The home service industry is constantly evolving. Although they’re based on traditional trades like HVAC, plumbing, electrical and piping, home services are also expanding into less charted territory. Today’s homeowners are modernizing and aspiring to more eco-friendly living situations supported by radiant heating, geothermal and solar thermal energy.
As the home service industry moves further into the 21st century, so does the technology employed to help businesses communicate with their customers. Gains in the energy efficiency of our buildings should be paralleled by the efficiency with which we communicate with each other and our customers.
Generational gaps in how your customers want to be communicated with are making it more difficult than ever to keep up. While baby boomers and Gen X prefer a variety of communication methods (phone call, email, physical mail and SMS), younger customers tend to favor newer forms of engagement: Webchat, texting, social media and touchless payments, just to name a handful.
Why is it important to explore and adopt these new forms of communication now? Because millennials and Gen Z are now a growing portion of the homeownership market. Failing to understand new technological developments in-home services can hurt your business, and communication technology is part of the way the industry is advancing.
Here are five ways to modernize your home service business.
1. Adopt a VoIP phone system
Everyone’s familiar with the problem of calling a business or contractor and getting put on hold for minutes on end. With the advent of VoIP phone systems (Voiceover Internet Protocol), though, the days of putting potential home service customers on hold are numbered.
The inability to get a timely appointment makes customers want to find a new HVAC pro, plumber or electrician. A VoIP phone system unifies calling and texting to give HVAC pros relief in handling busy call times with rollover lines, connection to smartphones and missed call texts.
VoIP phones are an easy-to-use and customizable way to minimize the number of clients and potential customers that are put on hold. Home service businesses can set up their phone tree to make it simple for young customers to reach specific pros and techs at the shop, the office or at jobsites. Missed call texts are automatic text messages that go out to customers that aren’t able to reach someone over the phone, allowing them to begin text conversations with your business.
2. Update your website
A company website is critical for every modern home service company. One of the reasons businesses have their own websites is to improve their scheduling.
An automated website assistant offers home service businesses flexibility in how they respond to job requests. Unlike phone calls, scheduling through your website allows you to pay attention to the job you’re currently working on. Customers provide times they’d like to get a quote or have work done, and your team is able to confirm or suggest another appointment time by text message.
Traditional company websites handcuff potential customers to a representative on the other end of a scheduling conversation. Text conversations started through the website can continue via SMS. This aspect of an updated website makes scheduling with potential customers more natural and keeps them in more consistent contact with your business.
3. Automate your scheduling
Today’s young customers want to get appointment reminders by text rather than by phone or email. That’s because text messages include written job details that customers are able to reference to remind themselves of their upcoming appointment. A scheduling tool gives HVAC, plumbing and electrical businesses a number of ways to engage with customers by text.
Appointment reminders free up time for home service professionals to focus on their current job instead of worrying about the next one. Modern software lets you customize and personalize these reminders before scheduling them to go out at a specific time and date. Sending appointment reminders to customers decreases the likelihood of no-shows and builds trust with your clients.
Scheduling tools also provide you with sentiment analysis for interpreting customer responses to appointment reminders. This feature lets your system know about confirmed appointments and notifies you of negative responses. In the event of last-minute cancellations, customer lists help you identify clients that might be willing to get a quote or have work done on short notice, then send them a text blast.
4. Collect online reviews
It’s becoming common knowledge that most consumers refer to online reviews before making a purchase. Home service customers are no different. The majority of customers check the online reviews of a business before requesting an appointment.
Although customers are eager to read reviews, they’re not likely to write reviews without prompting. Sending review requests by text following completed jobs and collecting them on key sites like Google and Facebook is a cornerstone of online marketing for modern home service businesses.
5. Offer text payments
Modern service professionals rely on technological solutions to increase efficiency before, during, and after jobs. They also utilize contactless payment methods like digital wallets and text payments. Text payments give businesses the ability to request payment by text following their completed jobs.
Once customers click on the link, they’re brought to a payment page that makes it quick and easy to pay for their new kitchen fixtures or geothermal heating system. Adding a text payment option to your business improves the customer experience for young customers and makes the financial side of your business more efficient.
A full payment processing solution isn’t only reliant on contactless payments. Customers can stick to traditional payment methods like cash, checks and credit cards. A unified platform allows contractors to spend the bulk of their time focusing on the task at hand instead of worrying about billing.
Modernizing your business
Today’s home service businesses are hungry for technology that can make them more efficient, more competitive and more caring. Effective communication enables companies to use their time wisely, manage their business profitably and support their techs properly. An optimized communication system helps young customers feel secure and that their pros are doing everything possible to meet their needs.
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