Several myths are floating in the stratosphere of providers' and consumers' minds about the home services industry. These myths cause people to misjudge the power of their actions when creating and enjoying the home services experience.
Well, I can't have it anymore! To curate the best home services experience possible, we must overcome the misconceptions that cause today's confusion, misunderstanding, and frustration. I'm going gangbusters on myth-busting and breaking down some of the biggest misconceptions. And trust me, we're all going to come out of it wiser.
Home Service Provider Myths
Business owners, you're up first! Here are three of the most common myths that contractor business owners have about the industry:
Myth #1: The home services industry is too complicated for online services. Your customers aren't looking for that kind of experience.
Many home services providers find the industry too complicated to create an online approach to customer experiences. Yet, only half of that sentence is true. The home service industry is complicated, but that's precisely why it needs to be simplified and served up in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-access way.
Think of Amazon, Uber, and Doordash. Their industries were complicated and fragmented, so they went for the customer-centric business model. And it worked. The prime example is Carvana, the new online experience for purchasing cars—among the most complicated consumer purchasing experiences out there!
The fact is, consumers want easy and modern; they want online. And that's true in every industry—including yours.
Myth #2: You need to be in the home to do your job as a technician.
Traditionally speaking, the home services industry has been a high touchpoint (literally) industry that requires a uniquely intimate level of interaction between you and the consumer. While this can still be true when necessary, there is also a unique opportunity to adjust the norm and offer virtual services to create new efficiencies for both you and the consumer.
Consumers want their experiences online now.
Take a look at retail and healthcare over the past year. These used to be industries that you could say were high, in-person touch point industries as well. Yet, a recent study by Accenture showed that 57% of consumers would switch retailers if they didn't offer new online options.
Even more shocking, 51% of consumers reported considering changing healthcare providers if they didn't provide online appointments instead of physical visits when appropriate. We're talking about people's health here! How much more high touchpoint and intimate can we get?
These consumer desires are just minutes away from knocking on our home service industry's door if they haven't already. And you have the opportunity to let them in by giving consumers exactly what they want: virtual home services appointments.
Can every problem be solved virtually? Of course not. But, can you help a consumer fix their broken thermostat over the phone? Probably. So call me crazy, but offering them that chance might be worthwhile for both of you. By expanding your mindset and thinking about areas where you can serve up home services digitally, you can unlock more opportunities and grow your business.
Of course, our goal is to dispatch technicians efficiently every day to each home. However, customer experience is all about offering your customers the most convenient options for them. And many consumers today prefer a first virtual touchpoint.
Myth #3: You shouldn't provide upfront pricing.
Pricing in the home services industry is the slippery-est of slopes out there. As a home services provider and business owner, you have to consider all factors, so in certain situations, you might feel it's best not to share upfront prices. Otherwise, it sometimes means your price estimates are pretty high, which consumers don't like (no surprise there).
With such a grey area, you have to create a balance: if you undercut your estimate to bring them in, those same consumers will not like the surprise they get when the price tag is more extensive than initially stated. So, you opt to completely stay out of the upfront pricing game and choose to serve up the ticket after the service instead. Well, that's actually the worst surprise of all.
While serving up pricing can be a tricky part of your business, you're best off being honest, transparent, and upfront in the modern consumer market.
According to a report by KPMG:
"Customer satisfaction is the difference between expectation and actual delivery…Proactive expectation setting communications will now be expected as standard." Consumers reported being far more favorable of companies that:
Do as they said they would.
Keep them informed throughout the transaction process.
Set their expectations honestly and accurately.
Think of it like this: Uber offers upfront pricing. When consumers hop on the ridesharing app, they see the exact amount they're going to be paying.
Now, if it's a surge pricing period, they're not going to be too happy about the value they might see on their screen. Yet, consumers take the ride regardless because they know what they're getting. They know the reason the price is high—it's a popular riding time. And they'd much rather know that now than get a big 'ole unhappy surprise in their receipt email after the fact.
Consumers care about their money and want to spend it wisely, but they can only do that with the correct information. Be the company that gives them that information, so they know that you're the right business to choose.
Okay, consumers, you're up next! Here are two of the most common myths that consumers have about the home services industry:
Myth #4: Contractors are out to fool you on pricing.
Consumers tend to think that home services contractors are the big bad wolf coming to blow down their houses (well, not really, but at least coming to take too much of their money).
Did you have a chance to read the section above? If not, go ahead! We'll patiently wait for you to catch up. (˙ ͜ʟ˙)
Home service providers aren't out to get you on pricing—they're just trying to provide customers with the highest quality of home comfort care while caring for their own team and business! Can you blame them? They're just businesspeople with a unique and valuable set of skills that want to make the living they deserve for the years of training they acquired. And they want to charge you fairly for them, too. But that's easier said than done!
At the end of the day, the pricing problem falls on both sides of the experience: contractors and consumers alike. There's a myth that it's a fishy situation. But in reality, it's just misunderstood. It is helpful to be up-front with contractors and let them know what you expect from the process. Try not to approach the pricing situation as if the contractor is against you. Instead, treat the contractor as your ally in finding an equitable price for your fix.
Myth #5: The home services industry experience is antiquated… And there's no fixing it.
Let me set the scene. It's the first Monday of the month, and you just finished paying the credit card bills. Now, you're stewing over your cable company bill.
We all know how the phone call with our cable provider goes:
"I expected to schedule an appointment, but the guy arrived two hours late."
"I only wanted the cable, but they hooked me up to the Internet too, and now the bill's double the price.
"I tried to call them to explain what I wanted, but it took hours to get a hold of 'em, and I just gave up."
Believe it or not, many people feel the same way about home services as they do about their cable companies. As a result, when their furnace starts making weird noises or their toilet springs a leak, they're frustrated with the experience before they even begin. What they don't know is that they have no reason to be!
A lot has changed in the home services industry in the past few years. And that change seems to be moving at lightning speed as the industry has compressed several years of preexisting trends into a short few months.
Many home service providers now offer online booking, live-agent chat ability, and real-time appointment notifications. Overall, this creates elevated customer experiences.
This evolution can be true of all home services contractors: big, small, one trade, or all. The antiquated nature of this industry is changing, and we need everyone on board to make it happen.
Moving Away From the Myths
Now that we've debunked all these myths, what's next? As a home service provider or a consumer, the responsibility is to recognize your misconceptions and give the other side a chance to share their side of the story.
That report I mentioned before from KPMG talks about how organizations can make progress on this conundrum: