How to Enhance the Customer Experience in Home Services

min read
How to Enhance the Customer Experience in Home Services

Marketing statistics show that U.S. households spend $5,000, on average, on home services annually. That’s not pennies, and to tease that spending out of America’s 131+ million households, businesses that provide home services must deliver exemplary customer experiences (CX). After all, these projects are truly “close to home” for their customers.

Home services is a broad and highly competitive sector that includes residential services like painting, plumbing, and remodeling, as well as gardening, landscaping, pest control, appliance repair, and construction. Customer reviews and referrals are critical business drivers for home services providers, underscoring the need to deliver standout CX.

In this post, we’ll examine several strategies that can help you improve the customer experience in home services and discuss the role of technology in enhancing CX. First, let’s talk more about why it’s so important to prioritize CX in home services.

The Importance of Customer Experience in Home Services

CX in the home services sector can have a major impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. It helps home services providers earn positive reviews and drive revenue growth through both new and repeat business. 

Research shows that 75% of consumers regularly read online reviews, while 69% report that a positive review is compelling enough for them to try a business. And according to a recent Forbes Insight Report, nearly three-quarters of consumers are “somewhat likely to buy” based on positive CX alone.

So, for your home services business to succeed, you need to focus not just on the quality of the services you provide, but on how to make your customers feel like VIPs at every turn. To do that, you need to understand what they want and need.

Understanding Home Services Customer Expectations and Needs

While no two customers are the same, every customer wants to feel special. To earn confidence and trust, suppliers of home services must be responsive, transparent, and communicative when dealing with their customers. That may require actions like:

  • Setting up in-home consultations and visits that meet the customer’s schedule.
  • Delivering free quotes and estimates without hidden costs or fees.
  • Providing a seamless call experience in which callers are routed to the right resource the first time, avoiding the frustration of multiple transfers and dropped calls.
  • Clearly communicating when and why cost increases may take effect. 

Consider the latter example: Building products such as lumber and concrete are affected by volatile global commodity market activity. If a customer is budgeting for a home extension, their contractor should be upfront in communicating how rising lumber prices might affect eventual costs. If the contractor isn’t clear about costs, and the customer is hit with unexpected charges, the result is a poor CX — and an irate customer.

A home project can be a costly and emotionally charged decision for a consumer. So, it’s important for home service providers to be empathetic and communicate effectively. In addition to being flexible and transparent, you may find you need to interact with your customers via social media, email and text, and make follow-up phone calls to ensure their expectations are being met.  

5 Key Components of a Superior Home Services Customer Experience

Focusing your attention on the following five elements — convenience, personalization, omnichannel, trust, and technology — can increase your ability to deliver a standout customer experience in home services time after time. Here’s a closer look at how these components contribute to a positive CX.

1. Convenience

Consumers crave convenience. If home services businesses make it inconvenient for customers, they will leave. Worse, they may move to a competitor. A study Invoca conducted just two years ago told us that 76% of respondents would leave a business after just one bad experience. 

Unfortunately, there are many pinch points for home services businesses from the fluctuating price of materials and supply chain delays to tightening labor pools. Businesses must navigate the pinch points by educating customers, clearly communicating with them, and smoothing the process. 

Building stronger relationships with suppliers can offset supply chain and pricing issues. Cross-training employees, such as training a plumber to perform basic electrical work, can provide workforce cover during vacation months and periods of high demand.

The message here is that convenience, simplicity, and ease are essential if you want to move customers through the sales funnel.

2. Personalization

Personalizing interactions streamlines the CX and makes customers feel valued. Personalization can be as simple as using the customer’s first name on a piece of marketing collateral or an email providing the customer with special offers tailored to their purchase history or where they live. 

The latter tactic, known as hyper-personalization, depends on the effective use of big data. That means home services marketers must have the right tools to collect, store, and analyze data quickly and efficiently. (We’ll talk more about that shortly.) 

