HVACR Business

APR 2017

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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9 HVACR BUSINESS APRIL 2017 www. hvacrbusiness .com You want to answer every question and complaint, in every channel, every time you see them. Being comprehensive and generous with your responses will help foster and sustain strong customer relationships on social media. Making a pivot to social customer service and real-time customer feedback does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. If you read many of the case studies of companies that provide exceptional customer service on social media, you can begin to feel disillusioned. How is a smaller business meant to cope with the increased workload created by social media? You can hire a full-time person dedicated to social media, and indeed many HVACR businesses have done just that. You can also work this process into an existing workflow that exists in your company — perhaps the person who handles email responses can also have some time freed up to do social media. ere's no perfect solution for every company or every team. What's important, though, is to establish expectations among your customers. How quickly might they expect a response if they leave you a message on Facebook or Twitter? Should they ever expect to hear back from you? e good news is many social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, make it easy for your business to publicize its hours of availability. On Twitter, a business can add its office hours, just like you'd see on your own website. Facebook will show to consumers your average response time to messages on the Facebook Messenger platform. All of these things help set customer expectations for when (if ever) they can hope to hear back from you. is real-time customer feedback creates a sort of enduring story about your commitment to customers. A prospective customer may find your Facebook or Twitter profile while doing research for a new HVACR contractor. When they see your business is responsive and that you generally reply within an hour or two, it helps the customer feel good about doing business with you. ey know you'll be timely and helpful, and that sets the foundation for a great customer relationship. It will also differentiate you from competitors that don't have the same customer focus. You don't have to be amazing to do this right, you just need to be consistent and chip away at it one message at a time. Customer Advocacy Customer interactions on social media have a way of becoming part of your "permanent record" online. Not quite the permanent record your grade school teacher warned you about, but permanent nonetheless. at data is helpful to customers who are researching new HVACR providers and looking for information about companies they'd like to do business with — is your company responsive; do you take your customer commitment seriously? ere is another benefit to being proactive and responsive on social media, and it stems from the one-to-one nature of the interaction. If a specific customer interacted with your business on social media and had a delightful encounter, they're more likely to become an advocate for your brand later on. at might seem obvious, but here's the great news: you don't even need to delight them to benefit. Simply answering complaints can create advocates for your company, too. In the research for his book "Hug Your Haters," Jay Baer with Edison Research discovered an interesting trend: simply answering a complaint on social media increases customer advocacy by as much as 25 percent. Not answering those complaints decreases customer advocacy by as much as 50 percent. Your business benefits simply by being accessible on social media, and that creates enough customer loyalty that they'll become your advocate. Customers can be pretty forgiving when mistakes are made, but they cannot forgive being ignored. Most businesses believe they do a good enough job at handling customer complaints. In his research, Baer found that 80 percent of companies say they deliver great customer service, but only 8 percent of customers agreed. is can be a substantial strategic advantage for your business that sets it apart from most companies, whether you compete with them or not. Damage Control Social media can show its true colors most when things go sideways for your business. In times of crisis, it can feel like customers turn on you, gather an angry mob and come aer your business. In times of a social media crisis, you will be truly measured on how you responded (if you did), and how quickly you addressed the situation. Whether you've been active on continued on page 10 Your business benefits simply by being accessible on social media, and that creates enough customer loyalty that they'll become your advocate.

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