For the home services industry, the customer experience is critical for return business. It’s so critical that 80% of customers say they would switch to a competitor if they have one poor experience. And with a total addressable market of $595 billion, capturing quality leads and retaining happy customers is important for the future of your business. 

Ready to exceed customer expectations, win more business, and improve your overall customer experience? Read on to make sure you include these best practices in your strategy and plan: 

Improve your speed to service

Nearly 80% of U.S. consumers, including homeowners, point to speed as a top contributor to a positive customer experience. And it makes sense that home services expectations would follow the experiences customers are used to with other industries. Two-day shipping, grocery delivery, restaurant food at your doorstep within minutes—our grab-and-go society is interested in speed. 

In order to improve your speed to service, your business needs to first offer speed to your customers—speed to connect, speed to schedule an appointment, speed to communicate information, speed to make a payment, and speed to follow up with any concerns or issues. Consider the following as you evaluate your existing customer journey: 

Add speed to customer search.

Optimize your Google My Business listing and your website so your business shows up quickly as new customers are searching for a home services business like yours. If you can show up quickly (or high in the search results), customers are more likely to connect with you. And 40% of home services consumers who call from an online search go on to make a purchase.

Add speed to initial communication.

More than 50% of home services consumers who make an appointment with a home services business run a search online first. Make it easier to connect with your business and make an appointment, directly from search. Keep your phone number updated for customers who prefer to call, add a textable number for those that prefer to text (90% of consumers prefer to text with a business), and add a web chat option to your website for those customers that want to chat once they’ve visited your website (41% of website visitors expect a web chat option anyway). With an established, convenient (and speedy!) communication option, customers can reconnect throughout their customer journey with questions or concerns.

Add speed to your payment options.

The results are in and 77% of consumers want businesses to continue offering contactless payments after the pandemic. Nearly one-third of all consumers say they prefer a mobile payment option, yet most businesses fail to deliver on this expectation (only 26% of businesses use a text message solution to collect payments today). Stop sending invoices through snail mail and get paid faster with a speedy option—texting.

Implement better communication options

Just as speed is a top priority for modern consumers, communication is key to meeting customer demands for a positive experience. And customers want real-time answers to real-time questions—they want one-on-one conversations. More than 50% of consumers are more likely to do business with you if they have the option to message you directly—it’s more convenient, it’s faster, and it’s a better way to communicate. 

In order to implement better communication options for your leads and customers, consider the critical parts of the customer journey that require communication—initial outreach, appointment scheduling, appointment confirmations, reminders, and review requests. Consider the following ways to add better communication options to your existing customer journey: 

Offer to text your customers and leads.

man texting on mobile phone

We already know that home services customers are searching for you online. Once a lead selects your business, they’re more likely to follow up if it’s easy to communicate. Convert your landline into a textable number and mobile customers can simply click and connect with the touch of a thumb, right from your Google My Business listing. Plus, with a text conversation already in place, it’s easier to send review requests, feedback surveys, and payment requests in the same thread.

Convert web chats to text conversations.

For customers on the go, starting a conversation through web chat and waiting for a response isn’t always possible. Consider converting web chats to text conversations, allowing customers to walk away from their desktop or laptop while still continuing their conversation with your business.

Schedule customer appointments via text.

More than 90% of American consumers keep their mobile devices within arms reach every hour of every day. And 46% of consumers say they prefer to schedule service appointments specifically through a mobile app or online platform. Stop requiring your customers to phone in to schedule an appointment—offer a better way and schedule via text or mobile app. 

Stay connected with changing expectations

Creating a positive customer experience requires more than evaluating your customer journey once. Staying connected with customers and their changing expectations is critical for the future of your business (and to say ahead of the competition). Changes in technology, home services options and communication options will continue to impact how customers expect you to do business with them. 

As you plan to stay connected to your customers, consider the following best practices to make sure you’re meeting changing demands: 

Ask for feedback from every customer.

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a solid metric to use as you request feedback from every customer (after every service). It can be used to predict business growth and assess customer experience across your entire customer base. Consider sending NPS surveys with a simple question—on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this home services business to your friend or colleague. Collect the data and assess how many promoters (scoring 9 – 10), passives (scoring 7 – 8) and detractors (scoring 0 – 6) make up your customer list (then make a plan to improve your NPS with changes to your customer journey).

man in suit looking at phone

Send review requests after every service.

Without a designated review request program, you’re leaving online reviews for disgruntled customers. Don’t let a few unsatisfied customers paint a narrow view of your business online—balance the story by asking every customer for a review. Nearly 80% of customers will leave a review when asked, so get started by sending a simple review request to the online platform you want to prioritize. Consider sending customers to Google review first to boost your online ranking (the more reviews your business has attached to each location and the higher your average star rating, the higher your ranking will be based on relevance and prominence).

Analyze review and feedback data and implement changes.

Don’t just collect feedback and watch your online reviews grow. Use the data that your customers are sharing with you! Watch for trends in your customer reviews that highlight specific areas of improvement. And as you collect NPS data, check in quarterly and annually to see if the changes you’re making in communicating, scheduling, servicing, and invoicing your customers are making a significant impact on their overall experience with your business. 

Ready to learn more about changing customer expectations and find out how you can stay ahead of the competition, check out this free eBook: 5 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Competition: How Businesses Can Adapt to Changing Customer Expectations

Jennifer Wilson
Jennifer Wilson Strategic Home Services Account Executive

Jennifer Wilson is a home services professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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