The heating season is almost finished, and installation work will slow down for many heating companies. This time of year is when we start looking at our business and wishing we had more service work in the warmer months. This month’s Boiler Business column will discuss ‘service plan’ customers, what they want, and how to package your own service plans to build recurring revenue.

Service customers – what do they want?

Do your customers want to keep costs down as much as possible, or do they want all the help and support you can offer? Do these customers have elderly parents who need additional support or care? Are they landlords or estate agents with legal responsibilities? Or do they want the basics to meet regulations and the manufacturer’s instructions? 

Here’s a bombshell – your customers do not want a boiler service! Your customers want warmth, a cosy home, hot water to clean themselves, and to feel confident that this ‘happiness’ will continue.

Learning how to tap into people’s emotions via SMS and email, along with professionally laid out design, images, and video, will separate you from that plumber at the bottom of the road who can service the boiler for cash on his way home.

Customers want to feel confident that their home is safe and that they are saving money through efficient fuel usage. Customers want the certainty that somebody will help them if needed, and want to trust the company/person who will be in their home to provide all the above.

You should communicate that the boiler service is only one part of an overall service plan that will offer your customers many of the benefits they care about, such as safety and energy-saving tests.

What is your service plan?

Before diving into the differences between a boiler service and service plan A, B, and C, take a few minutes to think of how you can ‘brand’ your plans, to give an indication that each level provides more value than the previous one.

Avoid using any words that could be seen to lower the value of your plans. Nobody wants ‘standard’ or ‘bronze’ service. 

By demonstrating that the boiler service is the ‘basic’, first-level inspection, you will be able to layer more ‘value’ onto your service plans, charge accordingly, and get more people signed up to your service plans.

Potential naming examples could include:

  • Standard Boiler Safety Service
  • Cosy Home – Service Plan
  • Cosy Home – Plus Plan.

What will you include in each level?

While it should include some extra bells and whistles to make it attractive, your first level service plan should remain affordable for your customers and profitable for your business. It should also give you space to make your other options equally attractive with other extras.

For instance, your first-level plan may be inspection-only and not include serviceable parts and chemicals. While your next level plan includes all serviceable parts and chemicals, if needed. 

Other points worth considering include: if you serve a lot of customers with older boilers out of warranty/guarantee, should you introduce a service and repair plan? If so, what conditions will you attach to that plan? Will you inspect the boiler and system before signing the customer up? What timeframe will you work to when parts have to be ordered?

What are the limits to each plan?

Anybody with a few years’ experience will have heard customers’ misunderstandings about the boiler service they had from your heating company at some point. You know, “the magnetic filter has been leaking for 13 months since you serviced it last,” and “my bedroom radiator is now leaking, is it connected to the boiler service?”

To save you major hassle in the future, provide a clear and simple list of what your service plan includes and excludes. What are the limits? What will you check, test, fix, and call-out to, and at what times? Is it clear that your service plan includes/excludes evenings and weekends? 

Next month’s column will continue the discussion on service plans.