpion, the phone's going to ring. If you've trained your people to answer the phones correctly, your technicians are going to run a call. If you've trained your technicians to close the call for money, you're going to gain revenue. Any break in the chain along the way means you're not being a good partner for Scorpion," Flynn said.
Flynn uses ServiceTitan for no-contact sales, scheduling, invoicing and sharing information. And if it looks like the trend is rushing even faster towards “no-contact,” that’s correct. Pandemic or no pandemic.
“Millennials, for example, don’t want to make any contact. They want to do everything on their phones, without even making a phone call. If you look at the latest and greatest things that are being added to systems, there's touchless booking of appointments, from their phones," Flynn said. "But one of things we train on with ServiceTitan, is the importance of understanding and listening to the customer to know what they want. You can’t do that with texting, and the emotions surrounding the purchase of an HVAC system can't work with texting. The element of talking to a customer still has to exist. It's still very much a phone-to-phone/face-to-face business."
-- Terry McIver
'No-contact' Supports Financing Transactions
Mosaic is a financial technology pioneer, providing over $3 billion in solar and home improvement financing through its online lending platform since 2012. Portal 2X , the Mosaic financing web portal, is designed to allow home improvement contractors to simplify the process of offering financing options and close home improvement deals quickly on any mobile device or desktop computer.
Mosaic sources report that allowing homeowners to complete the financing process online, through their own mobile device or computer, has now become an even more important feature. By minimizing or eliminating in-person appointments between contractors and homeowners during every stage of the financing process, from credit application to loan signing, Portal 2X helps home improvement contractors continue closing deals despite social distancing.
THIS LINK provides a free whitepaper on the Mosaic no-contact process.
Mosaic provides this description of the contact-free process:
Connect with homeowners remotely via a phone call or a video call.
Send the homeowner a link to a secure web portal where they enter their name, address, email, social security number, date of birth, and annual income – all from the privacy of their own device.
Mosaic does a soft credit check at pre-qualification, with no impact on your customer’s credit score.
In seconds, contractor and customer are both notified of the maximum amount of financing they are pre-qualified for.
Contractor then enters the project costs and Portal 2X displays a variety of financing options with a range of APRs, terms, and monthly payments the homeowner may choose from. You can discuss these options via screenshare or phone.
Once the customer decides on the financing product that’s best for them, the contractor triggers Mosaic to send loan documents to the homeowner for review and e-sign on their mobile device or computer.
This contact-free process can save contracting businesses time and help their businesses, even under normal conditions. For example, in a post-pandemic scenario, if a homeowner decides they are ready to move forward with a project a day or two after an in-person meeting, the contractor can avoid an extra trip back to their home just to get their signature on loan documents.