As the busy summer season starts to heat up, many contractors in the trades try to strategize new ways to maximize efficiency and increase profits without hiring more CSRs or technicians. Oftentimes, they discover value in automating the customer experience from marketing to booking, which can translate into no more missed calls and a plentiful job board.
Two ServiceTitan industry experts, Jordan Brenner and Heather Donaldson, along with Rival Digital President and Founder Eric Thomas, share how to make the most of the busy season without sacrificing customer experience in our latest webinar. They offer tips on:
Best practices for helping CSRs handle high call volumes without breaking a sweat.
How to prioritize high revenue-generating opportunities while maintaining staff levels.
How to use tools such as Marketing Pro and Scheduling Pro (powered by Schedule Engine) together to handle the heavy lifting.
By discovering the benefits of multichannel marketing and learning ways to optimize your conversions through customer experience, you’ll keep your team’s load at a productive but manageable level, and happy customers returning for more during every season of the year.
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How Marketing Pro and Scheduling Pro elevate the customer experience
ServiceTitan created Marketing Pro to help contractors rethink how to do marketing with an all-in-one consolidated marketing automation solution, says Donaldson, Senior Project Manager for ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro suite of services.
“We're talking email, direct mail, reputation, and our newest feature, ads,” Donaldson says. “What the product does is it actually helps you leverage your customer data to get more calls, booked jobs, and higher customer spend.”
With Scheduling Pro—formerly known as Schedule Engine and purchased by ServiceTitan in 2022—companies of all sizes can offer customers options to book jobs online, via live chat, or by phone.
“Scheduling Pro was solely created to give you guys the power to allow your customers to book an appointment at their convenience or around your actual business rule,” says Brenner, a ServiceTitan Strategic Pro Account Manager. “Our ultimate goal is to help you never miss a call, especially as peak season hits. Let's not miss any calls and make sure we turn all those leads into actual booked appointments.”
5 tips to maximize summer profits
With guidance from our industry experts, use these tips to maximize your service company’s summer profits.
Tip #1: Set up your business for success
Start by testing and making sure all of your business information (phone number, address, website, Google My Business, Home Advisor, etc.) is correct everywhere online and matches up to all current and future marketing campaigns.
Thomas, who founded Rival Digital, a full-service digital marketing and website development agency for the trades, advises his clients to do a general test on phone lines, contact forms, scheduling tools, chat widgets, and email distribution lists before the busy season hits.
“You definitely don't want any of these leads to fall through the cracks, especially since we had a rough kind of shoulder season this year,” Thomas says. “We're all anticipating the warm weather, and for those phones to start ringing and those contact forms to start getting full again.”
Once you’ve confirmed all information is accurate, you can focus on making it easier for customers to book services with your business.
“Part of what we want to do in helping you guys set yourself up for success is taking some pressure off of your CSRs,” Brenner explains. “Whether that’s online scheduling or live chat, part of what we want to do is help you divert traffic off those phone lines. This allows the CSRs to still take phone calls, but it also allows people to put it in their own hands and book the way they want.”
Tip #2: Offer online scheduling
Today’s consumers demand convenience, so it’s critical for all contractors to offer some form of online booking, Brenner says.
“We're all consumers at the end of the day, and no one really wants to fill out a contact form,” Brenner says. “Where do these forms go? Who's going to call me back? What happens if I miss the phone call back? Are we going to play phone tag all day?”
Give customers that sense of instant gratification by allowing them an easy way to book a job online when and where they want to. Even if it’s an emergency in the middle of the night, customers will choose the path of least resistance to get the job booked as soon as possible.
“That's really where online scheduling can convert that actual lead into a booked appointment,” Brenner explains. “There’s revenue tied to it, and there’s no need for a CSR to call them back.”
Quoting from Donald Miller’s book, “Building a Story Brand,” Thomas says contractors and business owners like to think of themselves as the hero who arrives to solve a customer’s problem. With online scheduling, however, the customer’s the hero and you’re just there to guide them toward a solution.
“The customer wants you to tell them what to do,” Thomas says. “Remember, you're the guide. They're the hero, but they need help, so they need you to guide them along the journey.”
That guidance may be as simple as changing your call-to-action (CTA) verbiage on your website or marketing campaigns to: "Book your service online and get $50 off," or "Schedule online anytime."
“Tell them what to do, and you'll begin to see the conversion rate on some of these online bookings increase,” Thomas advises.
To access the automation of Scheduling Pro, ServiceTitan users must purchase the add-on Marketing Pro full suite of services. Scheduling Pro offers customers an easy way to book online, via live chat, or live voice, with no need to leave a message or wait for a call back.
Scheduling Pro resources include:
Online Scheduling: Streamlines the booking process, helping customers schedule complete appointments online at any hour of the day.
Live Voice: With scheduling integrations and emergency on-call escalation workflow strategies managed by industry-trained agents, Live Voice always delivers the best customer experience, even after hours and on holidays.
Live Chat: Provides answers and guidance as soon as your customers reach out with real industry-trained agents to book jobs on the spot and boost customer satisfaction.
