Emergency Hotlines: Why We Need Them
Originally published: 11.09.18 by Joel Frederick
As a business owner, it brings great satisfaction to know that our company is providing all we can to ensure our customers are receiving top notch service, especially in life’s more stressful situations.
Specifically in our industry, there is a high level of diligence and responsibility that goes into operating business at a high level. Part of that responsibility includes safely and effectively handling emergency customer situations as they arise.
It is unavoidable that once in awhile a system will experience fault due to defective parts or poor upkeep. This is why we and many other reputable HVAC companies, offer and employ a customer emergency hotline. This line is meant to connect us with our customers in the case they ever experience a system emergency.
However, not all companies employ a 24/7 emergency service hotline for their customers.
Does your company’s business model factor in an 24/7 emergency hotline? If it doesn’t, here are some reasons you may want to ensure that plans for launching your emergency hotline are in the works.
We all want our clients to be happy with their service and for said service to operate safely at all times. A large reason why many companies employ an emergency hotline is to ensure that unforeseen safety concerns are extinguished quickly and that the corrective process begins promptly.
When HVAC emergencies do arise, such as high compressor pressure, gas smells or fumes, water leak, or no air flow (especially in extreme weather conditions), it is our corporate responsibility to provide assistance to fix the issue.
Not every customer will be closely in-tune with HVAC emergency preparedness. Cases in which danger is present, it is up to our techs to provide reparative services. We can be the professional expert they turn to when safety is a concern at any time of the day.
Of course, one of the biggest appeals for companies to employ an emergency hotline is due to the customer service value it adds to their company.
Emergencies never follow our schedules, but that doesn’t mean our customer’s HVAC company shouldn’t be available to help! To be accessible to clients at any time of the day and day of the year is an added value that pays for itself, in the eyes of customers, in opportunity costs.
Though emergency call lines may still be considered a commodity, trends point to an increase of companies implementing them. More companies are quickly catching on to the customer service value it adds to their businesses. According to the trend, hotlines are quickly evolving past an attractive customer service additive and to a customer service necessity. Companies that have not integrated an emergency hotline system into the business model should seriously consider looking into getting one off the ground sooner rather than later to match the service market of the industry.
In emergency situations, our techs are the on the front lines making sure that emergency situations gets handled quickly and effectively. In situations where emergency action is necessary, it is important that we capitalize on this as a time to educate the customer, especially if we see a behavior that can lead to better unit health.
What some homeowners may not realize is that some HVAC emergencies can be completely avoided by through better upkeep and routine maintenance checks.
Use emergency HVAC situations as an opportunity to teach your customers about the issues their systems may be experiencing as well as step they will need to take to make sure that their systems continue to perform at the level they should be. For example, if you see that customers are letting debris enter their air conditioning units, take the moment to explain the ramifications of not removing it.
When it comes to emergency situations, customers are usually in a state of high stress. Provide tips and further education to ease the situation. Customers are often more receptive to learning more when the material will help them prevent another stressful situation.
Our goal as HVAC companies should be to inform our customers where we can and interviene where needed. Providing tips and further education on how our customers can better manage and care for their systems, will continue to enhance trust and rapport we build with them.
In the same vein as customer service, we look at emergency hotlines as a way to generate sales.
Having an emergency hotline can be the differentiator between a customer choosing your company over another one. Let’s say, for example, there is a client in the market for services and finds your company and a competitor. If your company’s prices are slightly higher than your competitor, but your company offers 24/7 emergency coverage while your competitor does not, a customer will often reason the opportunity costs. This meaning that, to the customer, it is worth paying a bit more for initial services if it means that they have access to emergency care in the case they ever need it.
Bottom line, you want to be the organization the consumer turns to in their immediate time of need. Whether they're calling for an ugent service necessity or simply an inconvenience that needs quick resolution, a 24-hr service line is the one of the best differentiators that will set your organization up to be the HVAC group that your customer will call time and time again.