Customer service experience is one of the most critical aspects of your residential home service business. We may think an excellent customer service experience is equally important to all industries, but that’s not the case. The more complex the solution, the more chance for you to disappoint them. Customers judge your customer service experience and base their decision to return, refer, or reject based on their experience.
Residential home service businesses need unrivaled customer service skills than many other industries. Having convenient and safe products and services at an economical price and cost of ownership is a minimum standard. The secret value proposition is delivering a superior customer service experience for businesses looking to outpace the competition.
When you deliver an excellent customer service experience and top-notch service, you will find it much easier to capture top-dollar rates.
You want that.
Here, we’ll explain the customer service experience and explore everything you need to know about it in residential home service businesses. Keep reading.
What Defines Excellent Customer Experience?
The customer service experience can be defined as how customers perceive their interactions with a company. That includes everything from the initial contact to after-sales support.
- A good customer experience will leave the customer feeling valued, supported, and satisfied.
- A bad customer service experience, on the other hand, will only serve to frustrate and alienate customers.
Customer service experience is one of the main reasons customers are willing to pay more for products or services. This is especially true as not all business models are created equal. I’m not talking about differences in the products or services sold. Instead, with differing business models, there is varying customer reception.
Let me explain.
There are businesses that customers love buying from. It is typically the case when customers’ purchase is internally motivated — they WANT to buy. Who wouldn’t want a new pair of Lululemons or the latest iPhone? Getting ahold of that new iPhone satisfies a consumer’s pleasure point of identity.
On the other end of the spectrum are businesses that sell externally triggered, grudge purchases. Unlike Lululemons, these customers are being forced to buy due to unfortunate circumstances. In this setting, a client’s buying motives come from negative resonance (fear, stress, anxiety, frustration) instead of a positive one.
Residential home services like HVAC, plumbing, and roofing companies all fall into this category.
In other words, they see the requirement for a home services purchase as a burden. For this reason, the offer of a satisfying customer service experience is a valuable proposition.
Customer service experience is the aspect that can make you the frontrunner in your community’s home service needs. Call Wizard of Sales® to help you master the craft of customer service experience. Book a call here.
The Main Job of a Customer Service Provider
Your residential home service business anchors negotiating with your customers. According to Chris Voss, every negotiation is a collaboration. The only way collaboration works are by building trust between businesses and customers.
Voss added that labeling is a communication tool you can use to positively affect the outcome of a negotiation. Labeling means verbalizing and acknowledging the customer’s feelings to neutralize their negative emotions and promote positive feelings. Aside from being a negotiating instrument, labeling can also ensure an excellent customer service experience.
Customers treasures three things more than anything else. These underlying felt needs are what a buyer taps into to measure value. Your attention to their underlying felt needs influence the perceived value of your business. When you become the business that understands what matters most to buyers and handles it better than your competitors, you win.
Buyers measure every purchase with these three things: money, energy, and time (MET).
All things being equal, customers gravitate towards the lowest price. This is especially true with externally triggered, grudge purchases like residential home services.
The deeper a shopper is living in survival mode, the more protective of their money. Money is the easiest of the 3 to measure, making it the most obvious measurement for your value proposition.
Customers naturally equate the money they spent to the customer service experience. You will only beat the game when you get really good at making your goods and services more than money.
Business is about giving customers the best perceived customer service experience. Done right, the buyer understands and appreciates that you’ve not only swapped your solution for their money, but that your solution alleviated a pain point or provided a pleasure point.
When a buyer agrees to spend their money (and time) to return to a happy, safe, balanced, calm, or stable place in their mind, they are measuring energy. This is a feeling based on positive and negative energy that is created from the buying journey.
If you introduce confusion, stress, frustration, anxiety, or risk into the eqauation your solution is not worth their investment of money, energy, or time. When you are able to articulate your value by making things easy, convenient, safe, affordable (not cheap), accessible, and free from long-term burden, you are kicking out a positive resonance (energy).
Everything comes down to a pursuit of (positive) energy.
What energy is your customer service experience giving out?
Unlike money, time is a non-renewable resource that customers are desparate to defend. It’s your job to deliver an efficient solution in both time and money. The quicker you can remove their frustration, stress, or anxiety, the more valuable your solution.
If an issue arises after a solution is delivered, the clock is reset, and you need to be ready to act quickly to get them back to a baseline of happy again.
This repeats itself for as long as the relationship lasts. This is customer service 101, but unfortunately, many businesses are still missing it in their recipe for success.
Naturally, most customers won’t outright state these underlying felt needs, but once these 3 essential ingredients are MET (see what I did there?), you have a valuproposition that will far exceed that of your competitors. This will both secure a sale and ensuring a positive customer service experience.
