How Your Customer Service Will Make or Break Your Solar Business
If you want to attract more solar leads, you need to start by showing them it’s a no brainer to work with you. Right out of the gate.
See, in the current era your reputation is the same as your business. Companies who put in the effort to give outstanding customer service are hard to find and there are only a few big ones, like Chick-fil-A, Publix, and Chewy.
Solar is still a growing industry, but eventually it’ll become saturated. And when it does, the biggest differentiating factor in consumer decision making will become the quality of customer service.
Honestly this is probably the single most important reason why I’ve seen so much success with Better Earth. I go out of my way to make every exclusive solar lead’s interaction with us as positive and beneficial as possible, to the point that it becomes unreasonable.
So if you want to beat your competition to the punch, you should have two main focuses: speed of service and quality of service. That way, in 10 years when you ask a customer “Which company is the ‘Chewy’ of solar?”, they’ll immediately think of your brand.
Below I’m going to list out seven of the core tenets of my customer service philosophy. If you’re serious about building a 7-8 figure solar business that draws in thousands of daily solar leads like a magnet, then burn these into your brain:
1. Avoid Mediocre Customer Service Like The Plague
Why is just average, or even bad, customer service so common?
Because it’s extremely difficult to find people who are completely committed to their craft. These days – especially in solar right now – companies care more about increasing sales than giving their customers a positive experience. The irony here is they fail to see that the two are connected.
Great customer service starts with great recruiting. You need to find A-players who believe in your product and brand, take personal ownership of company success, and can relate with your mission and vision.
Mediocre customer service starts with mediocre recruiting and mediocre training. Simply put, you can’t make someone who hates their job care about giving your solar leads a positive experience.
Plus, average customer service will eventually be replaced with automation anyway. No one likes automated customer service. How often do you wait through a long automated dial menu on the phone until you hear “Dial 0 to speak to a live representative”?
A robot can replace average or bad customer service. But it can’t replace amazing customer service that provides a positive and memorable experience to your customer. For that, you need positive and memorable people.
2. Great Customer Service Starts with YOU
Even if you have a team of nothing but A-players, it’s up to you and your executive leadership to set the tone and keep it high so it gets passed on to your solar leads.
Negativity coming from the top only multiplies as it trickles down. It grows and rots and molds over at the lower levels. And that goes double for customer service departments. That’s why they’re such common breeding grounds for negativity. Even the slightest trend in a negative direction can influence a company’s culture.
Don’t let this happen to your solar company. Take control of the narrative from the top levels of leadership. Start every day with positivity, motivation, and high expectations. Inspire greatness in your teams and cut out sources of negativity as quickly as possible.
Believe me, there’s just no point in buying from solar lead providers or marketing your brand if your customer service ignores or mistreats customers who respond.
3. In Great Customer Service, Everything is Urgent
Every time I look around the industry, it seems like more and more customers are complaining about solar companies that take forever to respond. Or worse, completely ghost them.
So before you even look at the substance of actually handling customer service requests, you’ve gotta consider the time that it takes to do so. Your responsiveness will form a solar lead’s opinion just as much as the actual resolution.
This means your training process should be extensive so that once an agent is actually talking to customers, they know what they’re doing so they can do it fast. If you have someone handling the social media marketing for your solar business, make sure they know the rules of the engagement so they can reply to comments ASAP.
If you’re doing hands-on training, be sure to let the customer know. This way, they’ll be a little more understanding and may even appreciate being a part of the process.
In an ideal world, customers who spent $10 and customers who spent $1 million should be treated with the same level of urgency by your customer service team.
4. In Great Customer Service, Information is Consistent
Another common pain point I see among customers is inconsistent information when handling a request.
Someone says one thing, and you say another. Your website says one thing, but your customer service rep says another.
This’ll just confuse your exclusive solar leads and cause them to lose trust in the integrity of your marketing and brand as a whole.
If you see this happening in your business, understand that it’s usually due to poor internal communication (and yes, training).
As an example, let’s say you’re running a promotion. You should NEVER go live with a promotion before your customer service team is fully informed about all the terms and conditions of the deal.
Everyone needs to be on the same page – from top to bottom. This prevents confusion, minimizes redundancy, and streamlines the solar lead’s experience as a whole.
5. Great Customer Service Adapts to Each Customer
Let’s face it – if we could all take a cookie-cutter approach to customer service and be successful, we would. But the reality is that cookie-cutter customer service doesn’t create an excellent customer experience.
Going back to the two customers I mentioned earlier – the one who spent $10 and the one who spent $1 million – they just aren’t the same.
Of course, they’re both important. But the reality is that as you go up the food chain, customer expectations are different. As they should be!
So you need to have a protocol for how to differentiate between customer service for your average and your very top-level, highest-paying customers.
I’m not saying it’s okay to give lower quality customer service to lower-paying customers or solar leads. But you should be aware that higher-paying customers will have stricter expectations of the service they receive.
For you, that means focusing more on their unique personal needs. If there’s one way to make an impression on a customer, it’s through personalized service.
6. Great Customer Service Means Great Manners
There are some very practical elements to great customer service that have stood the test of time for a reason. But they often seem to get ignored in the face of increased sales and optimization.
For starters, don’t interrupt. Be an active listener. Give room for silence before you start speaking or responding. You want your solar lead to feel comfortable sharing any and all concerns with you. If they get the impression that you’re getting impatient or tense, they’ll decide some information doesn’t need to be shared.
Be present with your customer. Don’t be distracted by your emails, texts, or calls. Science has proven that multitasking lowers your efficacy on whatever you’re working on. And if you play this game with your exclusive solar leads, it’ll show when they decide to work with a company that focuses on them more.
Address people as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Ma’am, & Sir. For this one, be very careful straying from it, especially in a first interaction. Wait for them to correct you and tell you how they would like to be addressed, but use these as default. Also, be sure to say thank you – you really can’t thank customers enough.
Last but not least, fully acknowledge the needs of your solar leads. Before moving into offering solutions to a problem, provide an acknowledgement statement. Something like, “Thank you for letting me know, and I agree”, “I hear you”, or my personal favorite “We really appreciate the feedback – that’s how we get better”. These can go a long way in showing the customer your sincerity.
7. Great Customer Service is a Form of Sales
At the end of the day, your customer service team is an extension of your sales department. And the quality of your customer service is your key to standing out in the marketplace.
Remember, customers don’t just want your solar panels. They want an experience. And if you want to get the most bang for your buck out of your solar lead providers, you’ve gotta give them one.
What a lot of people fail to realize is that solar is a service industry. It doesn’t matter if you do the best damn solar installations in town. If your process of getting the panels on their roof is clunky, haphazard, and tedious – you’re probably never going to get to the install with them in the first place.
Good is not good enough. You’ve gotta exceed customer expectations. Make every customer feel like they are your only customer. Deliver at every stage of a sale: before, during, and after the close.
Ultimately, this is the attitude that drives customer retention and referrals while reducing churn. Not having the best sales team in the world… but being so unreasonably helpful for every exclusive solar lead that objectively, they’d have to be an idiot not to work with you. Zain Jan