Today’s homeowner is looking for a high level of customer service and technology can help. According to a study by PwC, 86% of today’s buyers will pay more for a great customer experience. They want it to be as easy, convenient, and helpful as possible, yet they’re also harder to reach and engage. Knowing how to deal with changes in consumer expectations and behavior is a challenge for companies across all industries—lawn care included. Using technology not only helps makes customer service better, it’s necessary for long-term business survival.
Without technology, it’s nearly impossible for a company to grow and stay competitive. Technology solutions help lawn care contractors keep customers better informed, complete jobs quicker, and get paid faster. Software also makes the contractor look more professional compared to traditional, handwritten notes, quotes, or receipts.
What customer data is saying
Data shows that consumers look for things like online booking, quick responses, proof of a strong reputation, and convenience when selecting a contractor. If you’re operating a small business, here are some statistics that could help you win more business, according to a Jobber survey of 1,000 U.S. adults:
- 59% of consumers aged 25-44 prefer to schedule appointments via email, an online platform, or a mobile app;
- 50% of consumers would be turned off from using a small home service business if they had slow response times;
- 24% of consumers think that small businesses struggle with customer communication.
Providing instant answers to customer questions can be a struggle. For smaller businesses, there are times when all crew members are in the field and unable to respond. Although many larger lawn care businesses employ office administrators to manage day-to-day customer communication, this also has its own set of challenges. The bigger the company, the more customers they need to service and communicate with regularly. Software can ease this by automating key points of communication, like texts letting homeowners know when crews are on their way. It can also send automatic quote follow-ups to close the loop on any outstanding bids.
Other features such as online booking offer a better experience for the customer, as well as the business, by getting rid of the need for back and forth communication.
Online and onsite payments
Eighty-seven percent of consumers said they prefer to make payments with a debit or credit card as opposed to cash. What’s more, 28% of consumers wouldn’t hire a small business if they didn’t offer different payment options. By providing online and onsite options, customers are happier, you get paid faster, and you set your business apart from competitors. For monthly, recurring work, you can get paid even quicker—and maintain steady cash flow—by automatically charging a customer’s credit card on file using a payment processor like Jobber Payments.
The power of online reviews
With so many options out there, lots of customers look to online reviews when selecting a contractor. Collecting (positive) ratings and reviews are super important for every small business. In fact, the survey found that 52% of consumers wouldn’t book a small business that had bad online ratings. It’s also important to have the ability to request that customers rate your service online. An automated email to homeowners asking for a review after a completed job can help ensure you get credit for your good work. It’s an easy ask, but one that can often fall by the wayside if the message is not set up to send automatically.
Upselling like a pro
Many contractors focus on finding new clients to increase sales but often overlook opportunities with existing clients. For example, it is five times more expensive to get a new customer to spend the same amount of money as an existing customer. So, the ability to upsell relies on keeping existing customers informed of all your business services.
Having the right tools in place to send ongoing marketing material is critical to grow your business. One of the most common ways is collecting the email addresses of existing and future customers in a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Integrating the CRM with a marketing solution allows you to create professional-looking email campaigns that can be sent to specific groups. The campaigns can focus on seasonal offerings, discounts, and more. It’s a light lift that can result in great business outcomes.
With email campaigns, businesses can maintain client lists and engage with top customers throughout the year. Creating these emails doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple email reminders informing clients of seasonal maintenance, appointment bookings, and add-on services is all it takes to grow revenue. Whether businesses are gearing up for a busy season or just want to stay in touch, contacting customers through consistent email campaigns is one of the most cost-effective sales and marketing strategies out there.
Increasing your social media presence
Keeping up with the latest social media channels can take up a lot of time. But you don’t need to take advantage of all social networks to see results. Experiment with a couple of channels to decide which ones get the most engagement and results. Then commit to using it. For lawn care and landscaping, visual platforms like Instagram can be very effective. For example, posting before and after images of a job site will give your followers an inside look into completed jobs and an opportunity to engage with current and future customers. On average, 66% of customers say the presence of social media increased their likelihood of purchasing, according to a TrustPilot survey. Customers need help with purchase decisions, and social presence offers an authentic look into a company.
From the customer perspective, competition can often seem very similar—most companies can get the job done competently. It’s up to small businesses to set themselves apart by providing consistent and convenient services and staying top-of-mind. With the right software, small businesses can more easily navigate changing customer preferences, reach them effectively, and scale their business in the process.
Cadeau is the Chief Revenue Officer at Jobber, a venture-backed home services software company that helps small businesses deliver more than $6 billion annually in services to more than 10 million people. Cadeau is responsible for the company’s global growth strategy and leads the sales, marketing, business operations, and customer success teams. He has nearly 15 years of experience holding C-level positions at high-growth technology companies.