The No. 1 rule of customer service these days? Make it easy, make it quick, and make it convenient. Because if you don’t, your competitors will be glad to welcome the customers you’ve lost.
Potential customers have many choices in today’s crowded marketplaces. As home service companies struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, they can’t neglect the growing consumer desire for convenience above all else.
We live in a world where consumer expectations are driven by companies like Uber and Amazon that single-mindedly focus on streamlining the customer experience. A study of 75,000 customers conducted by the Customer Contact Council found that ease-of-use was the overriding factor in building brand loyalty.
The home service industry is no exception. Homeowners expect the same level of convenience when booking a plumbing or HVAC service call as they do when hailing a ride with a smartphone app. Home services companies have to put as much care into tuning-up the customer experience as they do fixing a furnace or an air conditioner.
TUNING-UP THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Ready to transform your customer experience? The best place to start is at the beginning. For example, many homeowners prefer to book appointments online rather than by phone. If they don’t have that option, they’ll move on to the next website.
Today’s homeowners also expect real-time updates on when a technician will arrive. Gone are the days when customers would grudgingly accept an open-ended time window for service. In the world of Uber, customers expect real-time information about the location and arrival time of service technicians.
Imagine how much more convenient the customer experience becomes if they know the exact arrival time of a technician down to the minute? Put yourself in their position. Homeowners are busy people and don’t want to waste time waiting for a technician to show up. Even if they’re staying home, knowing when the technician will arrive makes life a whole lot easier. With a little forewarning, they can put their dog in a crate or ensure the kids aren’t underfoot.
It may sound like quite an undertaking to provide this type of experience, but with the right technology, it’s easy.
USING TECHNOLOGY TO BUILD LOYALTY AND REPEAT BUSINESS
In the age of customer convenience, homeowners are used to 1-click ordering and the Amazon experience. This is what repeat customer expect when calling for HVAC or plumbing service. When you receive a call from them, all of their financial information and account history needs to be immediately accessible by your CSRs.
Home services companies need software systems that allow them to address a returning customer by name when they call, gives customers an option to book appointments online, provides GPS tracking details to customers on their technicians, and allows them to pay for services on the spot with a simple credit card swipe. Each of these capabilities makes a home service business easier to interact with. That drives customer loyalty and increases the likelihood the customer will recommend the company to others.
Harnessing this technology doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Increasingly economical software systems are available to allow any size of home service business to provide simplicity and flexibility to their customers.
The customer experience is not just about technology. Every member of a home service company’s staff is responsible for meeting the convenience demands of today’s consumers. Homeowners expect ease and flexibility in their interactions with a company.
This ranges from booking an appointment with the help of a CSR to receiving easy-to-understand service quotes and options from a technician to making a payment after services are complete. All team members need to understand the importance of convenience in every service they provide and how it all works together to create the best experience for customers.
GIVE CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT
Any home services company that wants to succeed in the age of customer convenience has to step up to meet the demands for convenience. Regardless of the type of service they require, consumers will do business with the service provider that offers the most convenience. Companies who ignores these demands will soon find themselves with significantly fewer customers.
There is no reason a customer should expect a different level of convenience from a home service company than do from an online retailer or a video streaming service. When a company makes customers feel good or turns a traditionally mundane, tedious experience into something engaging and intuitive, customers will be passionate about the brand. The secret to success is simple. Make the customer experience easy, make it quick, and make it convenient.
Publication date: 1/21/2019