Monthly Archives: January 2012
Nestled deep in the French Alps is a small little French town called Tignes. The town’s sole purpose is to cater to those crazy people who call attaching fiberglass planks to their feet and sliding down steep slopes covered in snow; FUN. From the multiple ski schools, to the abundance of après-ski watering holes, to the service professionals who are conveniently multi-lingual, Tignes truly delivers the FULL ski vacation experience. Why am I talking about a small town in France you might ask? Because you should run your home service business the way this town is run. With the customer in mind: at all times.
The customer is your end game, your bread winner, the reason, essentially, for your existence. You should run your company accordingly. Did you know that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience? (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). This can be detrimental to your business, especially with the existence of popular review sites such as Yahoo reviews, Angies List, Twitter, and more. Your dirty laundry will be aired for everyone to see before you even have a chance to respond and limit the potential damage. Your main business objective, particularly as a home service business, should be to provide the BEST customer service, all the time. What are some things that you can do to cater to your customer in your line of business? See the examples below and make sure they are implemented at your company:
- Listen. Don’t forget the power of just listening to a potential customer or current customer. By taking the time to really listen to what a customer needs, or wants, you eliminate misinterpretations, errors, and dissatisfaction with the outcome.
- Make your customers’ lives easier. Give them easy to access information through your website and social media networks. Respond in real time (don’t leave them waiting a day, or days for a call back), provide them with a customer portal, and offer options like making appointments through Facebook, emailed invoices, and more.
- Follow up. Ensure that your customers have received everything they were looking for, ask for feedback, and correct any mistakes by following up with the customer after you have provided service. Whether you do it through email or with a call (which is more personal), following up with your customers demonstrates that you care what they think, and can often lead to a good testimonial for your business.
Putting the customer first is often cited as one of a business’s core values however many businesses do not actually put this into practice. It’s common to hear phrases such as “Putting the customer first”, “We value our customers,”or “Our customers are our number one priority.” While these phrases are plentiful within service businesses, take a step back for a moment and ask yourself “how many of my customers actually feel valued?” Following the three steps above is a start to ensuring that your customers feel valued, and you maintain a happy, growing customer base.
The town of Tignes is an example of a customer –centric operation that really knows how to make their customers feel valued so that they return in the future and tell everyone about having such a great experience.
Can you say the same about your business?
Sometimes, the hardest thing to capture from a customer is their signature. It may sound silly, but while a signature is an important part of your business transactions, it is often hard to chase down. I sent a client a business contract the other day via email and asked him to return it signed. He called me and asked me how he was supposed to do that; was he supposed to snail mail it to me? I kindly suggested that he sign the document and take a picture of it on his iPhone and email the picture to me. Needless to say, the concept of actually capturing a signature can be a difficult one, particularly if someone lacks a scanner, a fax, or even a pen.
In comes service management software in the cloud, dressed in Superman outfit, cape and all. Its 2012 after all! Technology is all about making life easier. Well how about making your business process easier, and making your techs’ lives easier too with a signature capture application, available whenever, wherever on any mobile device.
Imagine this. Your plumbing tech has just finished fixing Mrs. Jones’ very leaky sink. After putting his tools away he takes out his tablet, or smart phone, and connects to Service Proz’s service management solution to access the CRM. He fills in the details of the job and pulls up an invoice. He asks Mrs. Jones to use her finger to sign it and asks what email address she would like it emailed to. He records the email address in the CRM, emails the invoice, wishes her a good day, and gives her his best smile. He gets in his truck, leaving Mrs. Jones awestruck at the easy, quick, and impressive customer service she just received. Not only have you provided Mrs. Jones with excellent customer service, but you just captured her satisfaction with a job well done in the form of a signature.
It is that easy! Never get stuck again tracking down a signature. Don’t wait your time or your customers’ time. Demonstrate that your business is on the ball all the time. A service management solution doesn’t just help you run your business more smoothly; it helps you provide tip top customer service as well. Next time you are waiting for a signature, think about what you could be doing instead if you had Service Proz!
Why Scheduling with a Whiteboard Can be Detrimental to your Home Service Business
With the economy still suffering and customers becoming increasingly demanding and choosy when picking a service, home service businesses must be at the top of their game in order to remain successful and profitable. One of the best ways to stay ahead of your competition, provide superior customer service, and save time and money is to streamline your business processes. In this day and age, a business simply cannot survive in the longer term without investing in the technological advances that are now available. Things like a well-designed website, smart phones, and a comprehensive accounting system are essential to the longevity of any home service business. But the most important technological investment a company can make is an end-to-end business management solution.
Why? Here are 3 reasons this is a must for the survival of your home service business:
1. Saves Time and Money
With features like drag-and-drop scheduling, route optimization, recurring billing and mobile access, an end-to-end business management solution hugely impacts efficiency and resources. Employees spend less time on paperwork, in all aspects of the business from scheduling to accounting, and anyone in business can tell you that “time is money”.
2. Increases Customer Satisfaction
Promise and deliver the best customer service to your current and potential customers with features like a customer portal, contact management, and technician access to important information through their mobile devices. By having customer preferences at your fingertips and simplifying your customers’ lives with signature capture and the ability to pay their bills online helps you exceed their expectations.
3. Reduces Human Error
From scheduling, to accounting, to navigating to a customer’s house, there are many things that can go wrong. A business management solution helps reduce these errors by consistently performing calculations for you; giving you complete access to all your information whenever and wherever it is needed; and even providing accurate directions and routes to customers’ locations. These all ensure that you are creating a professional and trustworthy business.
A complete business management solution, like Service Proz, WILL streamline your business processes. Not only does it keep all your business information and interactions safely in one place (online) which makes your business easier to track at every step of the way, but it also gives you immediate access to the resources you need, such as reports, contracts, proposals, and invoices. It takes the guesswork out of running your business and the interface is so easy to use that anyone who uses Facebook can navigate it easily.
With all these benefits and more, and at a low monthly cost, the question becomes, why wouldn’t you make the investment for your business? What are you waiting for?