Back in the day, having an HVAC answering service was critical to anyone running a heating and cooling business. There were no cell phones. So unless a contractor had a full-time receptionist in the office, it was either an answering service or voicemail. Today, a lot of contractors simply forward calls to their cell phones.
Forwarding to a cell phone is always an option. No argument there. However, it is an option we cannot recommend. You probably expect us to say that given that we offer HVAC answering services. But there are legitimate reasons above and beyond what we do. Those reasons impact an HVAC contractor’s ability to keep customers happy.
Cell Phones Aren’t Dependable
Despite cell phones being ubiquitous in the 21st century, they aren’t always dependable. You know from your own experience that getting five bars isn’t always a given. Even in the middle of a major city, any number of things can interfere with cell phone reception.
An HVAC contractor might find himself out of range. He might find himself working in a basement or utility room that, for one reason or another, interferes with cell phone reception. Here is the point: cell phones aren’t dependable if you want to be able to answer calls in real time. An HVAC contractor who relies on forwarding calls to a cell phone could be missing out on a ton of business.
Technicians Forget to Check
Forwarding after-hours calls to a tech’s cell phone can be risky business. Techs working after-hours can find themselves swamped with work because they are the only ones on call. And when techs get swamped, it is not hard to forget to check the cell phone.
How many customers are lost because cell phone messages are not checked in a timely manner? There is probably no good way to know that for sure. But even if it’s only a small number, every lost customer represents a lost opportunity to grow the business.
Calls Are Sometimes Ignored
Unfortunately, there is no escaping the fact that sometimes cell phones calls are ignored because HVAC techs don’t want the additional work. An HVAC answering service addresses that problem by answering calls immediately, documenting those calls, and providing accurate times. Contractors can then compare the data against what techs were doing when calls came in.
Call Screening Is More Difficult
Maybe you are an HVAC contractor who works alone. You have no techs helping you out. Well, there is another reason you might want to use an HVAC answering service rather than forwarding calls to your cell phone: the ability to screen incoming calls more effectively.
Not every call you get while on the job constitutes an emergency that needs to be dealt with right away. In the middle of an important job, you can send your calls to the answering service for screening. That way, you are not interrupted by things you can deal with more effectively later on.
It’s Just a Better Way
An HVAC company with a full-time office staff can handle incoming calls without much issue. In such a case, an HVAC answering service would probably be necessary only after hours. But for an individual contractor who works alone, having an answering service 24/7 is just a better way.
An answering service becomes the contractor’s receptionist. And the best services, like Apello, do more than just answer the phone and take messages. They become the contractor’s partner to ensure all calls are answered in a timely manner and the information is passed on to the contractor. That is the way to handle incoming calls.