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A Service Model Pivot: From Selling A Product To Selling An Experience

Are the kids dressed for school? Check.
Are their lunches made? Check.
Ready for the big work presentation? Check.
Great–off we go, just lock the door and-oops, lock the door and- wait, why won’t this work?

And that’s when it happens: something breaks, at the worst possible moment, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it but ask for professional help.

Whether called upon to repair a busted door, or vacuum a basement full of water–home service companies often assume they are in the business of selling their product (fixing problems), when in fact, they are being asked to deliver much more–a transparent, seamless experience that solves their customer’s problems WITHOUT interrupting their lives.

The juggling act

Following her unsuccessful duel with the door, Colleen is now left scrambling to redirect her schedule. On cue, one of her kids starts crying about their outfit – “I don’t want to wear a jacket!” – the other little one stoically looks on, half asleep, half oblivious to the situation. Somehow, Colleen gets her kids down to the bus stop in time–winning one small battle–only to discover that during her pursuit she split her pants suit. Life 1, Collen 0.

Each day people constantly fight hundreds of challenges hidden from plain sight. Competing demands, ever-decreasing time, all compound into creating one stressed-out customer by the time the home technician arrives.

Knowing that we all have a million things going on, home service companies should always assume that a customer call is much more than the job itself. In fact, phoning for help is often the last resort for many homeowners. Customers have already attempted to fix their problem and failed, many times.

Customers like Colleen, need their home contractors to seem invisible, diligently working in the background of their lives, and barely noticeable.

It’s the experience that gets remembered

After Colleen made the call for help at 8:00 am, she was told that the technician would arrive sometime during the “morning”. Having to improvise, Colleen was able to convince her boss to let her work from home.

Just when she is logged into Skype, and ready to present her project to her team, the contractor knocks on the broken door. It’s now 12:15 pm–a little over four hours since her call. Having spent the previous 45 minutes circling the block looking for Colleen’s hidden driveway, the repairman is irritated for having poor directions and no customer contact number. Two strangers, meeting at their worst point of the day.

The situation above should never get to that point for any home repair job. Contractors need to know where and what type of problems they are answering. Likewise, customers cannot be left stranded, and forced to reshuffle their lives. There is a better way to remedy the problems of both customer and client by using smart, digital technologies that enable transparent and efficient customer experiences.

Colleen should be able to message or call her contractor at any time and share important information like how to easily identify her hidden driveway (directly across the street from the blue birdhouse), or what time actually works best for her schedule. She should be able to track the technician’s arrival in real-time so she’s not caught off guard and asked to put her life on pause when she sees the truck pulls into her driveway.

Luckily, those wishes are actual realities for home service companies that use Dispatch. Through simple mobile messaging and tracking, both customer and client are connected from the moment that initial call is made, enabling home service companies to deliver a positive first impression that only gets better from there.

Connecting the dots

This time, Collen visits the home repair company’s website and selects the best three times that work well for her schedule. After clicking submit, she receives a text message confirming her appointment. Then on the day of service, she gets appointment reminders and an ‘On-My-Way’ notification showing a live map of where the home technician is. Before arriving, Colleen sends the tech some pictures of the refrigerator, so he is well informed of the problem that awaits him. Arriving exactly when Colleen wants him to be there, the repairman quietly sets off to work. After the job is complete, he provides a recap both in person to Colleen, and by email or SMS. Using just her phone, Colleen rates her technician and experience with the tap of her finger and offers additional feedback of gratitude and appreciation. From start to end, Colleen’s experience was positive and most of all she felt in control and informed the entire time.

All of the tiny details that go into delivering a positive customer experience is just as important as getting the job done. If a contractor fixes a customer’s problem, but ignores their schedule and needs, then ultimately the company’s brand takes a hit–and the next time the customer needs help, he/she will remember that poor experience and call a different company, somebody that sells not just a product, but an experience.

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