3. Omnichannel 

It’s no longer enough to offer a website as a means to connect with your customers. You need to employ multiple platforms, online and offline, to meet and interact with consumers where and when they want to engage with you. In short, omnichannel is the way forward for your home services business when it comes to CX.

Why? As this post explains, with an omnichannel CX, you can support seamless customer interactions across multiple channels or touchpoints, such as online platforms, mobile apps, physical stores, social media, and customer service centers. Your customers can switch between channels effortlessly and have their needs met consistently throughout their journey with your brand, anytime, anywhere.

4. Trust

As noted earlier, building trust with consumers is essential to delivering a superior CX. It is also critical to earning the referrals and positive reviews that will help you grow your home services business.

According to software marketplace G2, 61% of consumers read between 11 and 50 online reviews before they trust a business enough to make a purchase. 

So, in addition to garnering good reviews, you’ll need to monitor your reputation online. Responding in a timely and professional manner to any negative comments, for example, is a necessity to build and maintain trust with your target customers.

5. Technology

The right technology can greatly benefit businesses seeking to improve the customer experience in home services. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, for instance, makes personalization more efficient and less taxing for marketers and others working to promote your home services business.

A new array of technology, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), is supercharging CX initiatives at many companies. Home Depot now arms its store associates with an AI-driven app that uses machine learning to alert staff to low-inventory shelves. The retailer deployed 99,000 apps so that in-store customers wouldn’t be frustrated by hot products flying off the shelves. 

AI-driven tools also provide fast and efficient analysis of customer data to inform your CRM system and marketing initiatives. Conversation intelligence, which enables the capture and analysis of data from customer’s offline interactions via the phone so that they can be measured against online data points, is just one example. 

Data from phone calls can enhance personalization and help home services marketing teams discover the true voice of the customer (VoC).     

How to Improve the Customer Experience (CX) in Home Services

Improving the customer experience in home services requires focus and commitment, as well as the deployment of various strategies. Here are five to consider.

1. Create a Seamless Omnichannel Experience

This was touched on in the previous section, but it can’t be emphasized enough that creating a seamless, personalized journey across all channels should be a top aim for your home services business. Done right, it will help you deliver a CX that drives customer loyalty, brand recognition, repeat business, and higher sales.

A seamless omnichannel journey allows customers to have a consistent experience with your business and brand whether they are in your store, using your app or website, responding to your ad on social media, or picking up the phone to call your contact center.

Creating a successful omnichannel strategy for home services requires collecting and analyzing data from every relevant channel, online and offline. Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform makes that process exponentially faster and easier by helping you connect your customers’ digital experience to their offline CX. Invoca can analyze every phone call your sales and contact center agents receive.

2. Invest in the Contact Center Experience

The contact center is the first responder to customer inquiries, so it’s important for home services businesses to optimize the CX at this critical touchpoint. Here again, seamlessness is a priority goal.

Contact centers can use intelligent routing technology to get it right the first time and send callers to the appropriate agent or department without customers having to repeat themselves or be transferred. 

For an elevated contact center experience, home services teams can use Invoca’s PreSense to capture and transmit data from online and offline interactions to contact center agents so they can tailor each conversation according to customers’ needs.

3. Level Up Team Skills

Team members interacting with customers in contact centers and other business locations need soft skills and appropriate training to deliver enhanced CX. Their training should be continuous, relevant, and dynamic.

Invoca’s conversation intelligence solution can help shape ongoing learning by delivering data-driven training insights based on actual calls and automatically and objectively scoring every call for quality assurance (QA). Armed with automated QA, contact center managers can target training modules and provide timely and meaningful feedback to agents to help them make improvements on the fly.

Sample agent scorecard generated by Invoca AI

4. Use the Right Technology Solutions

Home services providers have mountains of data that, when efficiently analyzed, deliver keen insights into customers. Collecting and making use of data is vastly improved by technology, of course, especially artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools that can sift and sort through big data in real time. 

