There’s no denying it: the way we do business is changing.
While we can appreciate the good old days, there’s no use in keeping a death grip on the way things used to be. Contractors that refuse to adapt will very likely get left behind. (Blockbuster, anyone?)
What Makes Internet-Driven Change Different
Over the last decade, we’ve seen lots of changes in our everyday work. For one, the tools we use have gotten faster, lighter, and more efficient. The equipment we install is smarter, too. Manufacturers are adding all sorts of bells and whistles to keep up with the growing demand for a complete “smart home.”
Product innovation has always been a part of American manufacturing. The addition of the internet, however, has completely disrupted how we do business. It’s all a part of a digital renaissance.
With high-speed internet at our literal fingertips, HVAC business owners should take notice of some of the recent trends. Being early adopters of new technology can reap significant benefits.
Internet Trends in HVAC Business
Here are three of the biggest trends we’re seeing that are changing the way we take care of the business side of things.
1. On-Demand Training
Most technicians get a few years of school or apprenticeship and build the rest of their knowledge on experience. On-the-job training is, no doubt, the best way for anyone to learn. Still, there is a lot that any technician can learn from others.
The internet has completely changed how a technician can learn and grow. From polished training videos to quick-and-dirty Instagram stories, a tech can catch a quick tutorial whenever it’s needed.
Also, podcasts offer thoughtful content on the drives between jobs. With information available about nearly any topic, owners should encourage their techs to use these (frequently free) resources to improve their skills.
2. Simpler Equipment Quotes and Ordering
For many HVAC business owners, especially for one-man-shows, the traditional method of nailing down an equipment order with a distributor is time-consuming and frustrating. Hours on the phone communicating product needs, haggling pricing, and tracking shipments eats up valuable working time.
Enter: online wholesalers. By working with an online shop, contractors can save both time and money. For example, Sensible HVAC Wholesale is an online store for licensed contractors. After a quick registration, you can see pricing instantly for Trane, Carrier, or Lennox equipment and order right from your phone.
The internet is open 24/7, so shopping for equipment on websites like Sensible means that you can browse before or after your regular business hours. Plus, wholesalers can offer much better pricing than local distributors. In short: making the switch to buying online is a win-win.
3. Smarter Customer Communication
From personalized Netflix selections to a curated list of restaurants from Yelp, customers expect tailored service. Customers expect the same for the home service industry. Also, the average homeowner is more tech-savvy than in years past. In short: the days of giving a homeowner a 2-hour window of arrival are long gone.
So, what will it take to delight your customers? Maybe it’s online scheduling or web chat with a real person. Or, text messages to alert the customer of exact technician ETAs. Perhaps creating an estimate on your tablet and emailing it directly to the customer for review – all while you’re standing in their home. All of this technology exists today: and if you’re not using it, your competitors probably are.
One more word on customer service: don’t underestimate the power of social media. Whether it’s a compliment or complaint, be sure to respond to each review. Leaving a past customer hanging could be the reason a new lead chooses the other guy.
Adapt to Get Ahead
The internet is here to stay. Along with it is continuous innovation in business management tools.
Businesses that are proactive in trying new approaches will be the ones to see the most benefit. From online equipment ordering to excellence in customer service, contractors can leverage the internet to drive profits.