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Close the Lead Management Gap

Originally published
Originally published: 1/1/2019

If you don’t respond quickly, you lose out on potential business.


When a consumer has an issue with their heating or cooling system, they are likely looking for a nearly immediate fix. This is especially true with a heating issue in the winter, or a cooling issue in the dead of summer.

If a consumer reaches out to a HVACR contractor, and that contractor or business does not respond right away, chances are that person has already heard back from another business. An appointment is made, and the company with the quick response has a new customer.

With such high stakes, it is essential that HVACR businesses respond nearly instantaneously to their leads as quickly as possible. However, this rarely happens.

New research indicates that 95 percent of home services companies are not responding to customer inquiries within five minutes, essentially opening the door for competitors to swoop in and respond.

As part of the study, more than 450 home services companies (including heating and cooling professionals, electricians, plumbers and more) were contacted via forms on the company’s website and tracked their responses.

Only 60 percent of contractors responded to the inquiries, and 55 percent of those that responded did so after at least one full business day.

The takeaway for HVACR professionals: more emphasis must be put on this growing lead management gap. Businesses cannot just respond to their leads when it is convenient to them — they must respond immediately to be successful. In order to ensure leads are not being left behind to competitors, we recommend HVACR professionals adhere to the following process.

Record Response Times

An unfortunate truth in the HVACR business is that most companies do not know how quickly their sales representatives are responding to leads. This is a major problem when it comes to closing the lead management gap.

Business owners should begin streamlining their lead management process by tracking their current lead response times. For a few weeks, record response times to all inquiries: phone, website and email.

Make note of how quickly sales representatives responded to the inquiry, recording the exact time the lead came through and when your team responded (i.e. phone or email).

Analyze and Adjust

Once response times are tracked, it is time to analyze the results. Were lead responses uniform? Did potential leads receive a quicker response if they reached out through an inbound call or through your website?

How many times were leads contacted before contact was made and an appointment set? Now, you have baseline data and can determine if changes are needed to the process.

Automated Lead Response

The way in which contractors respond to leads should be uniform every time someone inquires about services, no matter how they inquire. Whether contractors use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, an outsourced sales development team or internal dispatchers, the process should remain the same, every time, without question.

After deciding if a faster lead response time is needed, determine the best approach to automate the process so every lead is receiving a response within five minutes of submission.

Keep in Contact

Want to know the quickest way to lose potential business? Many sales professionals quit calling leads after one attempt. (An even quicker way is to not answer your phones at all!) Institute a response cadence for all inbound leads that includes multiple outreach attempts through multiple channels.

For example, automate call reminders through your CRM system as soon as the lead is created. Set these reminders for 10 minutes later and again in 30 minutes. Successful salespeople use persistence to win more sales.

Consider adding an email in, as well, to see how this affects your appointment set rate.

While many businesses will stop following up over the weekend, HVACR professionals should absolutely keep the phones ringing to attempt contact over the weekend, too, since that’s when people are not at work and readily available to respond.

Update Technology

A company’s website is often their first impression to a potential customer. An overwhelming form with multiple required fields to submit can scare someone off to a competitor’s website looking for an easier way.

Review your website contact forms and consider if the form is too complicated or long. The length of the form can be daunting to someone who does not want to share too much information, and it can be off-putting to the person who feels rushed for service immediately.

Make the important fields required, like name, email address, home address, and phone number. Other fields can be optional and left up to the lead to fill in or not.

Additionally, to help interact with leads in real-time, a growing trend in the home services industry is for companies to install live chat on their websites.

This empowers sales teams to chat with leads while they are on your site learning more about what products and services you offer.

Scheduling appointments or creating quotes through chat can truly satisfy an online customer’s desire for immediacy.

Stop Losing Customers

When people have an issue with their HVACR systems, they are not looking to address the issue in a few hours or days. They are looking for assistance now.

As a result, HVACR business owners must ensure their teams capitalize on every call, email and contact form submitted immediately.

Silence is deafening to someone looking for a professional to fix their heating or cooling system, and will surely lead them to find the help they need with another company that answers their call for help.