Since 2020, COVID-19 has caused radical shifts in the way consumers engage with home services providers. We’ll discuss the multiple factors as result of the pandemic that have affected how consumers search for home service providers and why you should keep them in mind. To thrive in 2023, 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 2023, as well as how a call tracking solution can help you capitalize on them.
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.
What’s the first thing a homeowner does when shopping for a home service provider? A vast majority go straight to the internet to start researching. Whether it’s Yelp, Google, or communication platforms like Nextdoor to ask for referrals from neighbors, online searching is their go-to source and it’s increasing every year.
The increasing online search volume is sure to increase the call volume at your contact centers, so be sure your teams have both the coverage and the resources to provide differentiating customer service.
Once customers have chosen their vendors, calling to schedule appointments for inspections and estimates is often the next step. 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 eased, many consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of contacting home services providers via phone calls. Therefore, call volume is likely to remain higher than it was during previous years, as consumers will continue using this channel to get information and make appointments.
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 2023. 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.
Performance has become more of a priority for homeowners since the COVID outbreak. Focus on home improvements, maintenance, and emergency repairs has been on the rise since social interaction has been more restricted. The combined total addressable market of $595 billion, up from $506 billion, is at an all time high as homeowners are making their homes more comfortable for the long haul.
This is an opportunity that cannot be ignored by your marketing and sales teams. Even with the market somewhat slowing, it is still forecasted to grow into 2023 and still remain higher than 2022.
Almost every industry on the globe has been affected by supply chain issues as a result of the pandemic. It’s simple supply and demand. With our major coastal ports backlogged with cargo ships, our Canadian borders stalled, and home repairs on the rise, even items as simple as plywood have quadrupled in price. Hopefully, the COVID numbers will continue to decline, and normalcy will allow the prices to ease for homeowners who want to continue to make improvements on their homes.
Competitive supply pricing can be your business’s differentiator when it comes to attracting new customers. If you can find creative ways to reduce your costs without compromising your quality, it just may give you the edge you need in this market.
The obstacles keep piling up! To make home improvements even MORE complicated, the available labor force (e.g. carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.) has taken a blow as well. Veteran tradespeople are reaching retirement age and not enough up-and-comers are around to replace them. Anywhere from 1%-11% of available trade workers has decreased in the last 4 years. This is partly due to highschools promoting higher education and not trade programs as a viable option after graduation.
Transparency with your customers is critical. If you’re managing a labor issue yourself, don’t make deadline promises you can’t keep! You’re not facing this issue alone, so making realistic and honest predictions with scheduling and completion dates will be appreciated by your customers.
Your happy customers are an incredible asset to utilize, especially when competing with other home repair companies. Review sites, like Yelp, can be a blessing and a curse so it’s vital to manage your customer reviews and comments. Offering a discount on parts or labor in exchange for a high marks review or referral can be one strategy to build trust with other potential customers shopping for service. It’s also important to maintain a good relationship with previous customers when the inevitable leaky roof or demolition job comes up!
Positive reviews will only increase your legitimacy and trust from potential customers shopping for a vendor. Adding before/after pictures can give potential customers an idea of your work ethic, capabilities, and style.
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 2023, 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.
Customers still need that personal touch when it comes to service and your contact center could be the final deciding factor that converts a potential customer to a paying one. It’d be a crying shame to lose a consumer at this point in their journey, so a strong and coherent marketing strategy that gets them across the finish line is key.
Homeowners are overcoming enough hurdles to get their projects done as it is. The last thing you want to do is lose a potential customer because your contact centers are ill-prepared or understaffed, so we’ve provided some strategies to help them be more successful.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking is an Oregon-based construction company with more than 40 years of experience in the industry. About half of their leads came through phone calls, but their marketing team didn’t have a system in place to gather data about where the leads were driven from.
Taylor Pawley, their director of marketing, needed to understand how potential customers were being driven to their contact centers. With Invoca’s help, Pawley and her marketing team were now able to track which of their campaigns were driving phone leads, reduce their cost per lead by 70%, and double the total number of leads from their marketing initiatives.
Invoca’s automated quality assurance also improved coaching for the sales agents. Now that they were driving more phone leads, they wanted to make sure their enhanced customer experience continued with the sales teams successfully converting.
“Some marketers put all their energy into driving leads and don’t think too much about what happens after that. But our success also depends on the sales team converting those leads. Invoca helps us connect sales and marketing to ensure we’re creating the best possible experience for our customers,” said Pawley.
Over three years, Invoca increased Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking's revenue by 73%.
Read the full Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking Case Study here
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.