Home improvement service providers have experienced one of the bright spots in business throughout 2020 as people sought to spruce up the homes that they were suddenly spending a lot more time in. Since March 2020, home services companies have seen an average 150% increase in inbound calls, according to Invoca call volume data. Our consumer survey also showed that there was an 85% increase in consumers shopping online for home services. Of course, given the high-stakes, high-touch nature of they buying journey, many of those shopping online will end up calling your business in order to get the advice they need to complete their purchase.
As the home services business continues to rebound and grow throughout 2021, you have to be ready to capitalize on an influx of inquiries and be able to adapt rapidly changing customer needs. Here are a few tips to help you respond during what’s shaping up to be a busy year.
You Have to Pick Up the Phone When Customers Call
I know that this one sounds pretty obvious — if you don’t pick up the phone when someone calls, you can’t convert the lead. And you significantly increase the chances that people will call your competition instead. The problem is, you might not be answering as many of your inbound sales calls as you think.
When polled, home services companies thought they answered 97% of their calls, which would be really good. But the reality is that their call answer rate was just 66%, according to pay-per-call provider Service Direct. That’s a lot of leads leaking out of the sales funnel. Given the high average transaction price for most home services companies, not picking up calls is going to cost you. A lot.
Here’s how to make sure that you are answering more of your calls and converting more callers into customers.
Use Call Tracking to Dynamically Route Calls
If your home services business has many different locations, dealers, service providers, or call centers, you have to make sure that your calls are being routed to the right place. With Invoca’s call tracking platform, you can improve call conversion and answer rates by getting your callers to the right destination quickly to ensure the best possible experience. You can set rules to filter and route callers based on time of day, caller location, digital source, and even your own CRM or product SKU data.
Watch this video to see how you can personalize call routing with Invoca.
To simplify routing calls and collecting call outcome data for businesses that have many locations, Invoca has also developed a solution that eliminates the old multi-destination call tracking headaches and swaps the tedious manual setup with technology that detects and routes calls automatically and makes updates to local network information a snap. You can read more about our multi-destination call tracking and call routing technology here.
Closely Monitor Your Call Performance
According to Service Direct’s research, the average home service provider could experience a 54% increase in new business just by answering 100% of their phone calls without any increase to their existing marketing budget. By consistently tracking call answer rates and conversion rates, you can make more informed marketing and call center operational decisions.
By using a call tracking and conversational analytics platform like Invoca, both the call center and marketing can get a better view of call performance. This is especially true because in the call center, you have access to the entire range of unfiltered customer emotions. They’re asking real questions because they don’t understand your product. They are telling you all about the problems they are having, and they are not going to hold back because they want to get it solved.
This is where you can start to establish some patterns. When the first 20 people call with an issue, say, navigating your website, you might think “woah, that’s weird.” Then you see 5,000 people are having the exact same issue and you know that you have a problem on your hands.
The best marketers will pay attention to this and you can monitor this performance at scale with technology like Invoca Signal AI and Signal Discovery. With Signal AI, you can detect call outcomes like sale made or appointment set and deliver that data in real time to your CRM, advertising, and analytics platforms. This gives the call center the data they need to measure their effectiveness and create more complete customer profiles, while marketing gets the conversion data they need to optimize online campaigns.
Debris removal service provider 1-800-GOT-JUNK? uses Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform to reliably match customer calls to outcomes, so that its franchise partners can be more confident their ad dollars for paid search campaigns represent money well spent. As a result of Invoca’s help in closing the marketing attribution loop, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has seen bookings increase by 10%, without any incremental spend. The call conversion rate also has risen by 20%, and the number of booked calls has increased by 30%. “These are fantastic results for a business our size,” said Marie Fitzgibbon, Director, Acquisition for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Watch this video to learn more.
Improving Remote Contact Center Agent Performance
We have seen many contact centers go fully remote during the pandemic, and many may not be returning to their physical locations. At first this was out of necessity, but when companies operating contact centers discovered that productivity and service quality was not negatively impacted, it opened a lot of eyes to a better way of doing things. There are a lot of advantages to running remote contact centers. Of course, you don't have to pay for the real estate to house hundreds of agents, which drastically reduces call center costs. Even more advantageous is the massive expansion of the talent pool, as you can hire people who live anywhere, in every time zone.
Of course, remote contact centers come with some challenges, namely monitoring call quality and coaching remote agents. Even in physical contact centers, coaching is hit-and-miss because it depends on a combination of managers listening over agent's shoulders and listening to hundreds of call recordings. Call center agent scoring is usually performed by manually listening to a small sample of calls—often under 2% of them—and scoring the agents on those calls. From there, you discover some agents that need coaching and others who are doing well.
There are lots of pitfalls to this, though. You miss the opportunity to score thousands of calls. You're likely only focusing on what's going wrong, not what's working well, so you aren't properly recognizing and rewarding your best agents, which isn't great for morale. And then there's bias. Contact center managers are likely to focus only on their favorite and least favorite agents, so objectivity is difficult if not impossible when scoring agent performance manually.
Tools like Invoca's conversation intelligence solution for sales helps solve this problem by analyzing and scoring every single agent call right when the call ends. Since AI is handling the analysis, scoring is accurate and objective. You can also spot specific coachable moments in calls and immediately notify agents and show them what they can do to improve their performance to better serve your customers. Learn more about Invoca for Sales here.
Make Sure You Can Rapidly Adapt to Changing Customer Needs
During the pandemic, we have frequently heard that customer needs and behaviors are changing by the minute, depending on what the news of the day is. In this rapidly evolving market, the need for accurate marketing measurement and monitoring customer sentiment is more important than ever.
For example, we have worked with some of our customers to add COVID Signals to their Invoca platforms so they can adapt their marketing and help their call center agents adjust their scripts to customer concerns.
By monitoring phone conversations for mentions of terms like “coronavirus” or “COVID” our customers were able to prepare their call centers to have these conversations and adapt marketing messaging depending on how often their customers were mentioning it and what the outcome of those calls were. Some had actually found that these mentions were actually correlated to calls with higher conversion rates, highlighting the importance of knowing how to handle these calls when they come in.