3 Ways to make your business more appealing than your competitors’ so you can win more sales and increase your revenue
HVAC installers, plumbers, roofers, security businesses, computer technicians — you name the field service business and some people will assume they’re all the same. But that’s a mistake. As Terra, then FieldOne Systems and now as Optsy, my team and I have worked with thousands of businesses like yours and we know you can make your field service business the most appealing option for your ideal customers and stand out from the crowd. Read on to learn, based on our 20+ years of experience working with field services business, how to be more competitive in your local market.
Method 1. Provide the very best quality field service
Providing a great service might sound an obvious way to be more appealing to your target audience, but bear with me while I explain — providing great quality field service isn’t as narrow as you think. Let me give you an example.
A close friend of mine just bought a house. Before she moves in, she wanted to get a few things fixed — the shower screen was damaged, the carpet was worn and a few tiles were broken. So, she organized a bunch of tradespeople to do some repairs and make a few renovations (like install underfloor heating) now before there’s furniture that needs to be protected from dust, and residents to keep out of the way, etc.
When it came to the bathroom, the work involved removing all the tiles in the bathroom and the shower screen, levelling the floor, installing and connecting the heating coils, installing a new shower screen, laying new tiles and plastering some walls.
Now, all tradesmen are good at what they do. But the tiler isn’t very organized and isn’t so good at things outside his area of expertise. He didn’t think to order a skip for all the old tiles etc. until after he’d removed them, so he dumped them throughout the house and shed and will have to move them again when the skip finally arrives, which had better be before the new floorboards are laid in another area of the house or that project will need to be rescheduled. The person installing the heating coils didn’t trust him to level the floor properly, so had to do that bit himself even though that is normally the tiler’s job. Because the tiler (unavoidably) damaged the skirting board when removing some of the tiles, he needed to do some filling before he could lay new tiles. When the plaster came to do the plastering before the tiles were laid, he saw that the filling work done by the tiler wasn’t flat enough to securely hold tiles for more than a few months, so he redid it.
Eventually, the bathroom will be finished and it’ll look wonderful. If the tiler’s previous work is anything to go by, the tiles will be perfectly spaced and aligned, and presumably will stay in place for years to come. But my friend will never use that tiler again and she certainly won’t be recommending him. In fact, when her friends need tiling work done, she’ll be actively discouraging them from hiring that tiler.
On the other hand, she’ll be giving glowing reviews of the plasterer because he not only did a great job, he also took it upon himself to fix the mistakes made by another tradesperson and to organize the other tradespeople so the project is going smoothly and efficiently.
Now, the plaster undoubtedly endears himself to his clients by doing good work and by delivering great customer service, and I talk about that later in this article. The tiler is a different story.
The tiler is good at tiling, but he’s not organized. He can level floors well enough for a decent tiling job, but he’s not meticulous enough for jobs where underfloor heating is being installed. And he’s not good at plastering even though that’s often something he needs to do before laying tiles.
To put it simply, he’s good at his specific job, but he doesn’t provide a great service to his clients.
How could he improve his service?
He could get someone to help him create standard operating procedures, so he doesn’t forget to do things like hire a skip. He could team up with a plasterer who could do all the plastering preparation work for his tiling jobs. And he could team up with someone who installs underfloor heating so clients never need to know that he can’t be trusted to level a floor well enough for someone else to lay heating coils. In that way, he would provide a more inclusive service (clients can get plastering, tiling and underfloor heating installed without having to contract three separate tradespeople), and while he would generate a little less revenue on each job because he would be outsourcing some tasks to other tradespeople , he would get jobs done faster so he could serve more clients, so he would increase his overall profits. And I’ll bet it would allow him to focus on what he loves best — laying tiles.
Obviously, these specific ideas aren’t going to work for you, but you can use this true story as inspiration when you assess the service you provide to your customers. Are you organized? Do you work well with other field service professionals involved in the projects you work on? Do you leave things looking neat and tidy?
Providing a good field service isn’t just about getting the job done. But I’ll bet many of your competitors don’t realis that. So, if you can provide a better quality service than that of your competitors’, you’ll be well on your way to positioning your business as far more appealing and a significantly better choice for your ideal customers.
Method 2. Increase the value for money you offer your customers
Many businesses think charging the lowest rates is the way to bring in more customers. But that just leads to a race to the bottom where every business loses. Worse, it can also lead to cost-cutting measures that in the end leave customers wanting.
Instead of focusing on ways to cut costs so you can lower your prices, you can position your business as the better choice, when compared with your competitors, by delivering more value to your customers. Importantly though, that value needs to comprise benefits your ideal customers really want.
The trick is to figure out what benefits and value your customers are willing to pay more for. And if it costs you little to deliver, so much the better.
As an example, you might offer an extended warranty on your services. Or maybe you could include a number of free maintenance checks or services.
If you’re not sure what your customers value, ask them!
Method 3. Improve your customer service
We all know customer service is important. After all, if customers are unhappy with us, they’ll switch to a competitor. But many businesses don’t realize just how vital customer service really is. Here are some eye-opening statistics that will demonstrate just how valuable good customer service can be to your business in making you a more appealing choice.
19 customer service statistics every small business needs to know
- Customers that say good things about businesses have a lifetime value of 6-14 times that of customers that say bad things about a business
- 80% of consumers feel product/service quality and customer service are equally important
- 71% of consumers have made a purchase as a result of good customer service
- 80% of consumers will stop doing business with a brand if they encounter poor customer service there
- Most Americans have decided not to complete a purchase as a result of poor customer service
- 91% of consumers will stop doing business with a brand as a result of poor customer service without making a complaint
- 91% of consumers are more likely to buy again from the same business if they received good customer service from them
- 90% of consumers are more loyal to brands that provide good customer service
- Americans will pay an average of 17% more to buy from brands that are known to deliver good customer service
- 78% of consumers will forgive a mistake if the business delivers excellent service
- Brands typically grow their revenue by 4-8% above their market’s average when they deliver excellent customer service
- A 5% increase in the number of customers a business keeps loyal generates a 25% to 95% increase in profits
- 99% of customers believe businesses need to improve their trustworthiness
- 84% of business customers are more likely to buy from brands that understand their business goals
- 68% of customers expect brands to be empathetic
- 67-79% of consumers feel convenience is more important than the brand when they’re making a purchase decision
- 75% of consumers want customer service representative to know who they are and their purchase history when they contact a business
- 68% of consumers expect better digital experience from brands as a result of COVID-19
- 67% of consumers like to receive proactive customer service notifications
So, I think you’ll agree, focusing on providing great customer service is a worthwhile investment and a fantastic way to make your business more appealing than your competitors’.
How will you be more competitive?
I’ve just outlined three connected but distinct ways you can level up your business to make it more appealing to your ideal customers so you can be more competitive. Doing just one of those things will make a big difference, but if you can do all three, you’ll be hard to beat.
From our experience, field services businesses generally find it easy to improve the quality of their service and increase the value for money that they deliver once they’ve got a few ideas. Improving customer service though, is harder.
So my next article is going to focus on specific ways you can improve your customer service. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on social media to be notified when we publish the next article. Until then, if you have any questions about how to make your business more appealing to your customers, get in touch and one of our experienced team members would be happy to help you with your specific situation.