The best customer experience in home services often carries a personal touch, and there is nothing more personal than going into someone’s home to provide a service or fix a problem.
That’s why the home services industry – encompassing cleaning services, plumbing, electrical, landscaping and lawn care, pest control, HVAC, home improvement, and interior design – faces a unique set of customer experience challenges.
It’s incumbent on a stranger to respect someone’s home and property, not to mention providing a feeling of safety and projecting concern about whatever problem needs to be solved. Then, of course, solving it.
People and companies servicing homes are responding with personalized approaches ranging from softening up homeowners with treats for their pets to bringing the newspaper up from the driveway. They are increasingly using technology to book appointments and provide updates on projects.
A dose of humor never hurts, either.
Take the creatively named Cleaning Ninjas in Nebraska. Hailed by online booking sites for high-quality service, the firm follows a “ninja code” that includes quick telephone estimates and “black belt home cleaning,” with environmentally friendly supplies.
“Our ninjas are to be used for cleaning purposes only,” the company clarifies. “Superhero services are not authorized by our insurance company at this time, but we are working on it.”
Call that service with a smile. .
Being Witty is a core component of customer experience that makes your brand more memorable, and a core component of my WISER methodology.
What The Industry Needs
Sam Pillar, chief executive of Jobber, a home services management software company, put it well. “Home service businesses are invited into our homes to maintain and repair a very personal space, so start by focusing on providing exceptional customer service,” he told Forbes.
“Take the time to get to know your customers and provide a personalized experience that they wouldn’t get with a large company. Small touches, like taking a few minutes to clear a client’s walkway, make a huge difference.”
Robin Murphy is the Founder and “Nest Architect” of ChirpChirp, a subscription home cleaning service based in White Plains, NY. While that title certainly confirms her penchant for being Witty, lately Murphy has been focused on the more Immersive (the “I” in WISER) elements of her business.
“My personal mission is to change the way people think about housecleaning,” Murphy told The Experience Maker. “I’m committed with all my heart to raising awareness about the importance of a clean home — it’s health care — and the significance of the professionals who work with skill to enhance the health and wellbeing of families through their hard work.”
The ChirpChirp website expands on the connection between housecleaning and healthcare: “A clean home supports the health and well-being of the people who live there. Cleaning kills germs, removes dust, and works wonders for your mind. We’ve been dedicated to protecting the environment, people, pets, and our cleaning pros before green was mainstream, and we persistently continue to move forward and enhance our commitment.”
The Home Services Market Is Massive. So Are Customer Expectations.
The home services industry does not lack for size. The global home services market projected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2026. Today, cleaning services and landscaping and lawn care account for approximately half of the industry’s total revenue. But the fastest-growing segments in the industry are home improvement and interior design.
Statistics show that 60% of consumers prefer to work with local, independent service providers rather than large chains or franchises. And not surprisingly, most consumers research online – with a Google search plus looking at social media and online reviews – before deciding on a provider. What are they looking for? The quality of the service and the experience of working with the company.
While the industry has been slow at times to adopt new technology, that is rapidly changing amid a digital transformation that helps homeowners book services online and track progress with real-time updates – sometimes with help from artificial intelligence.
More broadly, there’s not much of a substitute for personalized customer experience, and the home services industry is wise to embrace it. Especially in the digital age, with buyers distracted by a blizzard of online offerings, keeping it personal stands out as a key differentiator.
Customers know this. That’s why nearly 90 percent of consumers worldwide say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services, according to Salesforce.
The massively growing market has raised customer expectations – and made providing superior experience more important than ever.
CX Examples In The Home Services Industry
Royce Ard, for one, is responding by focusing on what some might call the little things. The owner of Georgia-based My Amazing Maid instructs his employees to learn the names of household pets – and be sure to bring them a treat – to win customer loyalty (human and canine).
While that may seem like a little thing, customer experience is actually an endless series of little things, in which small niceties add up to one larger experience.
Other home cleaning services are offering “green cleaning,” a growing trend in which companies use natural cleaning products and non-synthetic chemicals to avoid environmental harm.
For electrical and other home contractors, the focus is on connecting with customers before pricing out the repair cost.
“You just need to have a conversation that engages and educates,” Drew Cameron, a marketing strategist and advisor to home services contractors, explained at an Electric & Gas Industries Association conference. “As a consumer, it’s about how you feel about what you spend. How many of you have ever spent a little bit of money and gotten a bad deal? Have you ever spent a lot of money and gotten a great deal?”
Is Your Plumber Famous?
Same goes for plumbers, for whom good customer experience is now considered the “backbone” of any firm.
All Plumbing in Arlington, Va. – a family-owned business that began more than a half century ago with a contractor who trained his sons starting at age eight – takes the personalized approach to heart.
The company builds long-term relationships with customers, answers every telephone call with a live representative, and holds bi-monthly customer service staff meetings to troubleshoot unresolved issues.
“The customer is at the center of everything they do,” a reviewer wrote as the firm was awarded yet another customer service award. The company has won the award every year for more than a decade.
Sometimes, however, humor is the best way to break through in the home services industry.
A plumbing company in Washington state, for example, writes a blog that includes an entry headlined “10 Famous Plumbers You May Not Know About.”
The list includes John Harrington, a 16th Century Briton credited as the first person to design a flushing toilet, giving rise to a certain nickname forever based on his first name; and Thomas Crapper, another English plumber (use your imagination).
More contemporaneously, it cites rocker Ozzy Osbourne – because he once worked as a plumber’s assistant.
The name of this highly creative firm? Action Jackson. Yes, it’s drawn from the 1988 film starring Carl Weathers.
“Our plumbers might not be action movie stars, despite our name,” the company cheekily states, turning the blog into a sales pitch aimed squarely at customers. “And they might not quite be on the cusp of inventing the toilet 2.0, but we think they’re pretty special.”
Dan Gingiss is a customer experience keynote speaker who loves speaking to home services professionals. If you’d like to put a date on hold for an upcoming conference, please contact Dan directly.
This post is part of a series of articles exploring the role of customer experience in different industries. Plumber mage by Raman Kumar from Pixabay. House cleaner image by Simon Kadula from Pixabay.