5 Best Practices for Maximizing Google’s Local Services Ads Through ServiceTitan

Mike PersingerJuly 16th, 2020
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Google has partnered with ServiceTitan to provide real-time availability for customers looking to book instantly with excellent home services contractors.

The combination of Google’s Local Services Ads and ServiceTitan’s cloud-based home and commercial services business software helps those in the trades provide top-notch service, increase brand awareness and use marketing dollars effectively. We’ll be entering open beta for the integration in a few weeks. In the meantime, make sure to get started with Local Services Ads, which is required to use the integration with ServiceTitan.  

Google’s Local Services Ads:

  • Is available nationwide and across Canada, with the exception of Quebec.

  • Show up toward the top of Google search results, helping companies stand out from the competition.

  • Only charge businesses for results—searches that result in a qualified lead that they connect with—which makes them a huge value proposition for the providers. 

  • Can be paused at any time.

A ServiceTitan webinar hosted by Jackie Aubel and featuring Google product experts Jordan Haugan and Megan Diehl, plus ServiceTitan’s Heather Donaldson and Dylan Kessler, covered best practices for taking advantage of the partner integration between the companies. 

Here are five best practices for leveraging the partnership for your company:

1. Advertise specific services, in specific service areas. 

Jordan Haugan, head of the sales and onboarding team for Google’s Local Services Ads, told the audience that the ads make it easy to connect with the people searching on Google for the services you offer. By picking the specific services and job types you provide, in the areas you choose, your company can reach the right audience. 

“Say you only want to show up for higher ticket job items, you can do that,” Haugan said. “If you just want to maximize the amount of leads that you're getting, you can select a wide range of different job types. So you have that flexibility.”

2. Get verified for the Google Guarantee.

"That little green check mark, that Google Guarantee, is really important," Haugan said. "It is a trust signal for customers who want to book a service with you.” They can know that you are a qualified, trusted professional, because you've met the requirements needed to have the Google Guarantee."

When customers book jobs with a Google Guaranteed provider, they know that if something goes wrong or is damaged, they can get up to $2,000 back on the cost of the job.

What does it take to earn the Google Guarantee badge?

“It all starts with our robust verification process that ensures the quality of our providers,” said Google’s Megan Diehl, whose team is responsible for verification operations. “The qualification process is a signal to our customers and to you that our pros are trustworthy and committed to quality.”

The steps, Diehl said, are:

  • Background checks for technicians, via a secure process through Google’s background check partners, who ensure complete confidentiality in the process. “It's important for our customers and the integrity of the platform that providers who are entering our customer's homes are reputable and safe,” she said. 

  • A license check for the business. Google works with its legal team and experts in each state and each industry to confirm the necessary licenses. Sharing license information with Google, keeping licenses up to date and entering the license numbers correctly are integral to the verification process. 

  • An insurance check. Insurance coverage must be up to date, and businesses must have the coverages required for the jobs performed. Documents can be uploaded directly to Google.

  • An advanced verification process for verticals such as garage door and locksmith businesses. 

The verification process typically takes 2-3 weeks, Diehl said, although the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed some verifications. Google also does regular re-certifications, so up-to-date documents should be provided to keep the Google Guarantee current.

Businesses can find out where they are in the verification process through their dashboard, and Google will send gentle reminders by email if documents are missing. 

3. Remember the three R’s.

Three things to keep in mind, Haugan said, are what Google calls the three R’s—radius, reviews and responsiveness. Here’s why:

  • Radius. The proximity to the person searching is an important factor in having your ad show up in a search. Make sure to list all the relevant zip codes for the areas your business serves. 

  • Reviews. The quantity and quality of reviews really matter. Requesting Google reviews—after performing excellent work—are key. 

  • Responsiveness. Answer as many calls as you possibly can, Haugan said. “This is massively, massively important,” he said. “You might only want to service certain jobs, and that's fine. But usually when folks want to just get the maximum amount of leads we say, ‘Hey, make sure that you're selecting all the job types that you do.’"

4. Personalize your ad to see what resonates.

Try out differentiators by customizing your business bio with the things that make you unique. “Seth Godin calls this the purple cow,” Haugan said. “In a sea of black and white brands that look the same and sound the same and feel the same, what makes you purple?” 

Among the possibilities:

  • Call out any traits that make your company different. Some examples: Family-owned, 24-hour, or eco-friendly. 

  • Upload photos of your team, jobs you have done or quality work you want to feature.

  • Maintain details such as your business hours.

  • Use a dedicated phone number so you can track success.

5. Leverage new features.

The ServiceTitan integration with Google’s Local Services Ads is a game-changer for instant booking in home services, making it possible for customers to book jobs directly from Google. Once you enable the feature in your ServiceTitan account, we will enhance your Local Services Ad with a smart lead-gen form that knows when your technicians are available to perform the services a consumer is looking to hire for. 

