By Brian Sherman
In the past few years, the home services industry saw what felt like a decade’s worth of advancement. The pandemic demanded rapid change in how business is done, and trends toward virtual service offerings accelerated while traditionally offline businesses struggled to adapt.
When social distance protocols took effect, home services business owners recognized right away the glaring digital distance they had between them and their customers.
Their customers felt it, too.
From roofers and plumbers, to landscapers and contractors, businesses in the trades had to adapt quickly or get left behind. And the trend is not slowing down anytime soon.
To survive and grow into the future, you’ll need to embrace a new blueprint for how your business operates and meets your customers where they are.
Here is what your customers expect from your home services business today.
An Active, and Interactive, Online Presence
Businesses in the trades thrive on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. With an adaptation away from in-person social interaction post-COVID, your online presence could make up some of the “human” difference by showing up and helping people as a friend would. Here’s what we mean and where to apply this.
Sadly, less than 64% of small businesses have a website, but having a website alone is still not enough. Gone are the days of static, brochure-style websites that once typified traditional home services businesses.
Now, potential customers visit websites expecting an interactive experience. They want something personal and helpful (like a friend giving a referral) not just informative.
This is where helpful content, guides and an overall educational approach can position you to connect with and nurture your audience.
Social media is much more than a tool to promote your business. It is a place where your customers expect to actively communicate with you.
This means you need to be available on the platforms on which your business is listed. Respond to messages and comments as soon as possible.
As a home services business, you know the value of follow up. Post COVID, this is more important than ever.
Keep the conversation going with email. Nowadays, it takes at least seven touchpoints (some say 10-13) before a potential customer responds to your offer.
Email allows you to stay in front of your potential customers without being physically present, so when they are ready to decide, you’ll be the obvious choice. Capture their contact information through a form on your website and use automated email to nurture them toward a sale.
A Digital Service Experience
Easy, fast, seamless, online …
That’s what customers expect from home services businesses.
But there’s a problem. Your business has so many moving parts. Managing projects, talking with customers, setting appointments, sending appointment reminders, invoices, payments, receipts – the list is long. And that just includes everything that happens after someone is already a customer.
You also need to market your business, advertise, collect leads, follow up with those leads, etc. Post-COVID, your customers expect all of this to happen digitally. They want everything handled without them having to get off the couch.
Before you get overwhelmed thinking about how you can manage it all, there is a simple solution. And it’s not hiring three new employees to cover everything.
Thryv offers easy-to-use software for home services businesses to manage and modernize their business. It provides a seamless digital way to handle everything you need to run your business:
- Estimates, invoices and payments
- Scheduling and appointments
- Email automation
- Online presence and business listings
- Social media posting and management
Best of all, everything is done through one simple app, allowing you to manage your business from any device, anytime, anywhere.
It’s the fastest and most cost-effective way to make your home services business accessible to the modern consumer. In effect, you’ll easily stand out in a market struggling to adapt to post-COVID online expectations.
Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols
At this point, health and safety protocols like masks are a given for home services businesses. Home is a safe space, and electricians, movers, HVAC professionals – pretty much every home services business – will need to operate within the home. Safety and health are priorities your customers expect before they ever contact you.
However, think of ways you can go above and beyond to help your customers feel at ease with your service. If you are going to be in their home, what more can you provide in the way of cleanliness and safety?
These could include:
- Wearing a mask inside the home or anywhere on their property.
- Wearing shoe coverings inside the home.
- Cleaning and disinfecting any area in which you worked.
- Taking proper precautions such as medical testing prior to a job.
- Offering a virtual experience on any interaction that isn’t in-person necessary.
Sure, there are basic protocols which your customers expect. However, you also have an opportunity to go above and beyond and provide them with an experience they will remember.
A “Stress-Free” Service Experience
Each one of the pieces above are important, but when all of them are in place and working together, you do much more than provide your customers a service.
You give them relief.
Sure, that may sound a bit too poetic, but the truth is you will either make your customers’ lives better or you will contribute to the overwhelm they are already dealing with.
They no longer just want their problem solved. They want a seamless, stress-free experience in the process. In fact, many businesses are shifting their marketing to promote the stress-relieving experience of using their product service.
As a home services business, post-COVID, you must:
- Give customers a simple digital solution to traditionally offline options.
- Make each step of the process easy and automated when possible.
- Anticipate your customers’ needs.
- Leave them with not just a finished job, but peace of mind.
Sadly, the world has seen a dramatic increase in stress and anxiety. With so much looming uncertainty, the experience you offer your customers can be a light in the darkness.
The Opportunity for Your Home Services Business
If you’re realizing the gap between where you are and what your customers expect, there is good news. You can bridge that gap starting today.
The shift toward an increasingly digital experience is only accelerating. Now is the time to modernize your business, meet your customers where they are, and provide them with a stress-free experience.
Try Thryv today and see how it can move your business light years ahead (without the painful learning curve.) Here’s a free demo to get you started.