For over three decades, my answering service staff has worked intensely with not just the HVAC owners who pay us to handle their phone traffic, but also with their customers who call us in hopes of solving what is usually an immediate problem.
We’ve handled millions of calls from people who need help with their heating and cooling systems.
The busiest times? You know this already: In the first warm days of summer, it’s malfunctioning AC units; in the first hard days of winter, obviously, it’s heating components.
For an answering service this makes May and June, and October and November, the busiest months of the year, as we process more HVAC phone calls in those four months than in all of the other months of the year combined. These are the times when customers can be lost…or acquired.
In these busy times, one thing is certain: the average caller wants immediate action. And in this, they are also adamant about discussing their problem with a live human being, even if it’s to be informed that a tech will not be available to help them until the next day. For the after-hours HVAC caller, whether it’s for a residence or a business problem, voice mail is not going to work: Fail to provide a human voice and 100% of the time the caller will go on to the next listing on Google as they search for a real person who can give them immediate feedback.
From processing literally tens of millions of incoming HVAC calls over the years, here’s what we’ve found to be the prevalent caller-concerns that, if not handled well, will drive the potential customer – or the existing customer – to another HVAC provider:
- Their call is not answered promptly or it goes to voicemail: busy season or not
- The answering service representative sounds confused, apathetic or annoyed
- They are promised a prompt call-back from a tech, and the call-back doesn’t happen until the next day
- They want the conversation to be FAST: Callers want a real person but they don’t want to spend lots of time on the phone reporting the problem (because they are very busy killing the fires that are due to that particular problem…).
- Callers want to know the cost for a tech’s visit
There is no way around it: Callers want to feel confident that their problem is of #1 importance to their HVAC provider.
It’s especially during the busy times that customers are lost, or gained, and as with most everything else in business, the difference boils down to the quality of communication offered to the customer.
*Centratel is an elite national telephone answering service located in Bend, Oregon. Centratel’s HVAC Answering Service assists hundreds of heating, ventilation and air conditioning businesses during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.