Winter weather can be full of challenge and opportunity for the propane, heating oil and HVAC industries. Now’s the time to take stock and think about what you did right and where you can improve. Clearly, the goal is to keep your customers happy, attract new business with your great service, and keep your company profitable.
There are many areas to consider, but start by asking yourself these questions:
Did you adequately prepare yourself and your customers for a cold winter?
- Did you pull delivery tickets early to make sure your automatic fills did not run out during or after a cold snap?
- Did you proactively inform your customers that you were thinking ahead, to give them peace of mind and head off any panic when a storm hits?
- Did you reach out to customers to ask them to make a clear path to their tank and, for oil customers, to make sure their fill location is visible when you’re getting snow?
- Did you communicate with your will call customers and encourage them to call for a fill before it’s an emergency?
- Did you send delivery confirmations after each delivery was made to keep your customers informed?
- Had you adequately identified customers who are difficult to reach in inclement weather, so you could deliver them ahead of a storm?
- Did you make use of your website, web portal and social media to keep your customers up to date?
- Were you adequately prepared for any power outages at your office?
Follow-up is always important, and after “tricky” weather it’s even more so. Here are some areas to consider:
- Did you take the opportunity to thank your customers for their business?
- Have you encouraged will call customers to become automatic delivery?
- Did you analyze run-outs to see where you can make adjustments to avoid a repeat scenario?
- Should you consider installing tank monitors on your difficult to predict tanks, giving both you and your customers confidence that run-outs are a thing of the past?
- Should you consider upgrading your web portal to allow more self-service and integration with your back-office to free up your CSRs for important customer support calls?
- Should you rethink some of your office processes to create a more streamlined work flow?
- Should you consider marketing and selling generators to your clients who may have suffered without power during storms?
- Did you think about your budget program? Are there opportunities here?
These are just a few of the areas you can review to help you perform your best during a challenging winter season in the future, and they can also be a helpful for severe weather in all seasons such as hurricanes, flooding and the like.
If you have more ideas, add a comment to share your thoughts with all our readership!