While you may not have resources to develop your own app, like Home Depot’s Sidekick, you can use CRM platforms like Salesforce and deploy conversation intelligence software, such as Invoca, to track offline interactions and fuel your marketing strategies with rich customer data. 

5. Enhance Customer Education (and Communication)

Customers typically call home services businesses because they lack the knowledge or skills to fix a problem. It might be a broken water pipe, a garage door that won’t open, or moles tearing up the lawn. The service technician is responsible for helping the customer understand why the problem is occurring, assuring the customer there is a solution, and developing a remediation plan. 

Increasingly, home service technicians are using digital apps to help customers better understand their issues and take a proactive approach to managing them. TaskEasy, for example, is a digital app that provides a satellite image of a customer’s home and yard showing where services such as gutter cleaning, tree removal, or yard maintenance are needed. 

Visuals help people grasp issues more clearly and allow specialists to communicate issues more succinctly. In short, the better you communicate with your customers, the better their overall experience will be.

6. Request and Implement Feedback and Gather Insights

To deliver a superior CX, home services businesses must put the customer first. One way to do that is to always request customer feedback, either through a simple referral question (“Based on your experience, would you recommend us to friends and family?”) or more in-depth surveys. You can also access feedback and customer insights at scale by analyzing phone conversations with a conversation intelligence platform like Invoca. 

After you’ve received feedback or gathered relevant insights, be prepared to act on them. It’s vital for earning trust with your customers and building new business. For example, say that you operate a home renovation business, and you learn through feedback that many homeowners calling about your services want to know if the building products you use in your projects are sustainable. 

If you already use these products, this insight from your customer calls suggests that you need to promote that fact more. That includes equipping your contact center agents with specific talking points on that topic. And if you don’t use sustainable products, you may want to adapt your practices to help ensure customers don’t pass you over.    

7. Manage Your Online Reviews

This tip was raised earlier, but we’ll mention it again. If you want to understand how to improve the customer experience in home services, keep tabs on online reviews of your business. Negative online reviews that go unchecked and unanswered can bruise your reputation. And not paying attention to and responding to the good things your customers say can be equally detrimental to your business.

Establish an online review management process to ensure you don’t miss any of the feedback—good, bad, or ugly—that your home services business receives online. Monitor review websites such as Yelp, as well as social media posts and your own website. If a customer posts a negative review, research the issue and respond accordingly. 

Also, play it straight: If you messed up when providing home services to a customer, own the mistake. But if the customer’s issue was addressed, make that clear, too. Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to reputation management in home services. 

Enhance the Home Services Customer Experience with Invoca

Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform helps you provide a great CX by enhancing personalization from the moment a customer picks up the phone to call your business, and even long after they hang up. Invoca tracks and gathers data from every phone call made to or by your business. Then, Invoca analyzes the data at scale to provide unique, real-time insights into why customers are calling. You can pass this insight along to marketing or any other department via your CRM system. 

If your home services business operates a contact center, data insights gleaned from online interactions can be passed via Invoca PreSense to your agents so they know who is calling and why. Data from Invoca’s conversation intelligence can also be used to intelligently route calls so that callers get connected to the right agent the first time they call. You can even use Invoca’s automated capabilities to objectively score calls for QA and use the insights gathered to coach your teams. 

According to a recent forecast, the home services market is expected to grow by more than 21% by 2030. To capture your share of that growth in a highly competitive sector, you must excel at attracting and retaining customers. Earning a reputation for providing a positive customer experience in home services is essential to your future success. And with Invoca, you’ll have the capabilities and insight to create a CX that will have your customers telling everyone how great it is to work with you.

Additional Reading

To learn more about how Invoca helps improve the customer experience in home services, check out the following posts:

When you’re ready, contact us to schedule a customized demo to learn how we can help your home services business elevate its CX — and much more.

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