Through ServiceTitan’s easy-to-use instant booking setup, you are now able to present your technicians availability based on your dispatch Calendar in real-time! This will reduce reschedules, eliminate the need for over-the-phone scheduling, and allow your customers that are ready to hire to go straight to the front of your booking queue. 

Optionally paired with Adjustable Capacity Planning, this integration allows you to maximize your technician’s availability by managing your overflow capacity inside of ServiceTitan! Adjustable Capacity Planning will also allow you to book for off-hours time slots. To turn on Adjustable Capacity Planning, contact your ServiceTitan CSM today. 

“This will increase the realized availability of your technicians in the ServiceTitan platform by allowing you to manage and book additional capacity on top of a fully booked schedule,” ServiceTitan’s Dylan Kessler said. “Overflow capacity, as it's sometimes called in the industry, is something that we're now able to send out to booking marketplaces like Google.” 

Other FAQs From the Nearly 450 Webinar Attendees

For ServiceTitan customers who are also using Google AdWords and Google My Business, how are Google’s Local Services Ads different?

It’s best to use all three tools, Haugan says. Google My Business is a free tool from Google to manage organic search listings such as how you show up Google map search results. Businesses can control their business hours, add a website, add a phone number, even upload photos within the Google My Business tool.

Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) is an ad platform that drives traffic to a business website, or a certain amount of traffic to a destination that the business wants to point to in more of a pay-per-click model. 

Local Services Ads is a separate product that enables businesses to show up toward the  top of Google search results.

“You can use Google Ads and Local Services Ads together,” Haugan said. “And a lot of our customers are actually using both, optimizing between the two.”

How will customers book through Google’s Local Services Ads? 

When customers see your Local Services ad, they'll see a new schedule button that takes them to a smart form, where they'll be able to select a service type, a date and time available on your calendar, and schedule the appointment.

A booking confirmation screen can be customized with caveats, ask questions about the equipment, reference a dispatch fee and more. Once they click “book” on that screen, they'll receive an email reminder about their appointment.

Do bookings go directly onto the schedule?

No. CSRs have the opportunity to exert quality control, with leads coming through as booking requests. The CSR can then accept the booking, then process it. Just make sure to notify the customer if you are dismissing the booking. 

How do you recommend dispatchers work with these leads? 

Some customers in Google’s closed beta called to confirm the appointment first, just to make sure the consumer meant to choose the booking or is still available at the time that they specified. Once the instant booking comes through, it will arrive on your Bookings screen in the Job Bookings tab. At that point it's good to get back to them as quickly as possible, to set appropriate expectations with your customer, if necessary. From there, dispatch as usual. 

What determines who shows up at the top of the search?

“Million-dollar question,” Haugan said. "That's where everyone wants to show up. We talked through a lot of the best practices a little bit earlier in this. I wouldn't stray too far from what those best practices are. So really focusing on those three R's, your radius, your reviews; both the quantity and the quality, and responsiveness—how many phone calls you are answering.”

What's considered a qualified lead? 

A couple of examples of an unqualified lead would be a competitor just trying to spam you, or calls about jobs you don't do, or in areas you don’t serve. Google has a lead dispute process. If you find you're getting spam calls, and especially if it's egregious, there is more severe action that can be taken against those who are abusing the platform.

Can companies set up booking for just some job types, and leave the rest as the standard setup with phone calls?

Yes, by choosing the job types in your ServiceTitan settings. If someone sees your Local Services ad, they can call in about any job type, but you're able to control which job types they select to instantly book with you through Google.

A lot of employees don’t want to put their Social Security number onto the Local Services Ads application. What would you tell business owners who are seeing that resistance?

Google uses third party background check partners who have been vetted for the security of their platform, and Google has no visibility to the Social Security numbers that are collected. 

If one technician fails the background check, does the whole business fail?

Yes, Diehl said. Google verifies the business in total. It will be unknown to Google, and to the business, which technician failed in that process. A business can reapply within 30 days after that failure.

What happens with the Google Guarantee when a new technician is hired? 

If the new tech is in one of the verticals that requires background checks, they’ll need to go through the verification process.

If I have one Google account but a lot of locations, can all of them work from one account? 

You can, Haugan said, by adding zip codes from all the areas that you serve. But larger providers with multiple physical locations might want to have each go through a separate validation because of different requirements. The right move depends on your business structure. If a company is in doubt, Google CSRs can help them make the best decision. Contact Local Services Ads Support for help: https://g.co/ads/contact-localservices 

Is the Google integration part of the core managed tech fee in ServiceTitan?

Yes, it’s included in the core and will be accessible to every ServiceTitan customer with the Google Guarantee when we enter open beta in a few weeks. 

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help home service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.

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