We are officially in the tailwinds of one of the most challenging years of the past two decades. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged home services business owners to think on their feet in new ways, especially with respect to how they run their operations and acquire new business. Connecting with new homeowners is always challenging for any business, especially in a sea of competition that gives consumers options. However, the challenges presented by the coronavirus were unique.
Amid the quarantine and stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the virus, people were connecting less, talking less and isolating more. This proved challenging from a home services business perspective because:
- People are not as socially connected as they used to be. People are social by nature, and in-person connections will always be stronger than those built over the phone or on Zoom and social media.
- Consumers are concerned about the spread of the virus. This caused extreme (and justifiable) caution regarding technicians entering into customer homes.
- Consumers are also more concerned about how they transact in business. Specifically, the public has collectively avoided touching items that someone else has come into contact with, such as screens, pens and paper.
Despite these challenges, many home services businesses saw growth in 2020. Interestingly, the best safety practices that emerged due to COVID-19 provided unexpected opportunities for growth and the ability to connect with homeowners in new and innovative ways. And with people spending more time at home than ever before — leading to increased wear and surfacing problems much quicker than usual — the demand for home services professionals remains high, even amid the disruption and uncertainty of a pandemic. The big question is, how do you go about connecting with new homeowners and new potential customers during the COVID pandemic?
The business owner of 2021 needs to focus on three core areas to connect with new homeowners during COVID:
- Building trust;
- Meeting customers where they are at; and
- Seamless and easy transactions.
When you look at how many companies have innovated in light of particular challenges, you’ll find that they often find ways to make doing business with them even easier for their customers. This ease creates an experience that customers want to spread the word about. Think about Uber and Lyft making ridesharing smooth, effortless and contactless. Companies looking to grow need to make it as easy as possible to do business with them; this creates an experience that customers want to share with their friends and family, which, in turn, fosters trust.
Today, trust is everything, and in a time of COVID-19, building your reputation to be even more pronounced and visible online is necessary to win new customer relationships. That’s why reviews matter, and what people say about your services can significantly impact your business. Your reputation and brand represent your company — your marketing materials, logo and even the behavior of your team when they are off the job all contribute to how your company is perceived. It’s not unheard of for an employee’s actions to end up being shared across social media. If that happens, the damage to your company’s reputation can be irreparable.
Rightly or wrongly, poor behavior on the part of your team — including off-hours — can be associated with your business. So it is absolutely necessary for your entire team to understand the ramifications of their actions at all times.
Meeting customers where they are at
With so many people staying at home, socializing is increasingly taking place in virtual spaces. More people spend time online on sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Clubhouse. Therefore, connecting with new homeowners these days requires significant attention to be placed on producing content for those channels to maximize your brand’s messaging and reach.
Seamless and easy transactions
Uber allows you to pay easily through your phone. Venmo allows transactions to occur without the swipe of a card. Ecommerce and food service have utterly revolutionized how we transact for goods and services.
If you don’t have the ability or technology yet to transact your business without requiring contact, this is an area you need to focus on. Implementing technology that allows you to digitally display options, contracts and accept digital payment forms will transform the user experience into something people will remember and recommend to others. Make it as easy as possible for new customers to do business with you, and COVID won’t inhibit your ability to grow!
A path toward business growth
The challenge is the same, but the dynamics are different. During a pandemic or not, all home services professionals face the task of connecting with new homeowners. However, by being a bit more creative with how you go about your client experience and by doubling down on the areas that get your business in the places your potential customers are at, you will be able to weather the storm of economic uncertainty and grow through it.
If you want to learn more about how technology and your digital footprint can be enhanced to expand your business offering, contact us at Scorpion.