The appliance repair industry faces external competition in ways other small businesses can’t really understand. As per capita disposable income grows (per the trend in the recent decade) Americans return to purchasing new appliances rather than repairing them.
It is therefore absolutely essential to put your own appliance repair business in as good a position as possible to be the appliance repair company that gets the call when something breaks down. Here are some steps you can take:
Know Your Competition
We'll assume you have some local and regional competition that scoops up potential clientele before you even have the chance to reach them. If you want to make yourself a viable option that people can turn to, you must get to know the competition. Ask these questions:
- Who are the top businesses?
- How did you find out about them?
- What price do they charge for their services?
- How do their testimonials look?
- How do your testimonials compare?
- What can you do to differentiate yourself?
Spending a few hours researching your competition online can uncover strategies for gaining a competitive advantage in ways you’d have never otherwise considered. Find all of the places that they are listed and consider getting listed there yourself if it makes sense to do so. If your testimonials or reviews are not as good, then you need to reach out to your existing customers and ask them for some new content. Whatever you find appealing in your competition, there is a good chance that potential customers find it appealing as well.
Provide Excellent Customer Support
Potential clientele are going to be wary to trust you at first. Can you blame them? Upon first meeting, they will ask probing questions to gauge your competence. Treat these situations very seriously because they set the tone for your relationship moving forward.
Assure them of your competence by going over the potential issues that may exist at the root of their problem, explaining these in layman’s terms they will understand. If you can, recall a past client who had a similar issue and explain how you solved their problem. If you have a testimonial from a past client relevant to their case, make sure you share it.
Make Your Brand a Part of Your Identity
This point goes hand in hand with tip #2. Over the course of a service call, there are countless opportunities to win over new loyal customers if you keep in mind that your actions are representative of your brand.
To be frank, people don’t want to think about you or your business often. When appliance problems pop up, customers just want things fixed quickly, cost-effectively, and with minimal effort. People generally don’t want to spend hours researching appliance repair companies every time something breaks. Prove you are reliable on the first service call, and they will likely come back every time. Go the extra mile, and this can almost be assured. From your friendly assessment at the beginning of the service call to the handshake you give upon completing the job, every moment can be the moment that your customer makes the decision, subconscious or not, that you are their “go-to” business for appliance repair. These are the customers that will become the cornerstone of your client base for years to come.
Launch a Strategic Email Blast
Do you see a rise in demand for your services during certain times of the year? Do your competitors seem to run promotional advertisements during the same holiday weekends? Get a handle on the industry-wide busy season and create a strategy to make yourselves especially visible during these periods. If your services are most in-demand in the fall, it might be a good idea to preemptively send out an email blast to your previous customers early on in August. If you can offer some incentive, such as a promotional discount, all the better. A variety of tools help send effective email blasts. Give MailChimp a try.
Acquire Positive Reviews/Testimonials
Keeping a large number of high-quality positive reviews readily available online can have game-changing effects for your business. When deciding whether or not your business provides competent service, a common first step for potential clients will be to seek out testimonials. If you’ve got them, a researching customer will find them online. If you don’t have them, potential customers will be more wary to trust you, at least until you have the opportunity to change their mind with your excellent service. Avoid this uphill climb by covering your bases and soliciting online reviews.
One of the first things you need to do is claim your business on Google. Also, set up your Facebook and/or LinkedIn profile to display reviews. If you don’t use these social media channels, start now, if only to serve as a point of contact for customers to find your business hours, phone number, and of course, testimonials. Have an email ready to send out after a successful repair call and don’t be afraid to solicit a review if your job was completed to satisfaction. A satisfied customer will likely furnish a quick positive review if they feel you’ve done a good job. If you need to ramp up the amount of testimonials you have to display, consider offering a small incentive (such as a promotion or discount) to clients who complete a review.
Use an Appliance Repair Software
A major pain point for many businesses in the industry has to do with effectively scheduling and coordinating your repair technicians in the field. Poorly done, this will drain valuable resources and lead to frustration from your customers. Problems such as double booking technicians and inadequately informing technicians about rescheduled dates or cancellations can lead to larger issues you could have easily avoided. Consider investing in an appliance repair software that will give you the tools to schedule your technicians effectively, communicate with them easily in the field, and prevent wasted time and resources.
Improve your availability
Does your competition offer 24/7 emergency service? Is this essential if you want to compete as a legitimate appliance repair service option in your region? The answer is not necessarily yes, but this and similar questions should be addressed. If your major competitors significantly outperform you when it comes to availability and reliability, you will have a hard time competing.
There are no sure-fire strategies that will work 100% of the time for every appliance repair business. However, the points described above are applicable in a wide range of situations. Taking steps to improve your brand identity can strengthen the quality of your client base. Awareness of the regional competitive landscape in the appliance repair industry will help uncover strategies that you would have never otherwise considered. By taking simple steps, you can turn one successful service call into a loyal customer who will turn to you every time they need your services.