It’s important to understand that each underlying felt need has a weighted value of importance depending on your client. For example, transactional shoppers value money before energy and time. They’ll haggle for the lowest possible upfront price, often because they are sceptical that you will actually deliver on alleviating the pressure on their time and energy. Others are simply not attuned to their feelings, and will continue to wallow in their endless misery. Some transactional shoppers are so deep into survival mode, taht they don’t have the luxury to worry about their time as a factor, or so they believe.
On the other hand, relational buyers are more often in thriving mode (or actively looking to protect their status in thriving mode). These people value time more than money, and are willing to pay a reasonable premium for additional convenience. They are most concerned aout finding an empathetic and competent company to solve their problems so their problems go away forever.
Whether a relational buyer or a transactional shopper, your customers are all looking to invest their money and time in the wisest manner to bring them back to a baseline of happy. Get rid of the stress, and create an environment of calm to allow them to live their best life.
Learning to deal with different customers will enable you to position your business as an understanding enterprise. This secures a perceived customer service experience that’s unrivaled in your industry.
Customers Will Pay More for Excellent Service
Despite inflation, customers making big purchases remain unceasing. According to Invoca’s recent report and survey, there are more high-stake purchases in 2022 than last year. However, additional information may change a business’s perspective on customer service experience.
As the years pass, more businesses are sprouting up in every industry, and customers are becoming savvier. The internet has enabled customers to find what they want, and they are not afraid to pay more for good experiences.
In today’s business landscape, the customer service experience is everything. That’s why business owners must make sure their customer service is up to par. This element may be the deciding factor in why customers choose one company over the other.
Let’s uncover some statistics on the importance of excellent customer service experience below based on Invoca’s survey.
Buyer Experience Report
According to the report by Invoca, the rising prices of goods and services have not significantly slowed customer demand. There’s been a 3 point lift in high-stakes purchases in 2022 vs. 2021 (38% vs. 35%).
The report further added that 67% of consumers are engaged in prior research to find the best value. A staggering 37% also reported doing more extensive research to find the business that offers the best customer service experience.
It’s normal for customers to be concerned about cost. While some skimp on expensive services, they may not have a choice but spend top-dollar with residential home services. That said, customers expect an even more reliable customer service experience when paying a more significant chunk. Six out of 10 respondents said they’re willing to pay more for products and services with an excellent customer service experience.
On the other hand, 76% said one bad experience is all it takes to halt business transactions with a brand. In other words, customers will pay more for a better customer service experience. Or they’ll make your business pay if you don’t offer it.
Despite Inflation, Customers are Willing to Pay More
Clients are willing to pay more because there aren’t other businesses they can rely on. Trust me, there are, and there are tons of them. The business’s attention to their felt needs is at the core of customers’ buying decisions or penchant for a brand.
Think about it.
Customers are willing to engage in more extensive research because they desire the best use of their time. They want to segregate reliable and trustworthy businesses based on their online reputation. Instead of engaging with every business, initial research helps them single out companies that won’t waste their time.
Secondly, a customer’s willingness to spend more on an excellent customer service experience is not influenced by higher economic standing. Consumers value their money, energy, and time, not just their money. That means selling world-class solutions and impeccable customer service in one irresistible package.
It only takes one bad experience to make customers say “they’re done” because ultimately, they treasure their energy. A customer’s decision to switch companies is not based on a whim. They won’t have business with brands that fail to reciprocate the same enthusiasm and positive energy (intent) as them. If they feel like their energy is undervalued by a company’s lack of empathy and competence, they will look elsewhere.
In other words, it always falls back to their underlying felt needs. Every successful or failed customer service experience is anchored on how well you value their money, energy, and time.
On top of having their underlying felt needs MET, customers are looking to eliminate pain points and accentuate pleasure points. These are a buyers CORE motivators, both carry either a positive or negative resonance (energy) that influence their choices. Customers naturally seek positive resonance because they want to get back to a baseline of peace to allow them to live their life.
You want to positively affect buyers by framing your interaction in a positive light (resonance) rather than building up negative emotions (energy). For example, negotiating from the angle of abundance, happiness, security, hope, or gratitude is better than building a case on fear, shame, or guilt.
For instance, imagine a customer inquiring about a new water heater installation. Negotiating from a positive resonance would sound like this:
“Thank you for considering us to install your new water heater. You’ll be happy to hear that new models are considerably more energy efficient. You’ll save almost $100 a year in energy alone. We can install your heater today and you’ll be enjoying a hot shower before bed, if you so choose. We can even ensure that we get the safety shutoff code upgrade done all at the same time.”
On the other hand, building up negative emotions would sound like this:
“If you buy a water heater today, we can get it installed in the next 3 days or so. I can only guarantee this price today while I’m here. If you don’t do it now, the price will go up. Getting inventory is really hard and we only have the one, so yo’d better decide now.”
