This explains my plea to service providers.
The other day I noticed a wet spot in my closet. My fiance and I live in a tiny apartment (or glorified shoebox depending on how you see it) in the North End of Boston. Over the past 4-years, we have had our fair share of issues with the apartment. When something like this happens I call my landlord (who lives overseas) and tell him what needs to be fixed. He always responds with, “Okay, just schedule a fix, pay for it, and take it off of rent.”
So I type “home service repair” into Google and find the highest-rated service company. After I call them and leave a message, I get a call back to schedule my appointment. At that moment, I realized that most service providers unknowingly neglect the most important thing about “home service” – the experience.
So, this is my plea to service providers, OEMs, or any company that offers in-home service.
Please listen to this plea…
My blood doesn’t boil because my pipes are leaking, my blood boils because of the moments between where I’m left in the dark with little to no communication from the service companies. These moments are the “experiences” that every home service company neglects – the hopeless minutes homeowners feel when waiting for the technician to arrive.
Modern companies have noticed that we live in a customer-centric world and customers now expect to be kept in the loop about everything! They want to know:
- Who is arriving?
- When will they be arriving?
- What do they look like?
- Can I leave feedback?
- Can I communicate with them ahead of time?
- Can I easily reschedule or cancel the appointment?
- Can I do everything on my phone?
With consumer expectations rising, it’s time to demand more of your brand and deliver a modern customer experience.
In this post, we break down how to turn those hopeless moments into tech-driven memorable experiences.
Step 1: The moment a customer needs help
Ask yourself this, how frustrating is it when companies make it difficult to schedule an appointment? You search for the “book now” button only to realize that they don’t have one. So you dial the dispatcher, wait for someone to call back, and schedule a time that most likely isn’t built around your schedule but theirs. Nothing about this sounds like an optimal customer experience does it?
The importance of customer experience in the age of instant gratification is now higher than ever, hence this plea to service providers.
How to fix step 1:
Simple. Build in a process that allows homeowners to schedule appointments with your company at a time and date that works best for them. Here’s what you do – add a “Book Now” button that takes homeowners to a form where they can share details about their need, fill out their contact information, select the best days and times that work well for them, and easily send their service request with a click of a button.
Then, and this is the most important part, the company sends the homeowner a text message confirming that they received the service request. This immediate communication lets the homeowner know that you have their best intentions in mind and you’re on it. It adds a little bode of confidence in their mind that your brand has everything under control.
Step 2: The moment the customer starts to feel left in the dark
How annoying is it when you text someone a question and they don’t get back for a few days? You start thinking – Are they mad at me? Was I too pushy? Why aren’t they responding? The silence messes with your rationality and just like any other human being you craft a narrative that explains/justifies their silence – often based on zero evidence.
The same goes for service companies. When I schedule an appointment and don’t hear anything from the company for a while, I begin thinking:
- “Did they forget about my appointment and do I need to call to confirm?”
- “Did I actually submit my request?”
- “Is this the right company to go with?”
So what do customers typically do? They call to confirm that the company got their request.
This weekend, I witnessed this exact thing. Before a scheduled carpet cleaning, the homeowner called to confirm that the appointment is still on. I thought to myself, why is it that people assume service companies will inevitably forget about them? It’s not the same in other industries. I don’t call my airline to make sure my ticket is still valid before my flight, so why should I call a home service company to confirm my appointment after it’s already been scheduled? It’s because we’re nurtured to expect a late technician or worse, a no-show.
This stems from the infrequent communication service providers have with their customers, causing homeowners’ latitude of patience to become exceptionally thin.
How to fix step 2:
It’s easy. Implement a tool like Dispatch and send automatic status updates to customers through SMS and/or email. Companies can pop off appointment confirmations, status updates, appointment reminders, on-my-way appointment notifications, feedback surveys, and much more. All of this helps your customers feel informed, aware, and most of all valued.
Step 3: The moment a customer can’t leave feedback
Before I purchase anything (product or service), I read online reviews. I do it before I buy online, and I do it while I buy in-store. I want to know what others are saying. I want to know what type of experience they had. I want to know if 3-weeks later the person still found value in it. I’m very willing to go to yelp or Google and leave a positive review if I had a good experience, and won’t be writing this plea to service providers. Here’s a review I left after getting my tires changed.
I also left it on Yelp…
I wanted to blast it everywhere because I had a great experience and I want to push as many businesses as possible to the companies I enjoy. Most modern customers want their opinion voiced when someone does a good or poor job. It’s just the world we live in! The stigma here is that people only use reviews for negative things…this simply isn’t true. Case in point, look at all the reviews Car Zone has.
How to fix step 3:
Most companies don’t like asking for reviews – which is okay. Dispatch removes that awkward moment with a survey link that is authentically sent the moment a job is complete. So now you can collect every possible review and begin to solidify yourself as an excellent company to do business with.
As a customer, if I’m presented with a quick survey on my phone, I’m much more likely to fill it out – versus getting a link and having to type it in online.
Because of Dispatch’s feedback flow, they’ve helped companies increase their survey feedback response rate by 220%.
So if you’re a company and you’re looking to improve your last-mile customer experience then check us out. Everything presented here is why we exist as an organization. We strive to help home service companies deliver memorable customer experiences.
To learn more, request a demo.