Home service contractors have come a long way with increasing their digital marketing presence to promote their brand and services. Whether it be through enhanced website designs, advertising space, SEO, or social media, the common challenge is no longer in creating an online marketing strategy but rather in generating sales from leads gathered through the various marketing platforms used. In a crowded market, convenient appointment booking can make or break a contractor’s ability to convert a potential lead to a real customer.
Provide a convenient booking experience
The new way of converting leads to sales starts with providing convenience for customers. Most customer-facing industries have already adapted on-demand service strategies, around-the-clock customer service, and quick response and delivery times. For example, when a customer shops on Amazon, they expect to have the product the next day, and when a customer books a fitness class online, they can quickly match a class with their availability. Consumers are now conditioned to this kind of convenience and have similar expectations when it comes to scheduling a contractor’s visit to their home.
Currently, in our industry, many home service contractors require a customer to get on the phone during normal business hours to complete an appointment. While it may be convenient for the contractor, it’s not the best option for most homeowners who are busy during the workday.
Customers expect the option of being able to book a call 24/7, whenever it is convenient for them. To accommodate this, rather than overwhelming their staff with having to work more often or staff phones after hours, businesses can explore cost-effective technology services and solutions, take the pressure off a contractor’s customer service team and help build up efficiencies and scalability.
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If a contractor is not providing the opportunity to book appointments at the customer’s convenience, there’s a potential that they may be wasting the money spent on marketing. In fact, 31% of homeowners say they’ll switch providers if the new provider offers online scheduling.
Although, not all customers want to book the same way. Customers increasingly demand a consistent level of experience regardless of the way they connect with a contractor. Customers avoid contractors who are ill-equipped to deliver a seamless brand experience, online, over the phone, and in-home, consistently. Offering multiple opportunities to schedule a service call will allow contractors to cast a wide enough net that allows customers to interact with them in whatever way is most convenient for them. Customers are increasingly omnichannel themselves. A few years back, a Harvard Business Review study found that 73% of customers use multiple channels in their buying journey. In other words, this isn't a trend, this reality already exists.
Contractors want a well-rounded marketing plan for today’s multi-channel customer and measurable information to track real conversion rates and return on investment for their marketing strategies. For example, services like RYNO can be used to assist with inbound marketing and Customer Lobby to increase retention, while complementing existing field service management or dispatch software.
There are many options to explore when it comes to improving scheduling and booking with the use of technology. Many platforms now use voice integration so customers can easily request an appointment through systems like Amazon’s Alexa. Another exciting future possibility is the advent of self-diagnostic appliances, connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), that could one day be able to schedule maintenance by themselves.
It doesn't matter how many leads you receive if they don't convert into real appointments. Ultimately, by creating an experience based around convenience and tracking real results, contractors will see an increase in their conversion rates across the board.
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