Trust Equity

 

During a recent business trip with Carlos, one of my IAQ Training Reps, we talked about a subject that he is very interested and involved in, that being the board gaming industry. I know next to nothing about it, yet I was intrigued by its complexity and the number of games and gamers that are involved in this industry. I realized through our conversation that to develop a new game that will be popular with the gamers, that A LOT of time, money, and computer know-how is involved in creating and developing these games. Carlos said that a lot of companies use Kickstarter as a platform. The investment developing these games comes from the gamer investors, and their own money is at risk. The term used to say that a project has met its goal is “funded.” So, if the company raises enough money to meet its funding goal, it’s been funded. Sounds simple enough, yet there is risk involved in the board gaming world to get investment capital. The funding in these games is used to front the production costs of making the game. They use fancy marketing techniques and make all kinds of promises with hopes to deliver a high-quality product in the end. However, over the years, people (gamers in this case) have been burned with subpar production (graphic design, art, components, etc.), broken or unreadable rules, or not delivering a final product at all. This issue creates a little anxiety about backing a particular product so early in the life cycle of the product. To minimize their risk, investors look for companies that consistently deliver on their promises. They call this trust equity.

In the gaming investment industry, trust equity increases and comes into play (no pun intended) as the same companies consistently deliver on their promises. They no longer have that anxiety and will gladly back their next project. They’ve built enough trust equity where some game developing companies get instantly backed, while others struggle to get funded. Now, that equity can diminish if the next project doesn’t deliver.

How can you build this trust equity with your clients? You must consistently deliver on your promise of excellence with the service and products that you provide. This starts with the trust factor being built into your company culture. And it must be consistent throughout your company, from your service technicians in the field to your team members in your office.

Knowing how to build trust with customers is critical in today’s business climate. Going above and beyond for your customers is always the direct route to building consumer trust and a loyal customer base. Failing to do this and build it into your culture will limit your potential.

With social media and instant reviews online, today’s consumers are increasingly savvy, selective, and cynical about their purchasing decisions. Gone are the days of sales manipulation, persuasion, convincing, and winning where the customer is the one being manipulated, convinced, persuaded, and the loser. Our job is not to convince but inform.

Trust equity starts with building your positive reputation in the market. Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” So, once you build your reputation, you must be consistent with processes, positive attitudes, and always doing what’s in the best interest of your customers is critical.

As a company, we need to tell our story to the public to build a trusted brand. This story should go beyond our products and services and gets the customer to look at our history, passion for service, expertise, certifications, company culture, awards, etc. At the end of the day, YOU are the brand and not the product manufacturer you are aligned with. People need to identify with you and your values so that they are naturally drawn to the same likeness. We want to hang out with people we like and trust, and it’s the same in a business relationship.

Then we must live up to the brand and expectations that we are promoting. Be honest and straightforward with your customers about your products and services. No exaggerated claims that can appear to be pseudo-science or gimmicky. People can see right through the hype, and you will lose their trust. Be clear with your pricing and build value that goes beyond the customer’s investment with you. This is especially true for getting their repeat business and referrals.

Offer great customer service to build trust and loyalty. Hire dedicated team members and consistently train them to a high standard. Train them to have empathy and patience with angry customers and celebrate with excitement with the happy customers. Allow your team to treat customer issues on an individual case by case basis, rather than a canned “this is just how we do it” reply. The goal here is to provide an efficient, professional, and personable experience for your customers. If they feel like your team has gone above and beyond, then they’re far more likely to come back and then recommend you to their friends and family.

If you’re doing things right and building trust equity, then share your successes with reviews online. In today’s world, we are all in the habit of checking reviews before we go to a restaurant, on a vacation, or any other activity. Don’t think for a moment that it is any different in your industry when people are looking for your product or services. Word of mouth recommendations are important, and we trust third-party recommendations and the experience that others have had with a certain business. Reviews help customers make decisions on whether to consider your company to service their needs. Written reviews are great, and getting a few customer video testimonials are even better. So, leverage the power of recommendations by displaying unedited reviews prominently on your website, sharing positive feedback across your social media channels, and responding to reviews quickly and professionally to build trust equity.

