Solar panels are contagious.
The value of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing have always been considered common sense in the solar industry, but there is now scientific proof to back it up. In a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzing solar panel adoption in Fresno, California, researchers found that the strongest indicator of whether or not a house would have a rooftop solar installation was how many other nearby houses had them. No economic factor could match the “contagion” factor.
The study cements something solar sales organizations have known for a long time — referrals from satisfied neighbors are the ideal source of new business. Referred leads come in already interested at a minimum, offer a head start on trust-building, and cost a lot less than any other acquisition channel. But getting those all-important referrals depends on one thing — satisfied customers. So, how can solar sales companies ensure that each customer walks away not only happy, but also primed to be a brand evangelist that will help funnel in new business from the neighbors?
1) Manage Expectations
One of the most important steps in ensuring a successful outcome and a happy customer is to manage expectations, both early on and throughout the installation process. If customers have unrealistic expectations of any of the key drivers behind a sale — the impact on their bill, the payoff period, the environmental impact, or anything else — disappointment becomes a very real possibility. It can feel counterintuitive to temper expectations early, especially during the sales process, because of what a large and intimidating purchase a solar system can be for buyers. But, it’s important to never oversell, because the sale process ending early is actually a better long-term outcome than inking a deal that results in an unhappy customer.
2) Clearly Define the Full Spectrum of Solar Benefits
While lowered electricity costs are the largest driver behind solar adoption, solar promoters — the customers most likely to provide referrals — are also highly driven by a variety of non-financial factors, like solar’s impact on the environment, early adoption of exciting new technologies, and setting a positive example. These non-economic factors represent an opportunity for solar sales companies to boost customer satisfaction by driving home the entire spectrum of benefits solar power has to offer instead of just the money side of the equation. Solar power is great for the pocketbook, but helping customers feel good about what their installations do for the world is a great way to boost both satisfaction and the chances of getting a referral.
3) Lean on Referral Customers
Customers acquired by referrals are more likely to be happy with their installations than customers acquired by outbound marketing methods, making referrals a kind of self-propelling marketing machine. Customers who approach a solar company are more likely to have educated themselves on key areas like price, benefits of the technology, equipment options, and more. That education helps ensure customers know what they’re getting into and have strong motivation, both of which lead to higher satisfaction. Referral leads are also more likely to be ready to adopt right away, making them far easier sales than outbound leads that may still be early in the consideration phase.
Managing expectations, clearly defining non-economic benefits, and building a strong referral base are all great ways to ensure happy customers and, in turn, more referrals. Another powerful way to maximize customer satisfaction is to ensure the sales and installation process are both as smooth and stress-free as possible for the buyer, and there is no better tool to help do that than a solar customer resource management (CRM) system.
CRMDialer is the solar industry’s top CRM, offering solar sales companies a complete suite of tools designed to streamline and enhance all areas of solar sales, from prospecting, to the sales process itself, to scheduling and installation, to ongoing service and support, and more.
To find out more about how CRMDialer can improve your solar company’s customer-facing operations, get in touch with a member of the team or start your free trial of CRMDialer today.