From the perspective of some, the trades, those jobs performed by technicians, such as plumbing, electrics, HVAC, and the like, might seem like they haven’t changed that much over the years. The equipment that you and your team work with might be different, but the job still requires, as it always has, sending the person with the right skills to the right location to make the necessary fixes. As such, it is somewhat easy for technicians to get comfortable with more traditional working arrangements.
But modern business is about convenience and service, not just getting the job done. As such, here are a few ways that you can ensure that you’re bringing the kind of quality of service that the modern customer expects.
Widen your base with digital marketing
Digital technology is, of course, the big modernizing tool when it comes to most industries, and this goes for your business in the trades as well. We’re going to look at a lot of different ways that can improve how you operate, but perhaps the simplest way is using digital marketing to increase your conversions. There is more money being spent on tradespeople than ever, but if you’re not seeing the increase in revenue over the years that you would expect, it’s a sign that you might need to take your marketing to social media, to create a website, and to make sure your message is getting out there through the online world.
Keep your website up-to-date
If you’re thinking that the last tip doesn’t apply to you because you already have a website, then you need to think again. It’s worth taking the time to update your website not only because the visuals and content might be dated, but because there are a host of features you can implement into your website to make it a much more effective tool for bringing customers in. This can include things like automated website assistants, such as AI chatbots like those from Zyra, that can answer a wide range of customer queries and direct them to the right webpage or to the right person who can help them based on what they’re looking for. For service providers, online schedules and quotation tools can be more specific to your needs, still.
When you’re working with a team of people, any mistakes and inefficiencies in communication can lead to mistakes being made, tasks being incomplete, and other issues that can lead to dissatisfied customers. To that end, you should ensure that your team has a unified communications platform to always be on the same page. Rather than using disparate tools, like a mix of calls, emails, and IMs, you can tie it all to one platform like team communication software. There are also industry-specific tools that can help you tie in dispatch, job progress updates, and more. Whichever tool you decide to use, make sure that it’s used uniformly across the board to get the best results out of it. Any stragglers using other communication methods will lead to the same risk of inefficiency and error.
Loop customers in with a VoIP system
The communications tools mentioned above are largely for the benefit of internal communication with your own team. If you want to make sure that the customer benefits, then you have to make it easier for them to reach a member of the team. If you want to avoid the mistake of putting the customer on hold for minutes on end (and thus potentially losing that customer), then you may want to make use of a VoIP (or Voice over Internet Protocol) system, like 4sight Comms. This way, customers can call the office but, even if no one is there to take the call, can use a digital system to get put through to the person that’s next best suited to help them. It can also make it easier for members of your team to call one another.
Sharpen your operations
Think of how you run your business as a collection of tasks. With the right software to help you streamline the workflow of those tasks, then you can get a lot more productive. You can also identify and eliminate the inefficiencies that often come with those tasks, making for more cost-effective operations across the board. Technician management tools like BuildOps can come with a host of tools to help you better manage your team and their time. This can include dispatch tools, as well as project management tools for bigger and more collaborative tasks within the business.
Make it easier for customers to pay
Given that a lot of the work done by technicians is done by your team at the home or property belonging to your customers, you should keep that in mind when it comes time for them to pay. Those who work by invoices can use portable invoicing software to generate them then and there, making sure that the customer receives them and agrees to the costs shown on the invoice. You should also ensure that your team is equipped with some form of portable point-of-sale, whether this means a device specifically for taking card payments or an app that will allow customers to pay through digital storefronts is up to you.
Make your customers’ decisions easier to make
Of course, before your customer pays you, they have to agree to work with you in the first place. Convincing them of the quality of your services and that you can, indeed, help them is one thing. But they are also going to want to know how much it’s going to cost them. If you’re not able to offer clear and accurate estimates of your work, then it’s not likely they will become repeat customers if they convert in the first place. Make sure that, aside from the right tools for making quotes, your team is aware of the different elements of pricing a job that goes into providing an accurate answer while also generating a profit.
Keep customers in the loop
With the smartphone in their palm, it’s easier for customers to stay clued into the services that they order from businesses of all kinds, and this can include yours. You can improve customer satisfaction and reduce points of uncertainty or doubt in your relationship with them by making it easier for them to get updates on appointment scheduling, team dispatches, and other notifications. You can keep them in the loop so that they don’t have to worry that there is no progress being made on delivering them the services they are paying for. With full-fledged customer portals, you can also help them see their own accounts, complete with service histories, invoices, and more.
Keep track of your money
Being able to keep an eye on and manage your costs is one of the most important aspects of ensuring that your team stays profitable. Accounting and bookkeeping are vital for your business, but it shouldn’t only be done in bursts at the office. With the aforementioned technician management tools, you can choose those that have accounting functionality built into them so that you’re able to keep track of costs, revenues, and accounts no matter where you are, or at what time of day. You can make it easier for your team to submit receipts and reports so that your cash flow and accounts are always as up-to-date as possible and always accurate.
Get more insight from the work your team does
One of the big benefits of modern trade industry software is that it can provide better access to and insights from the data that your team produces as they work. You can get data on aspects such as costs, time spent on jobs, and more, that can be used to gain insight into trends and patterns that can allow you to make better decisions that lead to more money earned. Tools like the technician management tools mentioned above have reporting tools that allow your team to contribute to real-time visibility into the performance of the business so that you can eliminate inefficiencies and improve profitability.
Benefit more from happy customers
Many of the tips above can help you increase your customer satisfaction, but you can benefit from it a lot more than just encouraging them to use your services again. By encouraging them to leave reviews and testimonials, be it directly with you or with the most-trusted and widely-used review sites online, you can use their goodwill and positive experience as a means of winning over further customers. Most customers check online reviews before making the final decision about who they work with. For a lot of customers, all it takes is a prompt. If they’re happy with your service, they might be happy to leave a review, all you have to do is ask them.
Of course, above all else, getting the job done well is what matters. However, with the tips above, you can make sure that modern technology and tips are being used to strengthen your business.