Founded in 2011, Penguin Air & Plumbing provides air conditioning, heating and plumbing services to customers in the metropolitan Phoenix area. Penguin Air & Plumbing has large peaks in phone calls during the air conditioning season throughout the summer months, as well as during the winter heating season - short as it may be in Phoenix.
It is a unique challenge to provide speedy service to the thousands of customers who may call with urgent air conditioner problems on an extremely hot day or frozen pipes on a cold day - not to mention the hundreds or more - routine maintenance requests the company regularly receives.
According to Operations Manager Amanda Machleit, Penguin Air & Plumbing thrives on providing exceptional customer service, not only as a matter of pride, but just to simply survive in the area’s tough competitive environment. “When someone’s air conditioning is not working in the dead of a Phoenix summer, they’re not waiting to receive service. Our response time has to be within minutes - or they’re on to the next company.”
Penguin Air & Plumbing Hits The Reset Button
Penguin Air & Plumbing first hired Answer 1 two years ago to help with overflow calls during business hours and to relieve managers from having to answer service calls during their off-hours. Their job was to quickly and respectfully answer phones, record accurate messages, and immediately get service requests over to Penguin Air & Plumbing’s on-call dispatcher.
With the company straining its finances as it continued to grow, it decided to attempt to save money by switching to a second-tier provider to answer their overflow and after-hours calls. While
everyone at Penguin Air & Plumbing was thrilled with Answer 1’s performance, they felt that they had no choice but to try to get the same level of service using a second-tier company.
After just four months of working with the new answering service, the company realized that it had made a huge mistake and, without a moment’s hesitation, went straight back to Answer 1.
Within just a couple of days, they were back up and running - with many of the same high-level Answer 1 professionals they had worked with before.
A Tough Lesson Learned
Machleit realized pretty quickly that a second-tier answering vendor provides second-tier service, and that’s not what Penguin Air & Plumbing is about. She now admits that her team totally
underestimated why a top-tier, highly professional virtual receptionist operation is so critical to their business, and now she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Quality begets quality,” she says, and “a top-tier HVAC company must work with top-tier providers.” Without an “excellent support vendor like Answer 1,” she says, the company was at “significant risk to damage its sterling reputation” - even from a single unhappy customer.
With the prevalence of social media, the company is especially concerned about potential negative reviews on key sharing sites, like Yelp! “The damage to our brand was immeasurable,” laments Machleit. “We noticed an immediate decline in conversion rates (the number of callers who ultimately request consultations or service) compared to what it had been with Answer 1.”
When she listened in to some of the phone calls and reviewed call activity reports from the sub-standard vendor, she saw an alarming number of long hold times, hang-ups and mishandled calls. And much to her dismay, her complaints to the company were sometimes not acknowledged or rectified to her satisfaction.
A True Partnership
Now, together with Answer 1 for the long haul, Machleit feels like she is working with a true partner. “They view our customers the same way we do - with the same respect, accountability, and
professionalism,” she says. “The transition is so seamless that many customers don’t even realize that they’re not speaking with a company employee.”
“The reasons I decided to return to Answer 1 were simple: professionalism, response time, and customer service. In the long run, I know now how important our answering service is to us; it helps create a whole new level of loyalty and trust with our existing customers. Now, we consider Answer 1 a true part of the Penguin Air & Plumbing family.”