Customer service is a key part of a successful heat pump installation, and even more crucial when retrofitting a heat pump into an existing property. We spoke to experts from IMS Heat Pumps and Enviromental to put together these top tips for customer service before, during, and after the installation. You check out our video interview on the Carbon Coop YouTube channel, or read on for the tips.
- Help customers understand heat pumps. Some people might not know much about heat pumps at all, or have misconceptions about this technology: try to take some time to educate them and share information to help them understand the basics. You might want to share an FAQ sheet or a short explainer video, to save you time. Others already know a lot about heat pumps: they might need specific answers to technical questions.
- Provide your contact information. This could be your email address, phone number, WhatsApp number, or something else. Tell the customer how you like to communicate and find out what they prefer. Agree on a way that works for both of you.
- Set expectations. Be honest with your customers about what they can expect from you and what you can’t or won’t do. Working together with a customer is easier if they know what you will and won’t be doing during the installation. This includes how long it might take for you to respond to an enquiry. Be realistic! If it takes you a couple weeks to reply, that’s okay – just let people know. Put this information in your voicemail message and in automated email replies.
- Send a welcome pack. This could be as simple as an email, or you could create something much more detailed and technical. Whatever you choose, it’s helpful to give customers some written information about their project and your services.
- Get your diary organised. Find a diary system that works for you, so that you know what work you have on. This helps you to be prepared when arriving for on-site work. A good system will save you stress when things are busy, and help you adjust plans when unexpected delays occur.
- Have a briefing meeting. Heat pump installations are a team effort, with the customer, other installers, designers, and tradespeople all involved. Send the heat pump design to everyone working on-site. Hold an in-person briefing meeting with everyone to make sure everyone knows what they need to do.
- Respect the customer’s space. Working on retrofit means that your work might be taking place in a customer’s home, often while they’re living and using the space. Be respectful of their home by letting them know when you’ll be around, keeping your work area tidy, and making sure that your team is aware of any specific needs.
- Be aware of other works taking place. Remember, even though a customer might be a whole week’s work for you, you could be a tiny part in their retrofit and renovation. Try to be understanding, as your customer could be dealing with stresses that aren’t to do with you.
- Communicate quickly and clearly if something doesn’t go to plan. Even with the best preparation, problems can happen and mistakes can be made. By letting the customer know quickly, you reduce the risk of worry and build trust with your customer.
- Fix issues promptly. Sometimes, things go wrong. By returning to fix issues quickly, you build trust with the customer and ensure that they are happy with the end result.
- Give customers time to settle in. When you finish your work on the heat pump installation, your customers may still be in the middle of other parts of their retrofit. Consider leaving customers a week or two to settle in before doing a full handover with them. By giving them time to live with the heat pump, they’ll have more specific questions and you’ll have less repeat call-outs.
- Do a handover. Leaving a manual and hoping the customer will figure it out is a sure-fire way to get call-backs for simple issues. Help the customer to troubleshoot by giving them an overview of how their heat pump and controls work. Explain the settings you’ve programmed and what to do if there’s an error.
- Book in maintenance and annual servicing. Annual maintenance can be required as part of a heat pump’s warranty. When the person who installed a system returns for maintenance and servicing, it can be a smoother process for both the customer and the installer.
For more expert tips, see this video interview and this blog post with Charlotte from IMS Heat Pumps and Duncan from Enviromental. This Energy Systems Catapult guide to talking with customers about heat pumps also has some ideas for effective conversations.