The Five F’s of Customer Fulfillment for Solar Installers

By September 17, 2019 No Comments

At SolaTrim, we realize that one of the most important elements of solar adoption is the strength and professionalism of the national solar installer ecosystem. We are dedicated to making sure solar panel installers succeed and we want them to have their moment in the sun. What follows is some guidance we hope might help enhance the homeowner experience.

Realtors say everything comes down to location, location, location. In the world of rooftop solar system installation, it’s more likely reputation, reputation, reputation.

Your reputation as a reliable contractor is a great way to earn new leads and repeat business. Your reputation as a valued employer means you can attract the kind of team members that apply their personal touch to enhance your company’s brand with little supervision or worry on your part.

Here are five pillars for helping to ensure your customer is fulfilled and more likely to refer you to others. As you’re already aware, word-of-mouth referrals can help “pre-sell” you to prospective customers and reduce your need for bidding on jobs that can yield lower margins.

1. Follow-up

When that lead comes in, how long, on average does it take you to respond? Leads that languish in your email inbox or voice mailbox for even just a few hours, are less likely to convert for every quarter-hour they sit there.

Analysis on over three million leads by Velocify Research indicates that, in general, leads-to-contracts conversion improves dramatically when you respond to a prospect within 60 seconds of expressed interest. The conversion rate drops soon afterward, as the lead grows stale.

Put yourself in the place of that homeowner who has taken the time to send you an email or leave a voicemail. They’ve returned to other priorities in very busy lives. You’ll want to be right on top of their interest, so don’t let a warm lead grow cold. Establish a time metric with your team on responding to leads and stick to it. And this standard works well not only on leads but on responses to trouble tickets, complaints and complicated questions that don’t have an immediate answer.

2. Focused

Researching rooftop solar power solutions can be an overwhelming process for residential consumers. It’s an entirely new world with countless competing ideas, concepts and solutions, and a unique language that often needs translation. It can also be intimidating.

There are technical considerations, as well as financial and tax considerations, with new variations arriving as we speak. Think of you and your sales team as educators, who share the basic ABC’s of solar, always bringing the conversation back to simple concepts. A confused homeowner is a long way from a contract.

Present homeowners with options, but keep them limited to three. Know what you do well and stick to that game (although we’ll talk about flexibility later). By learning to read a customer, like a teacher knowing how a student is progressing, you give less informed homeowners more direction, and let more knowledgeable customers explore advanced ideas.

Think about going down the cereal aisle in your local grocery store, when all you want is a box of cereal. You want to be focused with your offerings because you’ll save the homeowner time and earn the trust that you have figured this out ahead of them.

3. Fanatical about Details

Are you highly-organized, or are you more of a creative deal-maker who enjoys the pursuit of new business. If you are this second type, operationally-minded team members with engineering or project management backgrounds can be helpful. Even someone who ran the line at a local burger joint could be a huge asset when paired with someone who can sell the “sizzle” and bring large amounts of enthusiasm to the room.

For the sake of customer satisfaction and your profit margins, surround yourself with those detail-driven, analytical types who not only catch every loose end, they make sure a plan is in place to put them back on track.

You will often be faced with a question you can’t answer at the moment. Rather than saying “we’ll get back to you on that,” it’s more reassuring to say to the homeowner, “We will have you the complete answer by 3:30 pm today. Is a phone call best, or would you prefer a text?” And then write down that follow-up task as if is an appointment on your calendar.

Business consultant Tom Peters famously said, “When you see a coffee stain on the flip-down tray in an airplane, it makes you wonder if they are equally lax in engine maintenance.”

When you are fanatically precise about your follow-up, the homeowner equates that level of thoroughness with the major work you will be doing up on their roof.

4. Flexible

Flexibility is the flip-side of focus. Sometimes it’s okay to flip-flop, especially when you know the difference. Customers appreciate your willingness to bend on something because they know other things will come up later that will require similar or greater flexibility. Customers do not like it when they are in unfamiliar territory and they are having some product or process forced upon them, with no wiggle room. Solar installation is a dance. Taking the lead means knowing when to slow down or speed up, depending on the skill and confidence of your partner.

5. Friendly

People like to be around other people who are likable. While a rooftop solar installation may only take two days, with total strangers coming and going, in the neighborhood, on the property, atop the house, the overall relationship with your company will be measured in years.

Team members with solid interpersonal skills can help in dealing with challenging communications situations. You can teach someone how to close a deal or how to install the panels. It’s often more difficult to how to be a good listener, and that could be the difference in deals won and deals lost right there.