I know, I know, I know: You’re a little (or a whole lot) sick of talking about coronavirus. But here’s the deal, home services friends: We’ve got a long way to go with this thing, and I don’t want your business to merely survive this season; I want you to have the best year ever. So, just like your mom’s aunt’s sister’s husband who loves to dole out unsolicited advice over Sunday dinner, here I am… ready to drop some well-timed wisdom.

This time, though, it’s not just me yammering at you. Instead, I called up a couple of my clients and asked them to share their best advice with you. These guys are smart and generous, and they’re killing it, despite the global health crisis. Today, I’m going to tell you exactly what they’re doing to stay successful.

First, meet the guys: Russell Furr, owner of Culpepper Home Services has been in the trades since 1999. He’s also semi-famous around town; in 2018, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Culpepper (VA) Chamber of Commerce. (Cue marching band and such.) Russell and his crew are currently “busier than ever.”

Jason Friend has been president of Direct AC (https://directac.com/) for more than a decade. His location? Sunny southern California—where, as you may have heard in the news, they just extended stay-home orders through July, at least. And yet, Jason’s not worried. You’ll learn why soon enough.

Insight #1: Communicate with Your Customers
Interestingly, at the start of the pandemic, Russell and Jason approached their home services customer communication from two different perspectives. Russell chose to “over-communicate,” letting his customers know two things: We’re here, and we’re taking all the precautions.

Jason, on the other hand, let his customers take the lead. Rather than sending an email blast at the start of the pandemic, Jason waited for his customers to reach out to him first—at which point he personalized the customer experience by answering their specific questions.

It’s important to note both Russell’s and Jason’s approaches worked, even though they were quite different. How can that be? Because they know their audience well enough to offer them the exact right level of customer service.
Insight #2: Manage Customer Expectations—and then Exceed Them
Go figure: During a global health crisis, most customers are super-concerned about cleanliness. Both Jason and Russell took those concerns seriously, making all the right commitments to their customers: hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, floor savers, and contactless payment options.

But the truth is every home services company is taking those precautions right now. So what sets Jason and Russell apart? They make a point to ask about and follow through with special asks. For customers who request it, Russell’s team will enter through the door closest to the equipment to be serviced and then call homeowners (from inside the house) to talk through their service request.

Jason has chosen to look beyond just service-call-related requests, instructing his team to offer to pick up groceries for vulnerable customers.

Insight #3: Take Care of Your Team
Incredibly, neither Jason nor Russell has laid off a single tech during the crisis. Although business slowed for a few days when the outbreak first hit Los Angeles, Jason committed to paying his team for 40+ hours that week. “Leadership—your attitude and approach—matters,” he told me. He then shared about a buddy in a similar business who sent everyone home to collect unemployment—and now he can’t get them back to work.

In addition to keeping his crew working, Russell’s engaging with them more. “I always take an interest in their families and what they’re doing,” he shared, “but I’ve been more intentional about doing so, just to gauge how everyone’s doing.”

Insight #4: Be Prepared
I asked both of these guys if they anticipate COVID-19 wil have any long-term effects on their business. Russell’s not worried. In his market at least, “people have a short-term memory.” Plus, he explained, “stuff still breaks,” and because he serves customers directly (as opposed to acting as a contractor for new construction, for example), he’ll always be in demand.

As an HVAC professional, Jason’s story is a little different. During the summer in Los Angeles, “People will cut off their right arm to get their A/C fixed.” So although his crew is busy right now as people gear up for warmer temps, Jason has his eye on the fall. He’s anticipating a decline in service calls because customers will likely push pause on expenses like servicing their heating system. And yet, he’s not worried because he plans every year for a slow season. And although this fall will be tougher than usual, he’s ready for the hit.

Insight #5: Pause, But Don’t Stop, Your Home Services Marketing Efforts
Both Jason and Russell talked about a short period of “Hoollllld up. What’s going to happen here?” At first, Russell decided not to spend anything he didn’t have to—but now he’s back to a growth-mindset and he’s ready to charge forward. The same goes for Jason: He’s developing a referral program and he plans to pour his summer profits into marketing this fall.

Insight #6: Help People
With you, dear readers, in mind, I asked both guys what their #1 piece of advice is for home services shops who are struggling right now. You ready? Their answers are gold—and variations on a theme.

From Russell: Make sure your customers know you’re here for them. From Jason: Help people.

Jason added that the help customers need right now might not look like what you’re expecting. For example, he spent a few weeks installing air purification systems instead of working on air conditioners. But that’s what people were asking for, so he shifted gears and made it happen.

“If you can figure out how to help someone, you’ll always do good. And if you can help enough people, you’ll make money.”

And with that mic drop, I’ll bring this to a close. Listen, I know it’s a tough season for a lot of you right now, and your situations may be dramatically different from Russell’s and Jason’s. But, as Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figureoutable.” If you need help sorting out your home services marketing strategy mid- and post-pandemic, I’d be honored to chat. Schedule some time at https://www.dpmarketing.services/.

Author's Bio: 

Ryan wants your plumbing or HVAC business to grow, and he understands you've wasted a ton of time and money on marketing–with not much to show for it. As the CEO of DP Marketing.Services, he's worked with contractors around the globe to get them more leads, more jobs, and more revenue. Ready to land with the best internet marketing for plumbers and marketing for HVAC company around? We specialize in marketing for HVAC and plumbing company marketing. Learn more at https://www.dpmarketing.services/. Or, get more helpful tips at https://blogs.constantcontact.com/author/rredding/ and https://www.housecallpro.com/learn/home-service-lead-worth/