All through my profession in photo voltaic, I’ve spoken with 1000’s of photo voltaic householders. Actually, after I was first doing market analysis for my very own firm, I spoke with a slew of shoppers from Lighthouse Photo voltaic, a number one photo voltaic installer in central Texas, who had gone photo voltaic years in the past. I used to be curious to see how their relationship with the business had modified since they put in their programs. Their responses had been illuminating and invariably went one thing like this:
“Oh yeah! Lighthouse. They’re an ideal firm. I’ve had my system for like 10 years. Ought to I clear them? What about these batteries I hold listening to about?”
It was eye-opening. Right here had been joyful clients — and potential repeat consumers — who had clearly by no means been engaged post-install. That they had questions on their photo voltaic that might have resulted in additional income for Lighthouse, however as a result of nobody had reached out to them, their curiosity and cash languished on the vine.
This can be a frequent phenomenon. The photo voltaic business has grown, and the excellent news is that buyers have grown alongside, turning into much more invested within the concept of electrification. The dangerous information is that almost all photo voltaic installers nonetheless take a really transactional strategy to photo voltaic clients and aren’t prioritizing post-install outreach to those clients.
10 years in the past, this mannequin of buyer communication would have made sense. The householders that purchased photo voltaic had been early adopters who had been already taking a leap by investing in a PV system. There was little worth in photo voltaic installers following up with these clients as a result of there was not a lot available in the market for them to purchase once more.
Nonetheless, the market has modified. Whether or not they have an electrical car or wish to broaden their system to go net-zero, increasingly more consumers have gotten what I name “New Power Customers.” These new vitality shoppers have new expectations for his or her vitality. They count on and pays for extra data, extra consciousness, and extra management. And photo voltaic usually serves as a gateway to a wide range of different inexperienced vitality merchandise, from batteries to warmth pumps and past. And each day there might be extra new vitality shoppers than the final.
Due to this fact, trying past the preliminary set up is a technique with enormous alternatives that any photo voltaic companies can capitalize on — however most don’t. Sadly, many photo voltaic installers are so targeted on the short-term sale that they neglect their clients long-term. As a result of inside bandwidth constraints, a photo voltaic firm’s communications usually drops off post-install and turns into purely transactional. Previous to PTO, gross sales and undertaking staff members interact clients. After undertaking completion, most communications get decreased right down to service alerts despatched by their inverter.
Consequently, even when clients need to be repeat consumers, they usually overlook their installer’s identify or don’t know what else the installer affords product-wise. Both manner, the photo voltaic set up enterprise is leaving cash on the desk.
Luckily, leveraging post-install enterprise alternatives doesn’t need to be sophisticated. Beneath are three ideas that can assist you construct a technique that can enhance your lifetime buyer worth and construct loyalty amongst a brand new technology of photo voltaic clients. That manner, your photo voltaic enterprise can harness the true worth of the brand new vitality client.
1. Enhance post-install gross sales and advertising efforts
Everyone knows that buyer acquisition prices in photo voltaic are extremely excessive — so why wouldn’t you profit from the purchasers you have already got in terms of your gross sales and advertising efforts?
Inc discovered that, on common, present clients spend 67% more than those who’re new to what you are promoting. For the photo voltaic business particularly, Sunrun estimates that the lifetime worth (LTV) of a photo voltaic buyer can really be twice that of the preliminary sale. It doesn’t matter what statistic you’re , there’s no denying that follow-on services can assist seize further worth out of your buyer base and enhance their LTV.
Even higher, these services can assist you to develop your income with out further prospecting work out of your gross sales staff. As a substitute, each your gross sales and advertising departments can concentrate on deepening an already present buyer relationship. Not solely is that this shift in technique more likely to web what you are promoting extra income, however it additionally helps worker retention efforts. In spite of everything, your staff has already constructed up model loyalty and belief with these clients. Working with these householders once more goes to really feel simpler and extra rewarding for everybody concerned.
Nonetheless, with the intention to successfully mobilize your gross sales and advertising groups to go after post-install alternatives, it’s important to make certain that there aren’t hidden boundaries. Too usually, customary photo voltaic enterprise practices unintentionally penalize these groups from returning or remarketing to your present buyer base. For instance, do your gross sales quotas stipulate new clients? In that case, take into account including in or broadening to a basic variety of booked worth. On the advertising aspect, does your staff know how one can message your different services? If not, take into account a joint sales-marketing assembly to get them in control. These small tweaks can empower your groups to go after post-install alternatives and enhance your buyer LTV.
2. Construct up your service division
When in comparison with different groups, the service division in a photo voltaic enterprise is often much less mature and no less than a little bit underfunded. That’s as a result of service is often considered as a price middle, the place energetic monitoring and different service duties are thought-about a hedge in opposition to legal responsibility.
Nonetheless, it’s time for a paradigm shift. With a view to start to alter this division right into a income and five-star critiques, photo voltaic companies want to maneuver from reactive to proactive service. As a substitute of simply responding to points inside your fleet, think about your service division being the stewards of the shopper expertise post-install. This might contain sharing constructive alerts on excessive manufacturing days, conserving clients abreast of latest photo voltaic insurance policies, and even sending personalised set up anniversary messages.
In time, I anticipate that service departments are additionally going to evolve to be much more hands-on with their buyer assist. As extra shoppers get photo voltaic, and these photo voltaic programs age, householders are going to begin searching for focused service plans for his or her panels with the intention to get the complete worth of their funding. This sort of service mannequin is one thing that almost all shoppers are already aware of. Householders have a pool man and an A/C man. Lots of your clients may even need and pay for a photo voltaic man to maintain their photo voltaic system operating optimally.
With a view to really profit from post-install enterprise alternatives, take into account including on annual or biannual panel cleansing providers to your service staff’s roster of actions. These cleansing charges could really feel small, however it’s recurring income that what you are promoting can financial institution on. Moreover, as your photo voltaic enterprise succeeds, the scale of your fleet may even improve and compound, permitting you to additional develop your earnings. A service plan also can result in a better variety of referrals, as your householders develop into used to usually interacting with what you are promoting.
3. Use information and software program to empower your groups
With a view to understand the advertising, gross sales, and repair alternatives I outlined above, it’s vital to leverage monitoring information. Monitoring information provides what you are promoting quantitative perception into your clients’ consumption patterns. Used successfully, monitoring information can assist you develop advertising and gross sales initiatives which are catered to the precise wants your clients are dealing with, in addition to time service outreach. For instance, by peak utilization information, you possibly can higher promote batteries, and load-shifting applied sciences. In the identical vein, by manufacturing information, you possibly can time service plan promotions to pollen season.
The best software program can assist you by making monitoring information actionable. Search for buyer expertise platforms that help you automate communications based mostly on high-production days or different particular indicators from monitoring information. Your software program must also give you the chance that can assist you tackle frequent service points. As a substitute of manually monitoring panel efficiency, the best software program can robotically detect underperforming programs and ship out proactive messages in regards to the dip in manufacturing. Over the long run, these softwares pays for themselves and help you concentrate on the upper worth actions like your panel cleansing providers.
Scott Nguyen is a PhD Physicist who’s now targeted on the residential photo voltaic buyer expertise, co-founding Bodhi Solar.
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