Also, on your website, if you don’t have one already, create a “meet our team” page to put names with faces. Show them all the support that they will get, not only from the technician or salesperson that shows up on the call but from all your support staff.

Gaining trust with your customers and prospects should be part of the job description for everyone on your team. You already have products and services that consumers want and need, and hopefully the ability to show how you’re adding value, informing them on problems and solutions, and so forth. However, if you don’t earn the customer’s trust, they’ll probably buy from someone else whom they do trust.

Building trust equity will pay dividends!

 

Steve Mores is the Vice President of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Indoor Air Quality – How-To and How Do You Do!

“Is Your House Making You Sick?” the billboard asked, as it perched high in the sky, up above Cleveland Highway. The logo was unmistakable. My dad had another sign up in town for his HVAC business.

I was a junior in high school and worked in my dad’s business in what I considered to be the Office Manager position. Typical boss’s kid, right? We always think we’re worthy of the more important roles when in reality, I wasn’t the Office Manager; I simply answered the phones and ran parts to job sites. A few of my high school friends worked in the business, too, as install helpers. Yes, I thought it was cool that my dad owned his own business, and I enjoyed boasting about it to my friends. “My dad’s shop is the big building under the overpass up the North bypass.”

“They’d call from all over the country, searching for two years for someone who could help them with their indoor air quality, for someone who could help them feel better.”

 

The question was all too familiar; “Is Your House Making You Sick?” It wasn’t just the billboard; it was in surveys, flyers, postcard mailers…and often, the phone would ring from across the U.S. somewhere. Someone that was not in our hometown would call, looking for help. They would call because someone in their home had an illness that they determined was coming from their home, but they hadn’t been able to find and solve the problem. People would hear about and find my dad on the internet after looking for what they usually said was approximately two years; two years of searching for someone to help them with their Indoor Air Quality. There is an underserved market.

IAQ was our specialty. I knew that; everyone in town knew that, and the question, “Is Your House Making You Sick?” was the line that marketed the IAQ leads my dad would go on to sell the high-ticket jobs that kept our HVAC business out of famine all too often.

What others shrugged off as a customer who was impossible to please, my dad understood as someone who simply hadn’t gotten their problem solved yet. He didn’t stamp them as complicated or frustrating; he stamped them as a person who was seriously uncomfortable and unwell with an opportunity to make a difference. My dad had (and still has) a deep-rooted passion for helping people and solving their problems, and nothing made him happier than knowing that he finally solved someone’s health issues…well, that and the big check that came with it, of course.

Yet still…I didn’t grasp the ‘ah-ha, oh my, wow’ discovery until last week.

“Even after 25 years in the industry and a lifetime of IAQ talk, I still hadn’t internalized how crucial IAQ work was until last week…and then I connected the dots.”

 

Fast forward 25 years of being in the industry and a lifetime of hearing my dad talk about IAQ, yet it didn’t hit a chord until last week. That’s right. Here at The New Flat Rate, we determined to write a menu pricing system for Indoor Air Quality, a pricing system that would help contractors learn to price this type of work, paired with a training system and how-to checklist of materials, supplies, and best practices.

Sitting in that conference room, armed with whiteboards, smartboards, laptops, recordings, stacks of data, and the life experience of Rodney Koop and John Ellis, who had spent most of their lifetime in the pursuit of helping homeowners discover and solve their Indoor Air Quality issues, my eyes began to open, and I started to connect the dots.

Day after day, Rodney and John discussed the environment of the home. Keeping what’s ‘in’ in and keeping what’s ‘out’ out, sealing off contaminants, infiltration, ionization, weatherization…and many more ‘action’ words…the list went on. With every menu we wrote, I grasped even more understanding of how underserved the need is and how the industry as a whole is underequipped to help homeowners with their IAQ from discovery to resolution and ongoing maintenance.

“I walked to our bedroom and rolled up the gorgeous 4” thick, 12×12 shag area rug, and had my husband haul it out to the dumpster.”

 

And I went home Friday night, poured a glass of champagne, toasted with my husband, and said, “Honey, we’re making some changes because our house is making you sick;” then I walked to our bedroom and rolled up the gorgeous 4” thick, 12×12 shag area rug, and asked him to carry it out and haul it to a dumpster. That’s right. Even I, who had heard that question my whole life, didn’t grasp how important IAQ was for my family and how important it was for my contracting members and friends to have an easy way to offer, price, and serve the IAQ market in their areas. And the market is huge!

