Like every other sector, the field service industry has experienced significant upheaval during the COVID-19 crisis. Safety has become the top priority among consumers, especially with the concerns regarding the Delta variant in certain areas.
Whether you’re in the plumbing, fire and security, renewables, HVAC, or electrical industry, your business has likely undergone some form of digital transformation to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
On a positive note, you may have actually observed a spike in demand during lockdowns. With more people staying at home, field service businesses handling cleaning, plumbing, and HVAC have had to service more clients.
To sustain this growth, it’s essential to meet clients’ expectations when it comes to thoughtful communication through marketing. We’ve asked communications expert, Ashlyn Shaun, to share some of her insights and help you increase your profits:
Understand your niche
The primary goal of marketing is to attract potential customers, so you need to have an in-depth knowledge of your target audience. You can’t fulfill their needs if you don’t know what they actually are. Creating a detailed customer persona by taking a look at the people who have hired you in the past and what their problems are is very important.
This can provide you with a top-down view of their lifestyles, behaviors, and pain points, which you can then use to draw more insights. You can even check your customer base to see how many people haven’t done business with you in the past 18 months or so, and find out the reason they didn’t book your services again. Once you’ve gathered enough information about your clientele, their demographics, interests, and preferences, you can make better marketing campaigns and find quality leads. Maybe your niche is young, tech-savvy professionals working from home, who prefer using on-demand scheduling technology for as little hassle as possible.
This way, you can craft your brand message and communication strategies in a way that translates to your target market. You can also identify areas you can expand in; aside from young professionals, it could also be smart to appeal to Gen Zers who still live with their parents. If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, it’s that we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket.
Prepare a realistic marketing budget
To determine what is “profitable” marketing for your business, it’s important to run through your numbers first. This allows you to plan around your business and see if your strategy can actually earn you money. One problem many field service businesses face is the temptation to compare their budgets with their competitors, but this can be detrimental as each business is unique. There are several factors that will determine a business’ budget, as well as its performance standards, so you have to look at your own metrics. With the resources available in the digital space, it’s easier to create realistic marketing budgets. You can consult professionals from online accounting programs as they can evaluate your expenses and revenue growth correctly and more importantly, accurately. Their experience in financial reporting, auditing, and advanced managerial accounting — along with their tech know-how — can help you understand your numbers so you can set better goals for your ROI.
Based on current and historical expenses, they can prepare a cost-efficient budget and advise you on which aspects of your strategy aren’t profitable. Your marketing efforts and budget should not be isolated from the rest of your business costs.
Work on your digital assets
Moving forward, it’s unlikely that businesses will return to traditional methods when it comes to client outreach — the days of reaching for a phonebook are long gone. Digital touchpoints are here to stay, and your online presence is vital to let existing and potential customers keep in touch with your business. Most people find field service businesses through search engines like Google, social media sites, and different review platforms.
Ensuring a smooth user experience across all channels is key. Think of your website as your digital storefront; it should include your business information like contact details and operating hours. You should also have a catalog of the services you offer, as well as relevant content to establish your company as an industry expert.
Beyond that, social media can be a tool for increasing awareness and interaction. Lastly, review sites, like Google My Business and Yelp, establish credibility through testimonials and word-of-mouth. Ask your customers to leave positive reviews about their experiences and solidify your reputation. Another digital asset you can work on are the emails you send customers. It’s much more efficient to prepare templates for every type of email you have to send early on, so you can send powerful messages all the time. It’s not a secret that many people don’t like reading emails, so adding some personality and friendliness in these templates can go a long way in improving customer relations.
Balance the human and tech aspects for a profitable field service business
As the name suggests, a field service company works on-site, which is why your technicians must learn how to handle clients properly on the front lines. It’s difficult to isolate your business from the technician because they represent your brand through their service.
Treat every job as a great marketing opportunity by training your technicians to handle irate customers in a professional manner. Their face-to-face time with customers may also be the perfect time to promote your products and services. Once you have a solid human marketing strategy, you should also deploy technology to handle customer-specific knowledge. An interesting study from the University of Texas-Austin found that consumers are less forgiving of brand failures when the algorithms used by marketers are humanized.
This means that if your technology makes a mistake and seems “too human,” customers are more likely to have a negative reaction. Ideally, your business should approach marketing with warm, professional technicians to face consumers, who are backed up by high-quality tech products.
This is why we’ve put together a set of 10 templates to help you find the perfect words and get you started. Click below to download the Complete Customer Communication Toolkit now!
I'm here to bring you next-level strategies to the field service industry. When I'm not working on the best tips to grow your business, I'm on the lookout for sci-fi novels and cookie recipes.