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 9 OF 9
Renewing Yearly and Maintaining Monthly Memberships
Try this process for driving membership renewals
Most HVAC Companies offer both monthly and yearly memberships, often including at least 2 visits per year to inspect equipment, make sure it’s clean and give options to make the unit(s) more efficient. Plumbing and electrical companies tend to visit their customers once per calendar year for an inspection.
There are a few processes to follow to maintain your active membership base and to ensure that your company is paid for every contract in a timely manner. We will focus on the yearly workflow first.
Years ago, contractors maintained membership records by pen and paper and kept all active contracts in a filing cabinet after entering the information into the CRM.
Today, technology allows many different ways to not only maintain your existing memberships, but streamline how you contact your customers to get them to renew, maintaining your relationship.
The basic workflow below keeps your customers aware of the upcoming renewal while keeping the customer experience as professional as possible.
Depending on your office bandwidth, or if you have a dedicated FTE to manage your memberships, it is important that you contact your active membership customers at least 3-4 times before deeming the contract as expired.
The initial contact should come a few months before the expiration, to ensure there’s no lapse in membership coverage.
Additionally, the method of contact can vary based on customer base, the technology and programs used, and the bandwidth to call out on these customers.
With ServiceTitan, you can create separate statuses for each touchpoint and manage these renewals based on status.
Note: This requires a configuration in ST called ‘Custom Opportunity Follow Up’ and you will need to contact your POC to get this activated in your account.
60 days prior to renewal
Create renewal estimates for the expired customers, print the estimate and mail out to the customers.
Mark the opportunity as ‘First letter’ in the system.
Feel free to use a mail merge or your existing service for marketing to help with the mailing depending on the number of renewals that you need to send out.
30 days prior to renewal
Make a courtesy call for those customers who have not renewed.
Make sure you research the customer before calling for any renewals. There may have been a recent service call and the tech could have renewed onsite.
If already renewed through the field, dismiss the current estimate and put a note in the account.
If a customer does not renew at time of phone call, or no answer, send out an email to the customer.
When emailing, make sure you have an estimate link in the body so customers can accept the renewals by email if they would like.
Change the status of these customers in bulk to ‘1st call, 2nd contact, etc’.
15 days prior to renewal
Send out another printed estimate.
This time, also include a letter to your customers about the expiration and what benefits you provide if the customer does renew.
Mark it in the system as a different status to keep track of who you sent out a letter to.
On renewal date
Perform a 2nd call for those customers who have not sent in payment.
Again, research the customer to see if they called into the CSR line and renewed but didn’t use the existing estimate in the system.
Mark it in the system as a different status.
15-30 days after expiration date
Send out a final letter to customers with the estimate.
Make sure this has different verbiage than the first two renewal sends.
90 days after expiration date
If the estimate is still open, mark the estimate in the system as “dismissed.”
The workflow above is strictly optional and is common for the larger companies that have hundreds, if not thousands of renewals. The more you automate this process, the more likely it is that you may not need a dedicated FTE for this process and you can incorporate it within your call center operations.
However, as you continue to grow, having one or two people manage these renewals is critical to your membership customers.
These days, most contractors are switching to a monthly or yearly subscription service for their customers. This helps tie in the customer and cuts down on the manual work it takes to maintain renewals.
Recurring membership maintenance
Here are a few tips to take when maintaining your recurring memberships.
Every month, run a report and call out on all expired credit cards in the system. This will ensure that you have fewer declines.
To streamline this, sign up for ServiceTitan’s Membership Renewal Protection, which is a service where the system looks for any expired cards and performs an update if successful.
If you charge your members manually, audit your run for any billings that may have slipped through the cracks.
This includes any templates that have a billing date before the current period.
It also includes any memberships with errors in the billing template.
If you have rules to set up these recurring members automatically, it’s imperative you do a quick check at the end of every month for the next month for any memberships that have errors (see bullet point above).
Put a reminder monthly to follow up for all members who declined or have no card on file.
Use ServiceTitan’s bulk email feature to perform a bulk email (you will need to do this in the ‘batched’ screen.
Print out each invoice in the associated failed and unattempted batches and mail to customers. You can perform this in bulk as well.
Call your customers saying there was an issue with your charge.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you on how you want to manage your memberships. Running reports of how many memberships your company has of each type (expiring, recurring) shows where growth is and provides focus on what’s better for your business.
Although we live in a subscription-based world, your customers may not want to provide financial information, instead sending in a check for service once a year. Provide as many options to the customer as possible to capture as many members as possible. This will lead to more opportunities for the technicians to get in the door, find upgrade options, and talk about other services and trades that you provide.