Using AI-powered digital messaging can help small businesses better prepare for seasonal periods of high demand.
Small businesses in the home services industries like HVAC, plumbing, and roofing professionals, often experience significant fluctuations in call volume throughout the year due to seasonal factors. AI-powered digital messaging can help these businesses better prepare for periods of high demand and optimize their staffing and resources accordingly.
Seasonality and the HVAC Industry
HVAC businesses typically experience peak call volume during the summer and winter months when homeowners are more likely to use their heating and cooling systems due to fluctuations in the weather. In the summer, air conditioners are running constantly to combat the heat, while in the winter, furnaces and boilers are working hard to keep homes warm. This increased usage leads to more frequent breakdowns and repairs, driving up call volume for HVAC technicians. These calls are often emergencies, with the need to manage indoor temperatures to avoid heat stress and hypothermia.
Seasonality and the Plumbing Industry
Plumbers also experience seasonal fluctuations in call volume, with peak periods typically occurring during the spring and fall. As the weather warms in the spring, thawing pipes and increased water usage from spring cleaning and landscaping can lead to more plumbing problems. In the fall, the cold can cause pipes to freeze and burst. Like with the aforementioned HVAC situations, these problems can quickly become emergencies, with plumbers being called to help manage and mitigate the effects of these pipe problems.
Seasonality and the Roofing Industry
Roofers typically experience their busiest season in the spring and fall when the weather conditions are more favorable for roofing work. In the spring, homeowners are more likely to assess and repair roof damage caused by harsh winter weather. In the fall, roofers are often busy preparing homes for the cold winter months ahead by repairing or replacing damaged roofing materials. Depending on where people are located, they may find themselves calling for emergency repairs from summer storms or significant weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and heavy precipitation.
Strategies to Manage Seasonal Fluctuations in Call Volume
For years businesses have been using multiple strategies to manage the seasonal fluctuations in call volume. Some strategies include:
Companies may adjust staffing levels based on projected call volume. For weather-influenced events, this can be difficult. During peak periods companies may hire temporary workers or bring in overtime to ensure adequate coverage. This requires hiring and training multiple new, often temporary, employees. This option can be expensive and introduces high levels of uncertainty tied to new, temporary, employee performance.
Employees are trained to perform multiple tasks, giving them the ability to handle a wider range of customer needs and reducing the impact of employee absences. This can include having employees who would otherwise be doing repair work or managing operations focused on answering phones. This can hurt employee satisfaction and performance.
Push for Prevention
Some companies may try to encourage their customers to enroll in preventative maintenance programs to identify and address potential problems before they become costly emergencies. Trying to drive changes in consumer behavior by encouraging more proactive repairs during slower times is extremely difficult, and this strategy doesn’t help severe weather-related emergencies.
Offer Self-Service Options to Drive Call Deflection
As AI-powered digital messaging technology has advanced, it has emerged as a helpful option for home services companies looking to manage fluctuating call volume with consistency in service and availability. These chat options can be added to websites, apps, and even Google search results, giving customers a convenient way to get their needs met, even outside of business hours. This option is ideal for emergencies, especially when supplemented with the addition of online scheduling through the chat tool. This requires minimal change to human behavior, meets the customers where they are, makes it easier on them, and reduces the financial and operational burden on the company.
By leveraging AI to drive call deflection during seasonal periods of high call volume, small businesses in the HVAC, plumbing, and roofing industries can better manage fluctuations in demand, optimize their resources, and provide exceptional customer service throughout the year.
To try it out for free, check out XAPP AI for Home Services.
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