The Value of Face-to-Face Estimates for Residential Customers
Meeting a potential customer can go a long way!
by David Montanaro, Service Manager
The trend of offering estimates over the telephone for residential customers seems to be growing. We always want to meet our potential commercial customer and conduct a system inspection, but when Mr. or Ms. Residential Customer calls we all want to book over the telephone. This is certainly a more cost and time affective way to schedule service for this market, have you asked yourself what you might be losing?
Most residential customers have an emotional attachment to their houses; after all it’s a house to us but a home to them. Taking the time to explain the benefits of a professional duct cleaning service, which includes sanitizing and deodorizing their system, can be the difference between booking the service and losing it to someone that is going to show up with a back-pack vacuum.
There are a few things we can all do to build in the added value of our services and portray a professional appearance:
- Always arrive and greet the customer by name using “Good morning” or “Good afternoon”
- Always ask to enter the home if not invited to do so
- Wear show covers, you will be surprised how many positive comments you will receive Ask permission to walk the house and inspect the registers and be sure to turn on and off all lights and the exhaust vents in the bathrooms
- Inspect each register with a flash light
- Look behind the dryer
- Inspect any ground mounted condensers
- Take notes on the size of the home, number or air handlers and their location
- Make a comment complimenting the home
Now you are ready to sit down and discuss the estimate. This is a good time to have a brief print out of your company’s history, copies of your certificate of training and business license available to show the customer. Verbally offer a brief history of your company and mention any high profile commercial jobs you may have done, this will build instant creditability.
Discuss what you will be doing while cleaning their system. An example would be, “Well Tom first we will clean you air handler inside and out to make sure once the ducts are clean we are not pulling anything back through your system. Many companies skip this step and it is essential.”
Then review that you will clean all of their supplies and returns with professional, commercial grade equipment which includes cleaning all of the registers. Make sure to give the customer time to ask any questions that they may have at this point.
You have reached the moment where you can truly begin to build the value of your service with add-ons. This is the time to discuss the benefits of fogging a sanitizer, deodorizer and Soot Set into the system. I always try to use a statement that the customer can relate to such as, “Not doing this is kind of like brushing your teeth with out toothpaste.” I tend to get a lot of smiles and head nods with that statement. Also, talk about electrostatic filters and do so with authority. Here are some key points to mention:
- Blue cardboard filter capture maybe 5% of all particles 4 microns or larger
- The “good” pleated filter may capture 15%
- Reusable electrostatic filters can capture up to 94% of all particles 4 microns or larger
Time for a strong question, “Wouldn’t you say that is a big difference?” By now the customer should be nodding in agreement. Also mention the long term saving of reusable filters, yes they have a higher initial cost but when you add up how expensive pleated filter can be over two or three years it becomes a no brainer.
With all your costs written down on a professional looking quote sheet you are ready to book your appointment and you may have just added a few hundred dollars to your total while providing a tremendous amount of added value to the customer. Not everyone will want everything, but once you are face-to-face and explaining all the benefits, your chances have gone up quite a bit.
Remember, there is always someone that will perform this service for less, but there is no one that will do it better!