What happens when a homeowner’s pipe bursts, their AC breaks down during the hottest week of summer, or they notice a leak coming from the roof? They start looking for a plumber, HVAC specialist, or roofer—ASAP.
In situations like these, time is precious. The homeowner has an urgent need and starts calling around to find the right service professional. No one answers the phone? No problem—on to the next company on the list. There are plenty more to choose from.
Now imagine you’re the home service professional that missed that call. That’s a call that could have turned into a new customer for your business. That means money down the drain! Slow response times or a lack of information on how your services meet the customer’s specific needs are huge factors that turn callers away. If you don’t have a process in place that allows you to take full advantage of every call or email your home service receives, you could be losing out on a lot of revenue. Unfortunately, there are many home services businesses that have trouble turning calls into new jobs.
Don’t be one of those companies. To make sure you’re always prepared when a new customer calls, we’ve put together a few essential lead intake tips to assist you.
1. Always Have Someone Available to Take the Call
As a home service business owner who is busy going to job sites, you may be letting many of your calls go to voicemail with the plan of following up later. If you are doing that, you are probably missing out on some worthwhile jobs. As we mentioned above, timing is crucial when it comes to taking that initial call. According to data on business response times, 50% of buyers select the vendor that responds first.
By always having someone available to answer calls during business hours, you dramatically increase your chances of turning those calls into new booked appointments. This may require you to hire a receptionist or use a call center service.
2. Quickly Return Calls & Emails
With the Internet, homeowners have a wealth of resources available to them, which they can access in an instant. With that being said, they won’t wait around if a business takes too long to get back to them. If you want to secure more business, be sure to check your emails and voicemail messages regularly throughout the day, and respond to them as quickly as possible.
The research data mentioned above shows that customers who are contacted within 5 minutes are 21x more likely to enter the sales process than those who are contacted within 30 minutes. Yet, the average time businesses take to respond is 61 hours! If you don’t act quickly, that potential customer will likely move on to another service provider who had a faster response time.
3. Follow Up with Your Leads
In many cases, you might not turn a lead into a customer on the first phone call. Whether it’s for a plumbing installation or a landscaping project, the customer may need more time to compare his or her options and come to a decision. This doesn’t mean you should sit back and let the pieces fall where they may. Follow up with all qualified leads (leads that are actually a good fit for your business) to remind them that your business is available and fully equipped to meet their needs. The potential customer may see your efforts of reaching out as a sign of your personalized service, which could help in the decision making process.
4. Set Up a Clear Lead Intake Process
Be sure to have a clear lead intake process in place that your team uses consistently. Each person who answers the phone should know the game plan.
Your lead intake process should outline:
- Which questions to ask the caller
- How to tell if the caller is actually a qualified lead for your business (Will the caller actually benefit from your services, or are they not a good fit?)
- Which person at the business to route the call to
- A clear process for documenting leads
Having a set system in place will help streamline the lead intake process, avoid confusion, and prevent wasted time with unqualified leads.
5. Use Your Time Wisely
Yes, you may be good at answering phones and talking to customers, but how will your valuable skills be best put to use? Probably out in the field working on jobs, interacting with customers face-to-face, and managing your teams. As a business owner, it is important to prioritize and realize which tasks are best to delegate to others. Answering phones and processing leads is one of those tasks that someone else can handle while you focus on actually running your business. Take some time to evaluate what works best for your company!
Want to learn more tricks to effective home services marketing? Download this free guide.