The home services industry has an estimated value at anywhere between $400 billion and $800 billion, a pot of gold that is attracting some behemoth companies such as Google and Amazon to a pool of directories that includes Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack.
Not just for SMBs, these directories are critical for large national brands like Orkin or ServiceMaster, helping homeowners connect with contractors at a local level. Without clear attribution for offline and online conversions, it’s impossible to have true visibility into which source is driving the most traffic.
1) Choose the Best Directory with Call Analytics
Tracking the phone call is a key piece of that attribution puzzle simply because homeowners phone when they need to hire a contractor. ⅔ of people find it very important to phone a business when researching or purchasing local services1. Without call tracking, businesses will be hard pressed to know which directory is the highest performer.
Many directories have call tracking numbers as a part of an advertiser package, making it easy for advertisers to know how the directory is performing. Most call detail reports include the date, the time of call, the length, and the caller’s phone number and see which ones were leads (typically a longer phone call) and which ones were worthless calls.2) Engage Customers with Timely Text Messages
Automatically triggered text messages can help businesses recover lost leads or continue the conversation. For companies without a call center, text messages can be triggered to be sent after missed calls: “We’re sorry we missed your call. Do you need lawncare? Type “Y” for yes.” Instead of the homeowner turning to the next listing in the directory, they can make an appointment with your businesses through texting.
Text messages can also be used to confirm appointments: “Thank you for booking an appointment with us. Type “Y” to receive updates.” Or they can be used to send reminders: “You haven’t booked with us for a while. Do you need lawncare?”
Like calls, all text messages are included in reports and the success of customer engagement can be accurately measured and acted upon.
3) Set Aside Time Today to Make a Better Tomorrow
In order for call analytics and text messaging to work, they need to be regularly revisited and assessed. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes a week to view call reports and make decisions based on how each listing is performing. This is also the time to take a look at new options for marketplaces.
Does it make sense to place a listing on Amazon, Google or even pursue a partnership with an app subscription service? Instead of a one-time fee, homeowners pay a monthly rate to receive a range of services, when they need it.
Apps and text messaging with the customer will shape the future of home services when smart homes become the norm. Instead of homeowners searching for and hiring contractors, a connected home full of smart appliances with sensors that remind homeowners when they need to be serviced or of breakdowns. On their smartphone, homeowners will choose from a list of recommended businesses, who will be hired with a click.
It will happen sooner than any of us think. By 2020, Gartner predicts that there will be approximately 25 billion internet-enabled devices and millions of those will be used to help consumers automate their homes. Call analytics is the training ground for a fully automated home services business model.
1. Google | Ipsos. “The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase.” Sept. 2013