Many myths abound when it comes to the home services industry—both on the consumer and provider side. These myths can cause confusion, misunderstanding, and frustration. Create better home service experiences by learning the most common myths and realities.
Home Service Provider Myths
Whether it stems from old-school thinking or maintaining the status quo, some contractors believe these myths about their own 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 by providing web scheduling and chat. While it's true the home service industry is complicated, that's precisely why it needs to be simplified and offered 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 fact is, today's consumers want easy and modern. They're used to booking appointments from their phones or computers, and they expect service at any time of day.
"As the millennials come up, do you really believe they want to make a phone call?" asks Michelle Micheletti, Regional Director of Marketing for Academy Air in St. Louis, which provides HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical services. "They would say 'no.' We have to adapt. That generation is going to be our next or continuing client.
"I'll do commercials and talk about how booking online saves time, and then we see our online booking percentage go up," she adds. "Online scheduling is really helping to drive some automation and make things easier for our clients. That's what they want: ease and convenience. And the more that we can do that in this vertical, the better we're going to be."
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 an intimate level of interaction between you and the consumer. While this can still be true when necessary, there is also an opportunity to adjust the norm and offer virtual services to create new efficiencies for both you and the consumer.
Consumers today increasingly want their experiences online.
Take a look at retail and healthcare over the past year. A recent study by Accenture showed 57% of consumers would switch retailers for new online options. Even more shocking, 51% of consumers reported considering changing healthcare providers if they weren't offered online appointments instead of physical visits when appropriate.
These consumer desires are just minutes away from knocking on the 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. Sometimes a drain clog is beyond the homeowner's expertise, or an air conditioner has reached the end of its lifespan. But can you help a consumer fix their broken thermostat over the phone? Probably.
Offering customers remote services proves worthwhile for both of you. By expanding your mindset and thinking about areas where you can offer home services digitally, you can unlock more opportunities and grow your business.
Schedule Engine, which was recently acquired by ServiceTitan, offers remote diagnostic services to help solve customer problems no matter the hour.
"We partner with an organization that provides remote services," says Savannah McDermott, Schedule Engine Director of Customer Success. "Our team will be able to hop on a quick call with your customer and see if they can help resolve the issue remotely. If they can't, we'll be able to move it back to your team to run that after-hours job. But if they can, you've got a satisfied customer, and you haven't had to wake an on-call tech."
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.
Myth #3: You shouldn't provide upfront pricing.
Pricing in the home services industry is the slipperiest 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 gray 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 becomes higher than the initial estimate. So, you opt to completely stay out of the upfront pricing game and choose to present the ticket after the service instead. Well, that's actually the worst surprise of all.
While presenting 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 to 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 pay. Now, if it's a surge pricing period, customers aren't going to be too happy about the value they might see on their screens. Yet, consumers take the ride regardless, because they know what they're getting. They know the reason for the high rate—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 so with the correct information. Be the company that gives pricing information upfront, so they know you're the right business to choose.
Consumers hold close some myths about the home services industry, too. Let's debunk them!
Myth #4: Contractors are out to fool you on pricing.
Consumers tend to think 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).
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 supporting their own team and business. They're businesspeople with a valuable set of skills who want to make the living they deserve for the years of training they've 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's helpful for homeowners to be upfront with contractors and let them know what they expect from the process.
Myth #5: The home services industry experience is antiquated, and there's no fixing it.
When a homeowner's furnace starts making weird noises or their toilet springs a leak, they're frustrated with the home services experience before it even begins. What they don't realize is 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 accelerating at lightning speed as the industry combines several years of pre-existing trends into a short few months.
Many home service providers now offer online booking, live-agent chat ability, live phone support, 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.
Moving Away From the Myths
As a home service provider or a consumer, it's important to recognize your misconceptions and give the consumer a chance to share their side of the story. Home service providers should offer customers what they want, need, and are willing to pay for. And consumers should work with providers they trust, whether that comes through firsthand referrals or reading online reviews before booking services.
In other words, walk a mile in their shoes, and think about how you'd want to be treated.
Home service providers, are you ready to take that next step to transform the customer experience? Schedule Engine can help with our suite of consumer-centric business solutions. Book a demo to learn more.