Texada General Manager
Having spent a lot of time at trade shows, our team has had the chance to touch base with many of our customers and other industry professionals.
After gathering this information we stumbled upon some surprising trends. In most of our cases we were able to identify a number of mistakes that businesses in the service industry were making. Most of them didn’t even know that they were being made. That is why I have decided to share our insights with you and offer some of the same solutions we share with everyone else.
1. Being out of touch with customers
Let’s be honest here, we are all guilty of this. We think we know our clients, when they first came on board we talked to them all the time, but things change. Our original contacts move to different roles and the client we once knew so well is now a stranger.
So how do we stay on top of these relationships? The simple answer; focus on the customer experience. Your entire team should always be asking themselves, “What if I was in their shoes? What would I want me to do?” You are in a service industry, you need to be in touch with your customers—they are your bread and butter.
Not that people we talked to were mistreating their customers, but they were not actively engaging them. If you aren’t putting effort into keeping customers, why should they stay with you?
We suggest to gauge customer feedback—both positive and negative—because it will help you know what your business is doing well, and in what areas you could improve.
We found that a number of companies accepted some verbal feedback here and there and thought that was good enough. Sure, it’s nice when someone compliments your business off-hand, and sometimes you do learn something when a customer gives you an earful. But what you really want is structured feedback that you can review and analyze with your team.
Start to gather focused data collection initiatives. Which is a fancy way of saying gathering customer surveys, feedback forms, or reviews, record them, and analyze them These will give you a better understanding on your current customer experience.
You can also use that data to have follow up with customers for more in-depth individual evaluations, allowing you to effectively dig deeper.
For those who wanted to go a step further, why not ask your competitor’s customers what they are doing well, or why they choose that competitor? Trade shows are a great wheelhouse for learning about what other companies are doing well and they need improvement.
The main point is that you need to keep a finger on the pulse of your customer experience. Don’t just do one survey then drop it for five years and think nothing is going to change.
2. Not Getting Enough Value From Field Technicians
Did you know that it is possible to grow your business right now without growing your headcount? That line got can get some funny looks, but it is true.
There are a variety of tools and resources available to boost the efficiency of field techs. If you haven’t already made an investment in a tool to improve your field tech’s effectiveness, you are quickly falling behind the industry. Most people we talked to either had or were looking into a tool to streamline field tech operations with technology. Meaning it is time to put on your thick skin and really evaluate who is earning their keep.
Before you jump the gun and start making a hit list, you have to equip your team for survival. Give them the tools they need, provide them with proper training on how to use them effectively, and clearly outline the company’s expectations to provide the customer an awesome experience. Then start tracking the results.
Often teams that had already added some sort of tool found insights that allowed them to enable the entire team to be more effective.
Of course there comes a point where you need to hire more techs and you should know exactly when you need to do this.
3. Being Afraid To Try Something Different
We are a software provider, so we truly believe innovation drives progress. That said, it is easy for us to realize when a company isn’t growing because they are afraid to make changes.
You have to be willing to explore new opportunities for growth as there are nearly endless possibilities if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone.
One way we commonly advise service companies to boost revenue is by offering recurring service packages to their customers. Even if you discount the services to sell more packages, the value of additional interactions with customers is well worth it.
Having a tech on site with a customer on a semi-regular basis keeps you top of mind for that customer. Allowing you extra opportunities to to contract more work, and building brand loyalty, you could even cut out the middleman and let the customer reach out directly to the on site tech to schedule the next visit.
It becomes the difference between “I need to call a service tech” and “I need to call up my service tech.”
There are times we find just the opposite. What if one of your offers just isn’t what people need anymore? When this is the case, why are you still offering it? Seriously, not keeping up with industry trends can be a fatal mistake.
Companies can’t be too stubborn because if you aren’t meeting demands, then people will move on and forget about you. That can be hard to come back from, businesses that fall too far behind can have a hard time recovering.
We know that it can be hard to look at your business objectively and make these decisions. That is why you need that quality customer feedback we discussed earlier. You really need to understand what your customers wants and needs as they change over time. If you do this successfully then you will be able to develop and maintain a competitive advantage.
Stop trying to catch up and start setting the pace. Think about the next opportunity that will set your business apart from the rest.