7 Customer Service Secrets to Grow Your Home Service Business
Growing your business in the home service industry can involve a lot of moving parts. From juggling subcontractors to wrangling invoices, it’s all too easy to lose sight of one of the most critical elements: exceptional customer service.
When done right, customer service is the secret sauce that can transform your business from an ordinary player to an industry powerhouse.
Before we unveil the customer service secrets that can level up your home services business, let’s first examine the current state of the industry.
Overview of the Home Service Industry
The home services industry refers to a broad range of businesses and professionals that provide services related to maintaining, repairing, or improving residential properties. It encompasses various sectors such as home maintenance, cleaning services, landscaping, pest control, plumbing, electrical work, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), remodelling, painting, roofing, and more.
Home Service professionals provide essential services that are in demand and will continue to grow in demand. Jobber’s 2023 Home Service Economic Report highlights some key trends impacting the industry’s current state and future outlook:
Inflation and rising commodity prices have driven up material costs, while low unemployment and wage growth has driven up labour costs—essentially the two major costs for all home service professionals.
Over the past few years, supply chain disruptions have been a major contributor to the increase in material costs. However, according to the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index, this dramatically improved in the second half of 2022 and early 2023, and is expected to continue improving throughout 2023.
The median revenue for a service provider continued to increase throughout 2021 and 2022. But, challenges in the labour market, including cost and availability of labour, do constrain their ability to take on more work.
The Role of Customer Service in Home Service
In a highly competitive market like home services, exceptional customer service is the ultimate differentiator. However, providing a stellar customer experience can be more challenging for home service businesses due to a few unique factors:
Home service businesses often deal with a wide range of unpredictable scenarios and customer demands. Each job can be different in terms of scope, complexity, and customer expectations. This variability requires an adaptable team and the ability to think outside the box to provide tailored solutions.
Home service businesses often work on time-sensitive projects, such as emergency repairs or maintenance tasks. Managing and meeting customer expectations within tight timeframes can be demanding and requires efficient scheduling, coordination, and timely communication.
Unlike businesses in controlled environments like retail or office spaces, home service providers work in customers’ homes. This means they may be on the road or in close proximity to customers with potential interruptions – making it more demanding to communicate and coordinate with office staff.
Home service professionals take pride in the quality of their work, which should extend to the quality of their customer interactions. Focusing on delivering a remarkable customer experience can help you attract loyal customers and also ignite a ripple effect of positive word-of-mouth, referrals, and unprecedented growth.
Understanding Your Customers
When you understand your customer’s pain points, priorities, and expectations – you can better serve them.
Customer Service Secret 1: Anticipate Their Needs
To truly understand your customers, go beyond their explicit requests and anticipate their needs. When you know what your customers need before they do, it enables you to tailor the customer experience to their preferences. For example, if you know that more customers call your business to make a payment rather than schedule an appointment, make sure it’s quick and easy to do so.
By proactively addressing your customer’s needs, you can offer more relevant service offerings that resonate at the right time. For example, you could offer seasonal reminders for tasks like gutter cleaning, or HVAC filter replacement, ensuring their home remains in optimal condition throughout the year.
Customer Service Secret 2: Make it Easy to do Business With You
One thing customers have come to expect from businesses today is fast solutions to their problems. That’s why simplicity is key to building customer satisfaction. Offering multiple communication channels like phone, email, and live chat lets customers choose what’s most convenient for them. It’s just as important to ensure they get a prompt, knowledgeable response when they reach out to you, however, they do.
Similarly offering secure, user-friendly options to book appointments, submit inquiries, and pay bills online can help reduce friction points in the customer journey. Evaluate the simplicity of your processes across all key customer service touchpoints to identify any unnecessary steps that can be eliminated.
In the home services industry, customers invite you into their personal spaces, entrusting you with their most valuable asset: their homes.
Customer Service Secret 3: Offer Live Call Answering
Your business probably spends a hefty amount of money on advertising to generate more calls to your business. Considering 40% of home service consumers who call from search make a purchase, having a friendly and knowledgeable customer service representative available can help you capture more leads.
In the home service industry, every missed call is a missed opportunity. Because many home service transactions are urgent or deliberate, customers frequently choose to interact with a live person rather than fill out an online form. When they get an immediate response from a real person, it establishes your credibility and demonstrates your commitment to solving their problems in real time.
Customer Service Secret 4: Personalize Service
Personalization is a powerful tool for building trust and customer loyalty. Make it easy for your team to access crucial information about customers from the field and the front office. This allows them to address customers by name, refer to previous interactions or specific details, and offer personalized recommendations.
For example, if you’re a landscaping service, and your client’s preference for drought-tolerant plants is noted in their file, your customer service rep can proactively suggest new additions to their garden. By treating each customer as an individual with unique needs, you create more memorable experiences and forge stronger bonds.
Home service customers appreciate quick resolutions to their urgent problems, especially in situations where their safety or comfort is compromised.
Customer Service Secret 5: When In Doubt, Script It Out
Call scripts can help your customer service team better navigate and respond to common customer inquiries and scenarios. These templates ensure consistency in your messaging and enable your team to ask the right questions and provide accurate information. A script for emergency calls can also help you gather crucial details while keeping the conversation concise.
However, if customer service reps rely too heavily on scripts, interactions can sound robotic. It’s vital to have knowledgeable customer service reps that are educated on your services and can go off script if necessary. By having a script as a foundation, your team can confidently handle customer interactions, resolving issues efficiently while maintaining a personable approach.
Customer Service Secret 6: Create a System to Prioritize Calls
In the home service industry, dispatching calls and coordinating service can be time-consuming and inefficient. You can prioritize calls by assigning them a level of urgency such as high, medium, and low. This enables your crew to quickly identify the next priority job – and creates a predictable, consistent process that streamlines service calls.
Establishing dispatch protocols based on urgency can also help you set expectations for your team. For example, if it’s an after-hours emergency, your technicians know that a customer service rep will follow up within 10 minutes if they don’t confirm the job. Not only does this improve response times, but it can also boost overall customer satisfaction.
Customer Service Secret 7: Record and Review Calls
Call recordings serve as a reference point for the quality and consistency of your service. Listening to real-life customer interactions provides valuable insights into service gaps or missed opportunities. Additionally, call recordings can provide clarity and context in cases of disagreements or confusion surrounding service requests or conversations.
Call recordings are also valuable training resources for both new hires and ongoing customer service training. Analyzing calls as a team enables customer service representatives to take ownership of their performance and identify areas for improvement. This approach encourages continuous learning and ensures that customer service aligns with customer needs and expectations.
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