By Chris Stahl
6 Must-Have Apps That Wow Today’s Home Services Customer
According to a survey by Verizon Telematics, 79% of home services customers expect service professionals to be tech-savvy, and two out of three consumers won’t hire them for a second job if they’re not. “Tech” in this context covers a lot of ground, but the trend is clear: customers report greater satisfaction with contractors that use technology on the job.
Home remodelers have heard the message about the need to go digital. A 2015 report by the Home Improvement Research Institute revealed that 89% of remodelers have used a mobile internet device (smartphone, tablet, or other) for business. However, for those devices to add value to the customer, and not just the contractor, they need to connect to software and apps that make the remodeling buying process more simple and convenient.
So, which applications are most effective and engaging during the in-home sales process? Below are 6 that should make the home service contractor’s priority list:
1. Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling apps like Hover and Eagleview are the icing on the cake when it comes to estimating and planning exterior remodeling projects or repairs. When homeowners have a 3D view of how their new windows or siding will look, not only does it inspire the wow factor, but they’re also better able to see aspects they don’t like, articulate expectations, and understand what goes into the project cost and timeline. Regarding the contractor, it provides a complete picture of the project, allowing for more accurate estimates of supplies and labor. For larger projects that involve subcontractors and general contractors, it can more efficiently stage the project to prevent scheduling conflicts and head off problems when a proposal from one sub has the potential to create price increases from another.
2. Online Resources
Remodeling contractors and homeowners alike are turning to online resources for information on remodeling products and projects. According to Zillow, over a third of homeowners start their home improvement projects online. Service contractors have also come to depend upon online sources: 70% of contractors research new equipment online, and more than 60% visit manufacturer websites (Reed Construction Data). Product manufacturers are responding to this trend in multiple ways. High-resolution interactive brochures have become a necessary marketing output. To take it a step further, manufacturers like ProVia have developed interfaces to estimating and contracting apps so that remodelers can access product information and specs from the same platform they use for in-home sales.
3. Estimating & Contracting
Providing in-home estimates is one of the most time-consuming processes in home improvement, but also one with the highest impact. You’re meeting with the customer, face-to-face, compiling information to deliver an estimate for what could be one of the most expensive purchases of their lifetime. Any error, disruption, or delay in the process could easily kill the deal.
Estimating and contracting software, such as Leap aim to simplify this process by making it more efficient and accurate. These solutions allow remodelers to spend less time making calculations and filling out forms, and more time interacting with the customer and understanding their needs and expectations. They also make the process of revising estimates upon customer request much faster and eliminate the risk of error.
4. Instant Financing Results
You’ve pitched the project, presented the numbers, but what it really comes down to is: can your customer afford it and how are they going to pay for it? In the past, the time it took homeowners to address these questions added days or weeks to the contracting process—so long that some gave up. But a number of specialty home improvement lenders like EnerBank USA, Foundation Finance, and Dividend Finance are solving that problem with credit application platforms that function as stand-alone solutions, or that integrate into contracting software. The latter allows in-home sales reps to input information once into the estimating and contracting app and then interface with the finance platform to create a credit application. The customer gets clear answers fast on what they can afford, and the contractor provides a helpful service that ensures payment and prevents duplicate data entry.
While digital estimates and contracts dramatically shorten the in-home sales process, waiting for customer signatures can stall the deal. What’s worse is when the signatures you need are from customers in separate locations. The more time spent waiting, the less chance of closing.
e-Signature software from providers like DocuSign maintains contracting momentum by aligning with today’s buying behaviors. Customers can sign, save, and return contracts electronically without the physical presence of a sales rep. Often times, this technology can be integrated with digital contracting software to create a seamless buying experience. This means no more printing, scanning, or waiting for snail mail.
6. Customer Management
Few acts leave a worse impression on customers than when you can’t remember the last time you visited their home or the work you performed. Customer relationship management software such as MarketSharp, improveit360, and JobNimbus was designed for home services companies, to make it easier to capture customer interactions and pick up where you left off. Both tools allow users to maintain information about where canvassers and sales teams have been, as well as records of past and current customers, including project details and ongoing interactions. This gives everyone on your team the same information and allows you to more efficiently manage current projects and pursue new leads.
What’s the ultimate customer experience?
Each of these solutions plays a valuable part in helping home improvement companies elevate their in-home sales experience to match the expectations of today’s consumer. The value for each multiplies when these apps and software systems seamlessly communicate with each other and share data through a single-source solution. This means that the customer has a completely digital in-home sales experience thereby increasing the likelihood that you close the deal and receive repeat business.
Leap is the leading in-home sales software provider for remodelers and other home services companies. The Leap app digitizes the entire in-home sales process including digital estimates, digital contracts, fast-response financing results, CRM data integration, and more.
This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and may or may not reflect the opinion of Leap (Leaptodigital.com).