These days, with online business review tools like Yelp, customers are more empowered—and critical—than ever before. How will your HVAC company rise above the rest? The answer is excellent customer service. Being able to effectively and efficiently remedy an HVAC issue is, of course, the first priprity. But if it takes three weeks for a technician to fulfill an appointment, or if that technician was rude or unprofessional, that customer is likely not going to call again. It’s essential to not just do the bare minimum, but go above and beyond to make every customer happy.

An initial investment in customer service training will pay off tremendously in the long run when your business is thriving. From the moment customers contact you until the job is done, you can take tangible steps to ensure customers have a good experience with your company.

Immediate Response

The sudden failure of a heating or cooling system during a time of extreme temperatures can leave customers impatient, therefore, quickly responding to a call and sending out a technician as soon as possible is imperative.

Taking the Call: Always have a receptionist in the office answering calls during business hours. After hours, some business owners choose to provide around-the-clock service by forwarding office lines to their mobile phone or to those of their employees. If this is the case, be sure someone is answering the phone at all hours so that your customers’ expectations are met. If you lack the time or money to provide 24-hour service, make sure your answering machine is working properly and that calls are being returned promptly during office hours.

Sending the Tech: Keeping customers waiting for an HVAC technician to arrive can prove very frustrating. Know exactly where your technician is at all times and how long it will take them to reach the customers. If you give the customer a service time window of a few hours, make sure your receptionist or job dispatcher sends the tech there within that time frame. You may want to consider boosting efficiency with GPS tracking software, which can help you determine which technician is closest to the job and how long it will take him or her to get there. The worst that can happen is the technician never shows up at all! Exceed customer expectations by keeping technicians on time.

Technician Communication Skills

Once HVAC technicians are on the premises, it’s important not only that they properly perform the needed services but also that they communicate effectively with customers. Investing in employees by regularly sending them to additional training and testing their skills will ensure they get the job done right the first time, but you may also want to send them to some classes on customer service training. HVAC technicians should have strong communication skills, as they need to be able to explain technical terms concerning the repairs they’re making in a way customers who are unfamiliar with the language of the industry can understand; they also need to have the patience to listen to customers as they try to describe the problem they’re having with their equipment. Finally, being pleasant and respectful in a customer’s home is essential to building trust.

Fast and Efficient Service

An HVAC technician can only work so fast, but some tech tools can help employees provide more efficient service.

Mobile Quoting Software can allow technicians to provide customers with quotes when they spot additional work while on a job, which may make customers more likely to sign off—and save them the time of scheduling the repair later.

Mobile Payments Apps can streamline the billing process and cut down on paperwork.

HVAC Contractor Apps can offer immediate access to customer profiles, inventory levels, and other information an HVAC tech might need while on a service call. Having information readily available saves a customer time, so they’re not waiting hours or days for a task to be completed.

Follow Up with Customers

The job isn’t over ’til it’s over, and even then there’s more you can do. One of the best ways to ensure a customer is satisfied is to follow up with them after the appointment. Sending an email or survey to allow them to communicate about their experience with your company staff and technician—as well as with the quality of the work—will give you the chance to address any concerns or complaints right away, before you read about them online. This also helps customers feel valued and taken care of.

If you want to go one step further, you can keep your company fresh in your customer’s minds by sending out flyers, coupons and holiday cards in the mail. The bottom line is that when a customer is happy, your business is happy. Oftentimes people like to let others know, like on Yelp or social media, how impressed they are with your service—cementing customer loyalty and also encouraging others to pick up the phone and call you, rather than that other guy.