How to Get Your Field Service Company to Stand Out from CompetitorsBy Mahrukh Karimi on Friday, April 20, 2018
Are your customers choosing your field service company over your competitors?
When you run a business, chances are you have some competition. Because you work in field service, your customers are likely to be local. Competing for the same group of people with dedicated rivals can get tense, but have no fear—there’s no need for a western style showdown between you and the other guys! We’re breaking it down for you so you understand how and why your customers choose you over your competitors.
When looking to hire a field service company, your customers pay attention to three things:
Knowing what your customers are looking for is one thing, but understanding what these factors are and how they can result in you landing the job can make all the difference in setting you apart from your competition.
Establishing a trusting relationship between your field service company and customers can help in both developing leads and increasing the amount of customer retention. Establishing that trust, however, can be a tricky feat. “Trust” is in essence a product of human-to-human interaction. A company, while made up of hardworking people, is not an innately human entity. So your job is making it one. This can be done through your company directly, your technicians, and your customers.
Your company’s image can start with a simple google search. When someone types your company name into an internet browser, the search engine will spurt all the good, the bad, and the ugly attached to your field service business’ name. Your website, reviews, and social media collectively create your company “voice” and persona. Your online presence is key, particularly with millenials, the fastest growing group of homebuyers. Having an avid online presence establishes legitimacy.
Your website is a storefront for you, and often the only storefront customers familiarize themselves with when interacting with your field service business. Like any store, you want to make sure it is clean, presentable, and actively maintained. If you don’t, you might send potential customers running for the hills (and to your competitors)! Use your blog to show your knowledge on the field and angle your business as an expert and market leader in your field service industry.
Social media can be used to create a company voice, share company culture, and send out awesome deals. This all makes your business “real” and personable. Let your business’ personality shine through! Be fun and unique to get people to choose your field service company over your competitors.
It is likely that your technicians conduct the only face-to-face interactions your customers get to have with you field service company. Do not take the importance of this lightly! If your customers do not trust your technicians, they won’t trust your company. That means your competition will take what was already in your pocket.
At the very least, practicing honest business when it comes to pricing and service will establish a baseline of trust between your business and your customers. You can add to this by following up with your customers after a job is completed. Transparency is a wonderful tactic for establishing trust. Email your customers directly through your field service management software after each job with an overview of the job and pictures detailing what your crew did. Service that follows through is service that will get people to choose your field service company over your competitors!
DID YOU KNOW?
You can email your customers from Smart Service and iFleet letting them know you’re on your way to their location!
Word of mouth is possibly the oldest form of marketing. People tend to trust those they know, so recommendations from your customers can very well mean more leads for your field service business. While this giant game of “telephone” is all good and fun, modern changes in technology (hello smartphones) and the way people receive information (hello internet) means the game has changed as well.
The rules of the game, however, remain the same. While it’s no longer solely friends and family that relay reviews of your company, reviews are still heeded. Online reviews have taken over the way we shop for goods and services. Your field service company is no different. Websites like Yelp and Google provide an endless supply of experiences that new consumers can use in their purchasing decisions. So don’t forget to ask your customers to rate you online if they are happy with your service!
Keep your eye on those reviews. You never know when you’ll gain (or lose!) a customer because of .2 stars on Yelp. While this thought is scary, you can use this to your advantage. Reviews as a whole are not fickle. Averages tend to be fairly representative, so your awesome service will not go unnoticed. Schedule a time every week to see what reviews people are leaving you! If they are bad, see what you can do to fix the issue; sometimes customers can improve or delete their negative rating after a commendable follow-up. Similarly, create a system (like an email blast to customers you serviced in a given week) to regularly solicit positive reviews from your customers.
Making yourself as accessible as possible is important if you want to set your field service company as a better choice than competitors. After all, if your customers can’t find you, you’re not even in the running with your competition. Accessibility, while still tied into the old school concepts of proximity and convenience, also includes the less-obvious-but-arguably-more-important factor of visibility.
When choosing between your field service business and a competitor, convenience is certainly a deciding factor. This can include proximity, availability, and even available payment methods.
Proximity is a difficult factor to accommodate. You can only travel so far before servicing a customer ends up becoming a loss for your field service company. However, you can always have a special mileage fee for people who live out of the area. Some neighboring businesses even do trades, referring certain customers to each other if they are too far to service in-house. Friendly competitors are the best kind of competitors, aren’t they?
Most people have busy schedules with little leeway when it comes to appointments. Because people often wait until something goes wrong before calling you (we all know the type), emergency appointments need to be done now and only now. If you use a smart scheduler, you can find out exactly where you have openings, so you can fit in as many appointments as possible without worrying that you’ve accidentally double booked someone. If you have to cancel or reschedule, you’re increasing the chance of that customer turning to another company who can perform the service sooner.
Remaining open to different payment methods is necessary when running a modern-day field service business. No, we’re not talking about trading a maintenance service for some chicken eggs! Accept on-site card payments, cash, check, and—heck—even money transfer apps like Venmo or Paypal. The key is to be available and make payments as easy as possible for the customer.
Did you know that according to psychology, the more visible you are, the more people like you? Being on the minds of customers will increase the chance of them choosing your field service company over your competitors. This visibility can be achieved with traditional and nontraditional advertising.
Traditional advertising includes email marketing, commercials, billboards, wrapped vehicles, and more. Nontraditional is a little bit trickier. Filling your website and blog with SEO and social media content will bring more people to your website, where you can easily advertise your field service business, spending next to nothing out of pocket. It is also important to have an online presence so you are available when your customers search for a field service company to hire. If they can’t find you, they can’t hire you. Don’t give customers a reason to choose your competition over you!
Whether you go with traditional or nontraditional advertising (or preferably both!), be sure to maintain a consistent voice and presence. The goal is to be recognizable and available. So stay funny and keep up with it too! Posting intermittently will not do much in terms of gaining new field service leads.
We all know that money talks. Whether that be in regards to you choosing an awesome field service software or your customers choosing an awesome field service company, sometimes it can come down to the numbers. However, just because it may be down to the digits, it doesn’t mean that numbers are all that counts. In addition to low prices, packages and unique products can also help seal a deal.
Having lower prices than your competitors is always an advantage, but when you have mouths to feed and your employees’ pockets to fill, dramatically undercutting your competitors isn’t always an option. However, low prices are not the only option when it comes to sealing the deal. Package deals can help lower overall costs for customers while you increase profits for your field service business. Field service packages can include multiple services in a single package for a discounted price, or even a recurring service membership.
Your field service company could even offer a unique service or product. If there is a market for that product or service and your business is the only one who offers it, you have more room to charge what you would like for that. If you’re the only HVAC company in the area that offers smart system setup, that is a feature you would want to accentuate. You could even throw in an Amazon Alexa to incentivize the package further! Being the only one in the market for a unique (and wanted) product or service eliminates the decision making for your customers as there is no competition.
When people choose your field service company, that means they are choosing you over somebody else. Understanding what factors into that decision making process allows you to step higher than your competitors and increase your field service business profits. Through establishing trust, increasing accessibility, and strategizing your prices, you can leave your competitors biting dust and help people choose your field service company over theirs.