Best Practices in the Field
Just as the CSR is the first voice the customer hears from the company, the technician is the first face the customer sees — often on one of their worst days. That customer-technician interaction should build trust, and create the opportunity for a mutually beneficial solution.
SECTION 10 OF 11
Beyond the Systems
Strong systems are necessary, but not sufficient to grow maintenance agreement programs, Hunter says. Here are his five additional strategies:
1. Minimize the money
Tacking a year’s worth of maintenance on top of a service call doesn’t make it easy for customers to invest. Hunter moved to a perpetual membership plan as the primary offering, adding only a small monthly fee to the first repair. Hunter also made it cheaper to pay monthly than to pay up front, which gave homeowners incentive to pay monthly. It also limited renewal issues.
2. Eliminate the fine print
In a world where everyone wants to sell you a warranty or get you to join their club, why should they buy yours? Hunter says his was decent, but didn’t stand out.
He saw other companies offering a No-Breakdown Guarantee, but there was a lot of fine print. Hunter Super Techs eliminated the details. The No-Breakdown Guarantee Tuneup was born.
“If we come out and do a No-BreakdownTuneup for a customer on Hunter Super Techs’ VIP membership plan and have a breakdown, we will apply the cost of the maintenance toward the repair,” Hunter says. “It's simple yet very credible. There is no red tape and no hassle.
“It's easy to market, easy to manage and has great value at no risk for the homeowner.”
3. Identify opportunities
ServiceTitan makes it easy to see who is on the membership plan and when their next appointment is scheduled. The software can sort them by geographic area and log communication attempts. And Hunter Super Techs placed a notification tag on every dispatch to a potential member, or a potential membership renewal.
When techs sold memberships, the software automatically scheduled their next appointment, six months out.
ServiceTitan also stores captured credit card information and saves it on file, and can set up recurring payments.
“It saved us a ton of headaches and manpower in the office,” Hunter says.
Busy times can be a gold mine for new agreements. CSRs can explain the membership program—and how members get priority service—to customers needing repairs.
“Let them know you can go ahead and get them enrolled so they can get fast service today,” Hunter says. “And any time a VIP member calls, reaffirm how great it is that they are on the plan, because their wait won’t be as long.”
4. Hold techs accountable
Hunter Super Techs trained technicians to sell memberships and offered spiffs, but results didn’t improve. One or two were good at it, and the rest either weren’t good or didn’t care.
The solution? Accountability.
“We realized we weren't doing a good job at holding them accountable for this vital area of their job,” Hunter says.
Setting minimums of 25 percent conversion rates on potential members and 70 percent conversion rates on renewal opportunities—and tying those rates to performance pay eligibility—changed the game, Hunter says.
5. Demonstrate value
To get consumers to buy in to memberships, show value and communicate it continually.
Hunter gives tuneups for members top priority and tries to never reschedule.
VIP members get priority scheduling.
The company always points out how much the membership saved the customer.
“Anytime we have the opportunity to show the value to the homeowner, we do it,” Hunter says.
To demonstrate the value to the techs, Hunter Super Techs celebrates successes at company meetings. They recognize top conversion rates, and rank everyone. And the company displays the number of guaranteed work hours provided by memberships.
“When the other companies are laying off or sending guys home during mild weather times, we are thankful for a full schedule,” Hunter says. “We really emphasize how these agreements allow us to plan growth and bring on new technicians.”
More technicians mean fewer on-call hours for everyone, and more money for the company.
The bottom line, Hunter says, is that growing the number of memberships can be done, and it benefits everyone.
“You have to identify your opportunities and have systems in place to maximize them,” he says. “If you are facing a wall you just can't get over, enlist the help of others who are having success, get real with what's holding you back, and take action.”
One pain point for contractors is the ability to track and manage their memberships. Fully implementing a trackable membership program using ServiceTitan solves that problem.
It worked for Tammy Herrad.
“Before ServiceTitan, American Veteran Air did not have an easy way to track membership visits,” she says. “Now, on ServiceTitan, memberships are organized by customer and location records and office users are reminded when the next visit needs to be booked.
Organizing memberships with ServiceTitan saved 10 hours-plus of sorting through and booking membership visits.
“With the greater organization of memberships and ease of selling memberships in ServiceTitan,” Herrad says, “American Veteran Air was able to double the number of memberships within their first year on ServiceTitan.”