What is the #1 key to building a successful home services business?
There are a lot of ways to answer this question, but here’s the ONE common thread we see among the best businesses out there:
You can have the most knowledgeable and experienced team and the most high-tech equipment, but if you don’t win the trust and loyalty of your customers, your business will suffer.
It will suffer from a poor reputation, lost revenue, and the inability to compete in your local market.
So make sure you’re doing everything you can to create the best experience possible for your customers.
After all, it costs 5X MORE to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
Here are some of the best ways that you can build trust with your customers and turn them into loyal clients for life.
1) Improve your intake process
If your marketing strategy is in place, the next important impression you have to make is with your intake process.
- How long does it take for your staff to respond to phone calls and emails?
- Do they have a standard process of collecting customer information over the phone?
- Do they know which questions to ask to identify if the prospect is a good fit for your business?
- Are they professional and helpful on every call they handle?
If you don’t already have a solid intake process established, here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Never let calls go to voicemail during business hours.
- Respond to missed calls and emails as quickly as possible.
- Ask the right questions and document the answers.
- Be friendly and professional on every single call.
- Record calls so you can later review them for quality assurance.
- Offer live chat services on your website to provide assistance for potential clients 24/7.
You may be doing most of these things already, BUT it’s never a bad idea to reflect on your intake practices and adjust your strategy as needed.
In addition to your intake process, you will also want to assess all other areas that may serve as an initial point of contact for the customer.
You should periodically check that your:
- Website is functioning properly (no broken links, broken images, slow-loading pages, etc.).
- Online directories are updated with your current business information.
- Call tracking numbers are forwarding to your business properly.
- Contact information is listed correctly on your website.
- Mail servers are working.
Technical difficulties happen from time to time, but you don’t want to miss out on new leads and customers because of preventable mistakes.
2) Maintain communication
Communication is vital for maintaining a great relationship with your customers.
Because it helps them understand what to expect while working with your business (creating a smooth customer experience), and it keeps them aware of your service offerings, even long after their scheduled appointment.
Not sure how often you should be reaching out to your customers?
Just put yourself in their shoes for a moment. If you had a busted pipe flooding your home or a blown-out AC on the hottest day of summer, what type of information would you find valuable, and when?
Here are a few examples of communications that can improve the customer experience…
You can call, text, or send an email to:
- Confirm an appointment time.
- Let the customer know a truck is en route to their home.
- Provide progress updates (parts ordered, changes in service times, etc.).
- Collect customer feedback immediately after the scheduled service appointment.
- Follow up weeks or months after you provided service to see how things have been going.
- Provide helpful information about how a past customer can get the best use from their appliance or equipment (e.g., monthly maintenance tips, recall updates, etc.).
- Update a past customer about promotions for other services they may be interested (e.g., seasonal specials).
3) Check in on the quality of your service
Even if they are getting THE SAME product or service that they could find elsewhere for cheaper.
That means it’s worth taking some time out of your busy schedule to focus on quality control.
High-quality service allows you to:
- Create a seamless experience for your customers from beginning to end.
- Leave a positive impression and win customers’ trust.
- Earn their loyalty and turn them into advocates of your business.
- Generate more repeat business and referrals, which increases your revenue.
Delivering high-quality service requires consistent and ongoing analysis of your values, processes, and execution. Make sure you and your team are on the same page when it comes to meeting higher standards and hitting new goals.
You can assess the quality of your service by implementing the two strategies covered in points four and five below.
4) Survey your customers
A big part of building trust and loyalty with customers is understanding their expectations.
If you aren’t sure what those are, ask them through customer surveys.
Here are a few examples of survey questions that provide valuable insight into the customer experience:
- “On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best and 1 being the worst), how would you rate the service you received and your overall experience as a customer?”
- “What did you like the most about your service or experience with us?”
- “What could we have done better for you?”
- “Please feel free to leave any additional comments, questions, or feedback. This is helpful for us in continuing to improve our service (or product) for you and other customers.”
Check out more examples from HubSpot.
It can be difficult to get people to fill out customer satisfaction surveys, so we have a few recommendations to help increase your response and completion rates:
- Try to get your customers to fill out the survey in person.
- If they can’t fill out the survey right then, send your survey to them via email.
- Keep your survey short and sweet. The longer your survey is, the higher the abandonment rate will be.
The best time to get feedback is immediately following service. The more time that passes, the less likely the customer is to fill out the survey.
5) Read and respond to reviews
The majority (85%) of consumers trust online reviews as much as a referral from someone they know.
This means it’s CRUCIAL that you’re monitoring your business’ online reputation on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and HomeAdvisor.
- Ensuring you have profiles set up for your business on these sites.
- Reading your customer reviews and responding to them (whether good or bad).
- Making an honest effort to learn from customer feedback and improve your operations and customer service as needed.
This shows your previous and potential customers that you are listening AND that you’re proactive about improving your service.
Bear in mind, reading and responding to negative customer reviews can be REALLY difficult.
Instead of viewing them as a pain, try to see them as opportunities to grow and showcase your excellent customer service.
Don’t let emotion take control of your better judgment.
If you need help or advice when it comes to responding to negative reviews, Google provides some excellent recommendations and best practices. There are also plenty of other great resources online as well that can help you craft your responses.
6) Creating content and staying engaged
All the items we have discussed today that go toward building trust and loyalty with your customers have ONE major thing in common:
Being engaged with your customers is how you turn a one-time client into a loyal customer and advocate for your brand.
Creating content on a regular basis is a great way to show that you’re an expert in your field, continually delivering value, and at the top of your game.
And it can be the difference between someone choosing you or your competitor.
To boost your content marketing efforts, put yourself on a schedule for:
- Posting new blogs to your website.
- Sharing new posts to your social media profiles.
- Posting new videos to YouTube, Facebook, your website, etc.
- Sending your email list new content updates, news on your business, specials you’re offering, etc.
Every piece of content a prospective or current customer sees builds trust and credibility with your business and your brand.