COVID-19 is causing radical shifts in the way consumers engage with home services providers. To thrive in 2021, home services marketers need to anticipate future trends and adapt their strategies accordingly.
Below, I list some of the most important trends home services marketers will see in 2021, as well as how a call tracking solution can help you capitalize on them.
1. Costs for Home Services Leads Will Remain High
Home services are an over $500 billion-a-year industry in the US. It’s extremely competitive, and to acquire customers, marketers invest significantly in search and digital advertising. Costs per click on Google Ads for certain home services keywords can exceed $40, while costs per lead often exceed $100.
As the digital advertising landscape continues to become more competitive — and costs per lead continue to rise — home services marketers will face increasing pressure to prove their digital marketing ROI and optimize their spend to acquire more customers at a lower cost.
2. Home Services Providers Will Receive Higher Call Volumes
Monthly calls to home services providers increased by 36% from February 2020 to July 2020. With in-person interactions limited by shelter-in-place orders, consumers relied on the call channel to speak with agents, make inquiries about service packages and pricing, and schedule appointments.
Though lockdown restrictions have since been eased, many consumers still restrict their in-person interactions due to safety concerns. Therefore, call volume is likely to be higher than it was during previous years, as consumers will use this channel to get information and make appointments.
3. Consumers Will Continue to Undertake Home Improvement Projects at a High Rate
When the COVID-19 pandemic began and consumers were confined to their homes by shelter-in-place orders, many had the time to undertake home improvement projects they’d been putting off. In fact, 57% of homeowners put an emphasis on home improvement during the first three months of COVID-19.
In the coming year, this trend is projected to continue. To date, more than 70% of Americans have tackled home improvement projects since the onset of COVID-19, with more planned for 2021. In addition, the on-demand home services industry is expected to see 53% growth between 2020 and 2024. In response, many home services companies are creating new bundling packages and promotions to assist consumers with their home improvement projects.
4. Home Services Consumers Will Demand Seamless Omnichannel Experiences
Home services consumers will demand seamless omnichannel experiences across their entire journey. To earn their business, you’ll need to ensure they feel valued and known every step of the way.
83% of consumers say they require a positive experience to remain loyal to a brand — regardless of the channel they’re engaging on. If home services marketers fail to provide seamless experiences for consumers, the stakes are high. 82% of consumers would switch providers as a result of a bad experience.
To get an edge over the competition in 2021, home services companies need to embrace personalization across channels. This means providing a seamless experience as consumers transition from online research to phone calls to in-person interactions. For example, serving consumers with web ads targeted to the service they researched on your site, or automatically routing their call to their nearest location.
How Marketers Can Use Call Tracking to Capitalize on These Home Services Trends
The trends above paint a bigger picture of how home services consumer behavior is changing. In 2021, in-person interactions will be limited due to COVID-19, placing increased importance on the call channel.
With more consumers calling agents and locations for information or to make purchases, home services marketers need to have a strategy in place to ensure that they’re providing a seamless experience over the phone. As I mentioned above, expectations for the consumer journey are at an all-time high — and this includes the call channel. Failing to deliver seamless call experiences will cost you revenue.
Understand the Marketing Sources Driving Your Most Valuable Phone Calls
Call tracking solutions like Invoca allow you to understand the webpages, marketing campaigns, and keywords driving not only the most calls — but the highest quality calls to your agents and locations. This allows you to optimize your marketing spend for the programs that are truly driving the most revenue.
For instance, a certain HVAC repair search campaign may be driving a high volume of calls to your locations. However, once you use a call tracking solution, you may discover many of these calls are not appointment-related — they’re customer experience issues. You could then decrease spend on this campaign, and instead allocate it to one that’s driving more appointment-related calls. This increases the overall revenue potential and quality of the calls coming into your phone lines.
Detect Issues Impacting Your Call Conversion Rates
Call tracking solutions like Invoca help you create seamless call experiences that increase customer acquisition. They provide detailed reports on answer inbound call rates and call handling performance at each location or call center that you can use to detect customer experience issues.
For example, you can see if your calls are going unanswered at specific locations and what days and times those unanswered calls occur. You can then diagnose if your marketing is sending calls to locations when they are closed or understaffed, and make adjustments.
View Transcriptions and Recordings to Understand What’s Happening on Calls
Call tracking platforms like Invoca give you a searchable database of call recordings and transcriptions that you can tap into. This allows you to see what’s occurring on the inbound calls your marketing is driving to call centers and locations and use these insights to make optimizations that drive more appointment conversions.
If unconverted calls are an issue, you can analyze your recordings and transcriptions to see if your locations, call centers, and remote agents are saying the right things when consumers call. You can then pinpoint any issues. For instance, are they failing to mention relevant promotions? Are they accurately describing the safety precautions you’re enacting for any in-person interactions? You can then take steps to remedy them. In addition, you can share these recordings and transcriptions with your locations and/or call centers to use as coaching tools to improve performance.
You can also use transcriptions to discover common caller questions and concerns — such as FAQs on bundle deals — and add them to your website and service pages to get more SEO visits and improve conversion rates.
Use IVRs and Dynamic Routing to Manage High Call Volumes
If you’re experiencing unmanageably high call volumes, you can also consider using your call tracking solution to set up an IVR (interactive voice response). You can configure an IVR to ask callers why they’re calling, route them to the best destination based on their responses, provide answers to common questions (such as FAQs about your COVID-19 precautions), and more.
You can also set up dynamic routing rules, in tandem with or independent of your IVRs. Below are several call routing configurations that can improve conversion rates for home services companies:
- Route by time of call: Have calls forwarded to specific agents, locations, or IVRs based on your location hours.
- Route by geographic location: Send callers to the best agents or locations based on where they’re calling from.
- Route by service they’re interested in: Send callers to specific call center agents or locations based on the service they’re interested in.
- Route by where they are in the customer journey: Send callers to a particular call center or location based on where they are in the funnel. For instance, are they looking to book an appointment over the phone or are they asking post-appointment questions about a warranty?
- Prioritize high-intent callers: For example, send callers who called from inside your online appointment portal to the top of the queue so they’re answered right away.
Want to learn more tips to increase home services revenue? Read this case study to see how 1-800-GOT-JUNK? uses Invoca conversation intelligence to increase bookings and its conversion rates.