Seeing is Believing…Do You Believe?
Written by John LaPlant
Most progressive contractors consistently try to increase average tickets. And they should. Why is this critical? The cost for a typical company to get a professionally trained technician, in a fully stocked company service vehicle, from point A to point B, is a crisp $100 bill.
With an emphasis on logic, reason, and value to engage the customer, we always try to communicate options to improve comfort, health, safety, and security for the best possible in-home lifestyle. Word pictures do not always convey the message.
One company started using the “real-time eyeglass recording and viewing technology,” such as Company Cam or XOi, in their residential replacement department. A Comfort Consultant shows up for a marketing-generated, scheduled appointment with a prospect. As the Comfort Consultant is inspecting the customer’s installation requirements, she is also using the eyeglass technology to record difficult or unusual aspects that an installation team would encounter. Nameplates are archived. The salesperson explains that this detailed, documented approach is to protect the homeowner’s investment and assure the job goes smoothly and meets all parameters of the agreed-upon specifications. Of course, photographic permission is obtained from the customer.
The homeowner is also shown an example of a video from a past job – like a live before and after snapshot. This includes the quality assurance walk-through at the end of the job and any homeowner comments. The homeowner also sees the company standards of excellence for commissioning a system to operation. Not just, “throw the breaker on” and “good luck”!
This is a unique opportunity for differentiation. It is a leverageable opportunity to spotlight a company’s Unique Selling Proposition.
Should this job close, the video and pictures become a great teaching tool for the installers to use on the job. The installation team has a clear understanding of the promises made to the customer and which details are most important to the customer.
It is also a way to safeguard the integrity of the sales process. The salesperson should be required to have specific video segments – such as where the pad will be located for new equipment and to review these aspects of the installation with the installers. Only when these requirements are met and the job installed and paid for, does the salesperson receive full commission.
This library of videos also builds a library of training situations for new hires. It is rich with what to do and what not to do. This eyeglass recording technology is cloud-based and stores data by customer ID, install team name, etc.
In the company that implemented this technology, the sales team quickly recognized the value to the customer. The salespeople wanted the residential service department to use it too. Initially, this department discounted the idea and basically said, “Too much work.” Sales did not give up.
The sales team set up a demonstration of how the technology could benefit both service and sales and how it increased the customer’s perception of value, quality, and workmanship. Then sales and service tried it together….on real service calls like a “beta test”.
The test began on two service calls with older equipment. In neither case was the customer thinking replacement. Using the eyeglass technology, the technician provided the homeowner with video documentation of what the system needed.
In the first case, the homeowner decided to talk with a salesperson and the video information better prepared the Comfort Consultant for the follow-up sales call.
In the second case, the customer was not interested in talking about replacement, but the video technology allowed the technician to bring up his recommendations for a system Refresh Package. The visual documentation of motor amp draws, airflow, compressor amp draws, capacitance readings, flame proving parts, and worn components such as pitted contacts on a contactor allowed the technician to visually explain why the factory refresh package was a good investment. The technician could use the video to explain the advantages of turbo capacitors and sealed contactors
The eyeglass technology presents an opportunity for the technician to be proactive and pre-emptive at the same time. The technician expresses his understanding of why a customer would want to get a couple more useful years out of his eight-year old system. The technician further explains that based on his experience and knowledge the Refresh Package would be a good investment. After all, the factory refresh package contains the items most likely to fail at the eight to nine-year point and protection devices such as a surge protector.
Provide the technician with information such as the average number of lightning strikes locally, the number of power spikes and the number of “brownouts” in the area. Then the technician can ask why the customer does not have an indoor and outdoor surge protector, which is an included part of the Refresh Package.
Companies report the Refresh Package is a valuable win for the customer, an expert win for the technician and a process win for the company. The customer is happy; he or she gets what was wanted – peace-of-mind and longer life from the system. And to make sure the customer has no regrets about the investment in the Refresh Package, l the customer receives a No Breakdown Guarantee and a full or partial credit of the cost of the Refresh Package should the customer elect to go for new equipment in the next 12 months. The technician is happy because he received a bonus or incentive. The company is happy because the labor capacity performance KPI is substantially improved.
In the company that implemented this procedure, a very interesting dynamic emerged. Two departments that used to be stand-alone silos started working together and speaking the language of problem-solving by using video and pictures. They assisted each other finding new leads and looked via visuals to better serve their customers. They had one another’s backs! And, field operations certainly got more efficient.
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