This 2-part blog series shines some light on what we’ve come to know as the “Amazon Effect.”
It seems like every day there’s a new industry the online retail giant is taking over; there’s not much you can’t find on Amazon. From clothes and books and food, to far crazier things like 1,500 live ladybugs or even an entire prefabricated home — it was only a matter of time before HVAC-related services began popping up there as well.
We think it’ll still be a while before Amazon takes the lead in the field services industry, but this doesn’t change the fact that they’ve changed the game for customer expectations in every industry. Part 1 of this series will introduce you to the Amazon Effect and how it’s impacting the way contractors service their customers, while Part 2 will provide you with actionable steps to take advantage of these new standards and set your business apart in the process.
Part 1: The Amazon Effect and What the Heck It’s Got to Do With HVAC
“Alexa, Explain the Amazon Effect”
Investopedia describes the Amazon Effect as “the impact created by the online…marketplace on the traditional brick and mortar business model due to the change in shopping patterns, customer expectations and a new competitive landscape.”
And not only has Amazon set the bar for the ultimate online shopping experience, but they’ve also changed the game for behavioral expectations — which is exactly what this has to do with HVAC.
So, here’s the deal: Customers are now demanding more out of every consumer experience they have. No longer is it just a seamless online transaction they expect to take place, but they’re looking for the same level of service in the actual services they’re receiving as well. And due to the expense involved, as well as the fact that most consumers don’t understand the ins and outs of HVAC, the standards and expectations are actually even higher.
Introducing the Information-Age Customer
The information age and modern-day shopping are driven by an internet search engine that makes yesterday’s Yellow Pages obsolete. When search results instantly produce a listing of HVAC repair services, customers can filter the list through online neighborhood communities and the Better Business Bureau.
And that’s just the beginning. If information is power, today’s customer is more powerful than ever. The service industry is no longer protected by an umbrella of trade secrets and dissatisfied customers no one has heard about.
Customers have easy access to professional credentials and for proof of good (or bad!) service. They got accustomed to that power with online shopping, and now they expect offline businesses to operate at the same level of efficiency, transparency, and exceptional customer service.
Time to Step Up Your Game
The field service industry has a ways to go before becoming fully digitized, seeing as many contractors still operate on pen and paper, and photo and video are a far cry from the half-assed notes going into service reports. However, most everyone’s already got a high-definition camera and communication tool right in their back pocket that’s not seeing nearly the action it could (and should).
If technicians can effectively leverage the tools they have available to them right at their fingertips, they can make significant strides in tending to their customers. In this day and age, customers want to be shown, not told what’s going on with the assets they’ve already sunk so much money into. They want their service to be fast and done right the first time, and they want to know they can trust the people they’re paying to do it.
In Part 2, we’ll take you through steps for delivering on these standards and how they can make the difference in differentiating your business and creating customers for life.