In the field service industry, HVAC in particular, service providers are all too familiar with the shoulder season. In fact, many plan and track their sales cycles around these typically slow times of year.
So, when exactly is the “shoulder season” in field service?
Taking a nod from the travel industry, the field service professionals define shoulder seasons as the times of year when temperatures fall between 45 and 65 degrees – usually during spring and fall months. Because temperatures remain fairly moderate during these seasons, there isn’t as much need for heating and cooling systems – typically resulting in a decreased use, service, and ultimately business for field service teams.
While many service providers plan ahead, hoping to make up for slow service seasons during peak summer and winter months, there are several steps field service providers can take to increase sales and revenue during shoulder seasons.
3 Tips to Increase Business & Sales During Shoulder Seasons
1. Proactively identify and document opportunities for additional service
During busy seasons, incorporating additional steps into your technicians’ on the job work procedures can help your team identify and schedule follow up services that can be performed during shoulder seasons. Focusing on scheduling and verifying these additional services while business is thriving can help your Sales teams increase revenue leading into months when demand is typically low.
- Focus on selling and scheduling preventative maintenance plans
It’s no secret that well maintained equipment operates more smoothly and efficiently, lasts longer, and often requires less surprise repairs. In fact, research shows that regular HVAC maintenance can reduce the risk of costly repairs by 95%. During peak seasons, scheduling preventive maintenance visits with clients is a great way to generate and guarantee business and revenue for your team during shoulder seasons, while also helping your customers avoid potentially costly repairs.
- Streamline communication amongst technicians and Sales teams
When performing a specific repair on a job, identifying, documenting, and efficiently communicating additional work opportunities with Sales may not always be top of mind for the on site technician. To help ensure these new sales opportunities are logged and effectively executed, consider adding this as a required and regular practice for technicians on the job.
Modern technology solutions like the XOi Vision app can easily facilitate this process by allowing service providers to add a simple yes/no step to a job workflow to identify potential sales opportunities. For example, a step may be added to a given workflow in Vision that asks “Is this unit a candidate for a refrigerant retrofit, conversion, or replacement?” If the technician answers yes, the app can automatically notify the Sales team, allowing them to plan to have conversations about this additional work during the shoulder season.
- Visually document signs of equipment wear and tear
Requiring technicians to capture on the job photos and videos is the best way to improve transparency with your office and customers – especially when working on complex equipment in hard to reach spaces. When capturing these photos and videos within Vision, we suggest tagging any specific signs of wear and tear that may be present on a specific unit. These photos and videos can be valuable sources of visual proof for Sales teams when verifying additional service opportunities.
For example, during seasons when we make the shift from cooling to heating, consider adding a workflow step to your common on the job procedures that asks the technician to photograph any signs of rust on heating elements and exchangers. These images can be helpful tools to Sales teams when recommending additional service during shoulder seasons.
2. Plan ahead to hire and training seasonal staff before peak seasons
In HVAC, business owners can guarantee that business and sales will pick up in the summer and winter seasons as dormant units kick back on and customers increase usage. In response, many service owners plan to add on additional technicians to help support this increased demand. With new staff coming on during peak seasons, many service providers face the added challenge of recruiting, training, and supporting increased headcounts.
To help your team grow and scale efficiently, while also ensuring a high level of quality and customer service, many service providers are turning to modern technology solutions that can help streamline and standardize on the job procedures and work documentation, while also improving technician training, support, and troubleshooting.
“In my previous role as a service foreman over a decent size crew, everyone was out doing their own role and job habits without XOi. Once implemented, the foreman and upper management gained a lot of insight into what our technicians were doing, quoting, troubleshooting, skill sets, etc., and we were able to standardize things into a more constant format for customers.”
Chad Hollmeyer, Owner/President, Hollmeyer
3. Focus on customer service and market differentiation
Research has shown that if a company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will continue to do business with that company – even after a mistake. In retrospect, a reported 80% of consumers would consider switching to a company’s competitor following a bad service experience.
During peak seasons, finding ways to differentiate your service and improve your overall customer experience can help boost business during shoulder seasons. For service providers looking to increase trust and satisfaction amongst customers, we recommend utilizing technologies that can help customers better understand, view, and verify the services a technician may perform or recommend, while also expediting the time it takes to complete a given job.
“It’s a difference maker. It’s a reason companies choose us over others.”
Danny Koontz, Director of Relationship Management, Windy City Equipment
In any industry, we understand that sales and business can be expected to ebb and flow in response to shifts in demand. As fall approaches and temperatures cool off, implementing proactive measures to help ensure and generate consistent business during commonly slow times of year can help your service team thrive as we move into the shoulder season.