It’s no secret that home service contractors have it tough. Between trying to deal with changing customer service preferences and rival businesses undercutting prices, it’s not easy to stay competitive.
As someone with decades of experience in the home services industry, working on both the manufacturer and the contractor sides, and as a founding team member of a tech company focused on customer experience, I’ve been an open ear to hundreds of contractors over the years. I know the problems you face and how to solve them.
Bear with me while we play Freaky Friday for a minute. If roles were reversed, and I was in your shoes as a contractor, here’s my plan of attack. I’d compete on three fronts — customer convenience, technological integration, and recruitment. Let me break it down for you.
Attack 1: Providing Radical Convenience
Let’s face it—consumers aren’t living quite the same lives that they used to. With all of the new technology out there, consumer expectations have changed, and speed and convenience are the name of the game. Nowadays, contractors who make it easy to do business with customers will win the job. There are a few hard facts to keep in mind if you want to keep up with customers:
● Consumers are more concerned about the quality of their experience than the price.
● Consumers are used to radical convenience from online commerce giants like Amazon and having the ability to track purchases and groceries and pizza to their front doors in real-time.
● Consumers seek instant gratification and need you to be there when they need you.
So, what do you need to do?
Reinvent your customer service experience.
Provide easy, convenient scheduling and contact options that allow your customers to communicate with your business how and when they want. This is crucial because, at the end of the day, if you don’t provide the experience that your customer wants, someone else will. It can be easy to think that when offering this level of customer experience, you may lose control. Yet, it is on the contrary! By configuring your website to qualify and schedule appointments, you’ll be able to mimic your top-performing CSR.
Look for new ways to exceed expectations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of digital technologies. More customers are more willing to turn to tech. Plus, many people are still reluctant to allow anyone in their homes due to COVID-19, so if you were able to have a third-party technician remotely view and diagnose issues through a virtual visit, it would be a game-changer. For example, there is no better time for remote service support than after hours. Contractors can use the services to screen out minor problems remotely. Homeowners save time, and on-call techs can stay at home. In other words, it’s a win-win!
Attack 2: Leverage Technology to Reorganizing Roles
Part of the reason you’re swamped is that you don’t have time to deal with the many responsibilities that come with running a contracting business. Meanwhile, you have CSRs sitting in call centers, unable to stay above water during the ebbs and flows of the seasons. They’re doing monotonous work and too much of it.
If you can relieve some of that burden, you’ll be better equipped to serve your customers the right way. So, what do you need to do?
Leverage technology to perform and eliminate monotonous tasks. Advances in technology have provided opportunities to automate some of your CSRs’ more monotonous tasks. Technology can be integrated to handle scheduling, booking, customer communications, and more.
Reposition your existing team members.
With technology taking on some of their load, your existing CSRs can be moved into more thought-based roles, where they can prioritize higher-value interactions. This reorganization will give your employees more time to be proactive on the job and follow up on open quotes.
And I promise this will be great for business and your team! A client of ours in Pennsylvania said:
“Wow, this is amazing! I don’t want to turn my existing employees into robots answering the phone, but into more managerial roles.”
They pushed more of their business through online channels, which empowered them to convert their CSR employees into channel managers to oversee appointment flows—a more fulfilling job and better use of skilled work.
Attack 3: Reimagining Recruitment
Recruitment is consistently one of the biggest challenges in the home services industry. The fact of the matter is, there is too much work and not enough skilled labor.
The only way to reconcile that is to produce more skilled labor. So, how can you capture talent?
Modernize your brand.
Nowadays, prospective employees favor businesses that are perceived positively. The best way to attract and capture this younger generation of technicians is to build a brand that personifies convenience, great customer experience, cutting-edge technology use, healthy social media presence, fulfilling career opportunities, and more.
Show prospective employees what experience your company can provide.
The new generation of talent wants to work for businesses where they can get behind the mission and be treated the way that they think they should. It’s no longer just about salary—it’s about the experience.
Ray Clark is the Head of Sales at Schedule Engine.
Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.