Think about it with me. Don’t you know those people who are always sneezing or sniffling? Who has the constant nuisance of a cough or a tickle in their throats? Who always just feels a little under the weather? They simply chalk it up to “Oh, I’ve always had this cough.” I’ll bet at least one person has popped into your mind just thinking about it. We might all have ‘always’ had something, but it doesn’t mean we are supposed to, and it doesn’t mean we have to! Let me rephrase that. It doesn’t mean your friends and family and community members have to, and you can be the one to help them!

This is not a promo for our new product, which by the way, happens to be available in March, and I’m looking for beta testers, oh no. This is not a promo. This is a wow. True expertise is developed over time, and if you’re looking to get into the IAQ market to help bring diversification to your business, or perhaps you’ve experienced the satisfaction of helping a customer who desperately needed your help, but don’t know how to market for more of those leads in the future…then the question for you is, “Is Your House Making You Sick?” Test it in your marketing and let me know what happens. My guess? You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

P.S. I’m serious about the beta testers; if you’d like to be a beta tester for our new Indoor Air Quality pricing system, shoot me an email – danielle@menupricing.com – and I’ll get you on the list!

 

Danielle Putnam is the President of The New Flat Rate and Advisory Board Member for Women in HVACR.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Home Services Contractors Are Redefining Exceptional Customer Experience Amid the Pandemic

Home services contractors have proven they can adapt to the new normal. But how can they retain and grow their customer base in the next normal?

The very best home services contractors work hard to influence customer retention with membership agreements that provide security, peace of mind, and offer some influence over a homeowner’s attention span; however, even these contractors are still swimming against the current. In today’s market, customer churn is guaranteed.

When dealing with change, it’s always best to focus on what you can control. So, while a contractor can never control a customer’s loyalty, they are 100% able to control the experience they provide to them. So let’s talk about how contractors can ensure that those experiences are exceptional and change the game entirely.

Changes that Stick

In order to win the confidence and trust of homeowners, contractors have to move beyond marginal improvements to the status quo. They will be required to concentrate their focus on providing the most convenient and personalized service experience to customers.

This starts by looking at how customer behavior changed during 2020 and what expectations will persist in the years ahead.  A recent McKinsey Insights article revealed that during the first six months of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, companies were pushed over a technology tipping point transforming business forever. In that short time, consumer engagement through digital channels such as texting, webchat, or apps jumped 24% over 2019 levels. Currently, over 65% of customer interactions in North America are digital.

For example, the conveniences we’ve all enjoyed, while their adoption has been accelerated by the pandemic will certainly remain incredibly high. At Schedule Engine, we saw the usage of web chat across the clients we support increase by 300% during the early phase of the pandemic, while adoption of online booking increased at an even steeper rate of 500%. Both of those metrics continue to rise today and show signs of accelerating even more as we move into 2021.

So, at the beginning of 2021, the home services industry is at a very different place when it comes to meeting consumer expectations than we were just a year ago. While the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital engagement by consumers, according to BDO USA, the effects are here to stay. Customers are not going to stop expecting the same level of convenience they are enjoying now.

Giving Customers What They Want

Some changes in consumer behavior that have been driven by necessity rather than preference, such as the reliance on food delivery services, may not persist at current levels after the pandemic is over. While caution will be the name of the game, post-pandemic consumers will seek out experiences like in-person dining and travel. But other changes initially driven by circumstances will be sustained because of their sheer convenience and exceptional customer experience long after the pandemic has faded. 

This is where home service contractors need to pay attention. Customers are not going to unlearn the advantages and convenience of the online services they’ve turned to in order to weather the pandemic. To keep up, contractors need to be able to provide modern online booking and live technical chat support on their websites.

At Schedule Engine, our team is driven to deliver customer experience solutions and live support services to help contractors offer this kind of convenience to their customers. Feel free to connect with me or send me a direct message online. You’re also welcome to email info@scheduleengine.com. We look forward to the conversation!

 

Strickland Tudor is the Vice President of Schedule Engine

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!