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First Crucial Contacts – Part 1 – The Warm Handoff

April 27, 2023
First Crucial Contacts - Part 1 - The Warm Handoff

First contacts with a customer are crucial. It has first impressions and first sales opportunities rolled into one.

The first meaningful interaction a homeowner has with our company is typically with the Customer Service Representative, and it’s typically a call for service or maintenance. There is a huge opportunity to greatly improve our sales if those conversations are managed properly.

The first sales opportunity for our CSR is in maintenance agreements, and it should be a key focus for every call. It’s our way to maintain contact with the customer and keep his system running as smoothly as possible. The CSR should have received training about how to initiate this sales offer and how to speak with a customer in general.

Maybe You’ve Heard – Techs Aren’t Perfect

When our maintenance/service technicians go out to the house, we want to make sure they also attempt to sell maintenance agreements. The problem is sometimes our service technicians get busy, they get distracted, and it’s possible their communication skills aren’t the best in the world. So they don’t always make the effort to sell maintenance agreements.

The same is true of the conversation they should have with the homeowner in deciding to repair the system or to have it fully replaced. Sometimes the technician avoids having the difficult talk with the homeowner about replacing the unit because of sticker shock, when in fact it could save the homeowner a lot of future cost and hassle if the unit were replaced now. So instead, they do repairs. This costs the homeowner and our company money.

This is where the CSR warm handoff comes into play.

If we want to increase our odds that a technician will have a meaningful conversation with the homeowner, with the potential for a new system sale or at least maintenance agreements, we need to make it as easy as possible for the conversation to organically evolve. How do we do this?

We can make sure our CSRs are trained to end phone calls the same way each time to facilitate the results we want. Before hanging up with the homeowner on his initial call to our company, the CSR should leave a teaser.

CSR: Be sure to ask our service technician about our discounts.
Homeowner: Wait, what discounts?
CSR: That’s a great conversation for the service technician. Be sure to ask them when they arrive. Is 1-3 p.m. still a good arrival time?

This is one way to help initiate a good conversation between the homeowner and the service technician. It will get the ball rolling. It gives the tech a chance to discuss discounts that may be found in the VIP or maintenance agreement program.

Part of the challenge is that technicians are great at talking about maintenance programs and VIP programs, whichever you might have. They just don’t want to bring it up sometimes because they don’t want to seem like a salesperson. They don’t want to seem pushy. It is usually much easier for the CSR to jump start those conversations with the homeowner. It’s easier for the CSR anyway as they are typically on the phone and are not breaking any potential financial news to the homeowner face to face, where a tech would be.

Age Before Beauty

Once the homeowner asks about the maintenance agreement, technicians will do a great job having that conversation and answering all related questions. It’s the same if the CSR receives a service call and discovers it’s an older system, meaning 15-years-old or more.

One of the things that you can do is have the CSR start the conversation about system replacement before the tech even gets out there. In other words, in my company, if somebody calls in to book a service call on an old system, we automatically have our CSRs send a video I produced where I talk to the homeowner about the top five reasons they should consider replacing an old system. It’s not sales-y. It’s not pushy. It’s just educational.

Next time we’ll cover the details of this replace vs. repair video.