For years, field service has largely been a reactive business, driven by calls for installations, repairs and replacements — with a simple ad in the Yellow Pages driving it all. That was then.  A thriving regional service or HVAC business today requires proactive, hands-on, online marketing tactics to reach the right customers at the right time with what they need.  Think of it as a new way to let your fingers do the walking.

Take Service Coach blogger Dave Widger’s insights as a quick example.  Widger suggests a few easy-to-use tools that can help fleet and service managers fine-tune their operations to the demographics of their customer base and region. It’s a given, for instance, that Floridians are going to be hurting if their AC fails during 98-degree, 100-percent humidity summers. And New Yorkers might have a few choice words for an HVAC repairman who can’t fix their radiators after the first big snow of the year. Weather and geography related issues might be easy to detect but a few easy-to-use tools will help field service technicians dig deeper into just what kind of people they’re calling their customers. Here are a few online tools at everyone’s fingertips that can help put a dent in the bottom line:

  1. Yahoo Clues — Similar in some ways to Google Trends, you can track and map relevant keywords. The difference here is that Yahoo Clues pulls in gender, income, and regional data.  It’s a deeper cut of the data that might reveal some trends you weren’t aware of, even in your own backyard.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau — You can use this after you’ve spotted something interesting via Yahoo Clues. As Widger notes, “if you already know which demographic you are going after, the Census [site] allows you to figure out which locations are best to focus on.”
  3. — the next stop. The site gets more in the weeds with regional data. Adds Widger: It’s “similar to Census but focuses more on the city level.  This would be helpful for those of you that know your age demographic, but are looking for the best locations to target.”

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.