Here’s the thing about people: Most of us aren’t especially good at delayed gratification. We want what we want, when we want it. And our right-this-minute mentality isn’t just about stuff we want; it’s also about service we expect.
Case in point: 90% of consumers say it’s important (or even very important) for a company to respond immediately—within 10 minutes—to their customer service inquiry. Ten minutes! How’s the average home services business supposed to manage that? Do you need to increase your front-office staff? Take your customer service team 24/7?
Notice I didn’t say consumers expect to talk to someone. In fact, 49% of people would rather message a business first. So you probably don’t need an expanded call center. Instead, to scale faster and improve conversion, your home services business needs a chatbot.
#1. Chatbots help home services businesses capture more leads.
To scale your business, you need more customers—which means you need more leads. And if you’re like many home services businesses, your website simply isn’t set up to capture those leads (let alone convert them).
- I know you have your phone number listed at the top of the page. But unless you’re staffed exceedingly well—at all hours of the day and night—you’re likely putting customers on hold. Customers don’t like being put on hold. In fact, 67% of people will only tolerate being put on hold for two minutes or less. (And in case you’re thinking it, sending people to voicemail isn’t a good solution. “Leave me a message” is actually among the top five things you should never, ever say to a potential customer.)
- I know you have a “contact us” form on your website. That’s good… but it’s not enough, because it’s not fast enough. Plus, some of your customers won’t use your contact form because they fear their message will get lost or because they’re asked to give up too much personal information.
Chatbots allow you to instantly respond to your customers—no hold-time required. And because every lead can be automatically logged into your CRM, you’ll be able to nurture those new connections toward a sale.
#2. Chatbots elevate customer service for plumbing and HVAC contractors.
When chatbots first hit the scene, they were undeniably awkward. They had a limited number of scripted responses, and their accuracy was hit or miss. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP), chatbot interactions are getting better—more accurate, more conversational, and more helpful.
In short, chatbots are getting more and more human-like, which means they can offer a more tailored, personalized customer service experience. So customers are increasingly happy to use them. As reported by Forbes, “Twice as many consumers surveyed in 2019 would knowingly engage with chatbots because they are ‘very helpful,’ compared to 2018 respondents.”
#3. Chatbots expand your customers’ power of choice.
I began this post with a commentary on human nature: We want what we want, when we want it. Well, we also want it how we want it.
Some of your customers love picking up the phone, and some loathe it. Some customers prefer email to anything else, while others hit unsubscribe like it’s their job. Some customers will roll their eyes at a chat feature on your website, and others—many others—will be thrilled by it. The point is, providing multiple contact options tells your customers, “We’re here for you, however you prefer to interact with us.”
By the way, the best chatbots, like ZyraTalk, offer one more layer of choice: They begin as a true bot, leveraging the power of AI and NLP, but at any point, customers can opt to speak with a human being, with the tap of a button.
#4. Chatbots help home services businesses save money.
Many plumbing and HVAC contractors fail to scale because they lose sight of this simple truth: Time is money.
Automation, including chatbots, can help solve that problem. For example, how much time is your customer service staff chewing up scheduling service calls or responding to the same standard questions over and over again? What if, instead of hiring more reps, you could free up your existing staff to handle more complex questions—without compromising quality customer service for more typical inquiries? That’s one of the things a chatbot will do for you.
#5. Chatbots help home services businesses get more reviews.
When it comes to growing your HVAC or plumbing business, you can spend a nauseating amount of money on advertising—only to discover that all you’re doing is building awareness of your shop. What you actually need to do is grow interest in your shop. In other words, you need to turn browsers into buyers.
In today’s skeptical-of-everything culture, there’s really only one marketing approach that’s (nearly) guaranteed to help you do that: Be really good at what you do and get all of your customers talking about you. These days, the “talking about you” part needs to happen online through ratings and reviews, but cajoling your customers into writing them can be tiresome.
The best chatbot platforms allow customers to leave a review with a few clicks, straight from the chat window.
Having a chatbot can dramatically improve your bottom line.
On average, our HVAC customers using chatbots are experiencing a three-fold increase in leads, conversions, and booked jobs. Three times the business—directly attributable to installing a chatbot on their website.
Book your free, 15-minute demo today and see how ZyraTalk can do the same for you.
Guest author Ryan Redding
As owner of DP Marketing.Services, I use a proven marketing process to get home services companies the leads, jobs and revenue you deserve. You can find loads of practical advice in my book, The Book on Digital Marketing for Plumbing & HVAC Contractors and on my free YouTube channel.