See the difference?
While both interactions would’ve still led to a sale, there’s a significant contrast between both approaches. The first example creates a sense of trust and comfort, while the second one creates anxiety and fear.
An excellent customer service experience means tugging the right emotional buying triggers. Negative emotions are not ideal for buying anything because they violate a customer’s desire to pursue positive resonance. Otherwise, customers will begrudgingly purchase and remember your business for it’s sleazy tactics and how bad you made them feel.
Does fear work? Yup.
Does that mean you should resort to such tactics? Nope. It’s toxic.
It’s lazy, short-sighted, and will ultimately limit your long-term opportunities.
When you make your customer feel good, they’re more likely to buy from you again. Not once, but repeatedly, and even recommend you to their Realm of Association. That’s worth its weight in gold.
Good vs. Excellent
In customer service, we know that the customer is not always right. But we have to remain agreeable if we are to make the right sale. The customer should feel like a valuable part of the company, not just an inconvenience. They should feel like they’re heard, and their customer service experience should be excellent. The best approach to achieve this is to actually listen to them, and steer them to the right choice. This doesn’t always mean their choice is the right choice.
Below are some differences between good and excellent customer service experiences in the residential home service industry.
A Good Customer Service Experience
- You meet their expectations. Every customer contacting your business has preconceived notions of the desired outcome. If their HVAC unit isn’t working, they expect guidance on how to troubleshoot it. Good customer service helps them realize their perceptual reality. You meet their expectations.
- You focus on solving the symptoms. Good customer service is driven by a focus on solving the customer’s immediate concern — the symptons. That could range from providing the information they need to DIY to dispatching a technician to their home. In any case, you work to patch up their problem at hand.
- You do your best to provide answers. One of the everyday things customer service reps do is put callers on hold when they don’t know the answer. It is acceptable so long as you don’t keep them waiting for hours on end. It’s better when you return with a response to their inquiry.
An Excellent Customer Service Experience
- You exceed their expectations. It is the customer service experience that keeps customers coming back for more. It’s also what they’re willing to pay a premium for. Those little things that employees do make the customer feel valued. For example, going above and beyond the initial scope of a project.
- You focus on holistic solutions. Beyond realizing your customer’s perceptual reality, you want to ensure they don’t reencounter the same problems. That is what holistic solutions are for. When you can solve the root problems for a customer, and not just the symptoms, you are creating a better customer service experience. Think bundles, not boxes.
- You don’t waste their time. Understandably, skilled techs are more suited to answer technical customer inquiries. However, excellent customer service experience ensures that every employee is better equipped with technical knowledge to resolve problems faster. This eliminates dead air and prevents wastage on behalf of the customer.
The Buying Experience
Most entrepreneurs confuse buying experience with customer service experience. They are very similar, but the two concepts have subtle differences.
What is the Buying Experience?
Gartner defines buying experience as how prospects perceive the whole experience of buying a service or product from your business. It’s important to understand that you must view the buying experience from a buyer’s perspective.
Only buyers know what they need to be convinced to make a sale. Of course, it revolves around their three underlying felt needs, but no buyer straightforwardly tells you this. The responsibility to read between the lines and determine a prospect’s buying motivations falls directly on the seller.
The moment you uncover which buttons to push to meet your customer’s underlying felt needs, pain points, and pleasure points, you make the sale.
Buying Experience vs. Customer Experience
Buying experience deals with the entire process, beginning with the initial engagement to the purchase. A good buying experience means ensuring that every touchpoint tips prospects closer to finalizing a deal with you.
Think of it this way: Customer service experience covers more ground than the buying experience. Customer service experience covers the initial engagement, purchase, and post-sale interaction.
Your goal is to give your customers both a positive buying experience and an excellent customer service experience. Otherwise, the entire sales process will look like a hit and run. In other words, you no longer care about the new customer just because you’ve secured the sale.
More Info How Customer Experience Affects Your Home Services Business
Here are other statistics that emphasize the importance of an excellent customer service experience, especially in residential home service industries:
- Khoros says excellent customer service converts 86% of one-time clients into long-term brand advocates.
- Salesforce Research says 9 out of 10 consumers are more likely to repurchase after a positive customer service experience. They also added that 78% will still do business even after a mistake if there’s good customer service.
- Zendesk says customer service experience is a critical element for customer loyalty.
- Qualtrics XM Institute says “good” customer service encourages customers to recommend a business.
- Glance says 78% of customers backed out of a deal due to poor customer service experience.
That One Bad Experience
Remember, destroying everything you’ve built only takes one bad experience. There are no do-overs. Ensure you do right the first time in your customer service experience to retain long-term clients.
You can position your business as the best industry choice with an excellent customer service experience complementing your world-class solutions.