Tip #3: Leverage live chat
Live chat gives customers yet another option for serving themselves. Manned by real industry-trained agents, the live chat option through Scheduling Pro allows customers to talk directly to a knowledgeable rep who captures all pertinent information and helps them set up an appointment with your next available service technician.
“Some people want to book through web chat, some people want to call you, some want to go through online scheduling. It's about the one or two customers that day who do want to go through live chat,” Brenner says. “We need to give them the option, make it easy for them. They want to feel taken care of, and sometimes they need a little bit of a human touch.”
And if you use a robotic chat feature to capture information, then tell the customer someone will call back, you’re just defeating the purpose of “live chat,” he says.
“When we can have a trained CSR provide a little bit of empathy and just give that human touch, it does go a long way for your customers,” Brenner says.
Thomas referenced data analysis conducted by SearchLight that shows 56 out of every 100 people who fill out an online scheduling tool and 51 out of 100 people who use a live chat become a paying customer, compared to only about 20% for phones and contact forms.
Why is that? “It's because there's room for human error when it comes to the phones and the contact forms,” Thomas says.
“You need to provide options for customers so they're not just boxed into one thing. Let them serve themselves in the way that they're the most comfortable doing,” Thomas says.
Tip #4: Automate marketing
As you’re preparing for a busy summer season, you can make Marketing Pro work for you by accessing all of the customer data in your ServiceTitan account and automating certain actions, such as sending a recurring service email reminder to customers with memberships.
“Your CSRs are going to love it if you do this because you're going to be able to free up their time,” Donaldson says. “They're not going to have to chase down missed calls, answer basic questions, or try to get your membership customers scheduled for recurring services. Instead, you’re going to be able to have those phones free for things like emergencies.”
By sending an automated recurring service email reminder, you can start priming your customers to schedule ahead of time. As customers start to fall into that funnel of when their appointment is due, their services and revenue automatically connect to the right marketing campaign.
For those who don’t use Marketing Pro, core ServiceTitan users can go into their marketing tab and schedule a recurring service reminder SMS drip that sends a text to customers reminding them to schedule upcoming recurring services, Donaldson says.
Multi-channel marketing, much like offering customers multiple channels to book a job, produces better results. For instance, you might schedule a direct mail postcard to be sent to anyone who didn’t open their recurring service email or received their SMS text notification.
“Using one method is not going to yield the best results as it would if you were using multiple methods, and that's just because we all like to communicate in different ways,” Donaldson says.
Bonus tips to take the pressure off CSRs during busy seasons:
Send an automated email with pre-visit expectations for customers.
Send an automated post-visit thank you that includes all of your contact information and directs customers to leave a review.
Send automated appointment confirmations to customers by SMS.
Tip #5: Tap into synergies between Marketing Pro and Scheduling Pro
“Using email, you can actually add a direct link to your marketing campaign with tracking to attribute those job bookings to that email campaign. Same with direct mail, you would just create a QR code, design it onto the front of your postcard, and track the code to that campaign,” Donaldson says. “And you can also add a link to your SMS campaign for recurring services.”
And, most importantly, make sure to give customers an option for booking online and adjust your CTAs to reflect it, Brenner says.
“Give them that ‘book now’ or that ‘schedule your repair right now,’ whether it's from direct mail, SMS, or email, all driving traffic to your site to convert that lead,” he says.
Thomas also advises linking your primary CTAs directly to your online booking tool, rather than sending customers down a rabbit hole when trying to schedule a job. One of his customers who did that tripled their conversion rates overnight, he says.
Bonus tip: Get support if you need it
“Don't suffer in silence. If you're having an issue with something, you can connect with other professionals in the trades to share best practices, insights, and strategies for managing busy seasons,” Donaldson says.
Is Scheduling Pro and Marketing Pro good for small or large shops?
Brenner says Scheduling Pro works for mom-and-pop shops all the way up to large enterprises. He says the “proof is in the pudding” as illustrated in the following three case studies:
Any Hours Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Air booked 2,800 appointments with online booking in the first 90 days of using Schedule Engine (now Scheduling Pro). 45% were net-new customers and 30% came in between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Academy Air, Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, Electrical used Scheduling Pro Live Voice to answer 5,475 calls, 20% of which turned into booked appointments in the first two months.
At The Eco Plumbers, 71% of chats resulted in a generated lead using Scheduling Pro Live Chat.
“I like to think about it this way,” Brenner says. “You guys all hire CSRs to convert leads and book appointments during the day. If we're doing that, or you can do that when they're not working and you're not paying them, that's how Scheduling Pro can pay for itself.”
Donaldson says ServiceTitan customers who use Marketing Pro also experience some great results, such as:
27% increase in membership renewal rate
14% higher revenue after one year of Marketing Pro tied to their campaigns
13% lift in average jobs per customer
“Not only are you getting more membership renewal rates or revenue from jobs on Marketing Pro, but you're getting an increase in average jobs per customer because you’re remarketing to your current customers. You’re really upping your retention game here,” Donaldson says.
>>Ready to see what Marketing Pro and Scheduling Pro can do to elevate your customer experience? Receive 2 FREE months + the next 4 months at 25% off when you bundle Scheduling Pro, Marketing Pro, and/or Pricebook Pro.