As a home inspector, you know that the flow of work can be inconsistent, especially during the late fall and winter months. Gaps in your schedule and declining demand can cause concern and anxiety, but the good news is that there are several ways you can weather the storm during trying times, paving the way for a more resilient future.
The Power of the Pivot
There is no magic ball to predict what the housing market is going to do over the next year. What we do know is that 2023, with its high mortgage rates, was a rough year for many potential home buyers. Economists are optimistic that the Federal Reserve will not be hiking rates going forward, but predict that affordability will still be an issue.
As a business owner, being able to pivot will improve your odds of becoming a success story. In fact, a pivot can allow you to seize opportunities and expand your reach.
More than a One-Stop Shop
As incoming leads become scarcer, you’ll be forced to compete with other businesses. To remain successful, there are two things you must prioritize:
Improving your odds of closing more leads than the competition
Increasing the average ticket price to compensate for fewer overall leads
One surefire method for improving the odds you’ll close more leads and increase your average ticket price is by diversifying your services.
Diversifying your services can attract and retain more customers, boost your bottom line, and grow your business. During these times when you need to close more leads than the competition and boost those average ticket prices, you don’t want to lose a customer because you don’t offer additional services like radon testing or termite inspections.
Providing Ancillary Services
As a home inspection business owner, you might already offer a set of ancillary services. Some of the more popular services being offered by the top businesses in our industry today include:
Plumbing / sewer scope
Lead paint inspections
Termite / pest inspections
You’re already familiar with the many issues that can affect homes — yet if the solutions to these issues are not technically within your purview as you write your report, you are missing opportunities to grow your business. It’s time to consider additional certifications in areas you’re already likely well versed in, or which are popular in your area.
If you’re worried about the extra investment right now to add in those services, don’t be. Too often, when home inspectors begin to experience much slower periods in their businesses, they mistakenly cut out critical business initiatives, sacrificing long-term growth and stability for short-term financial comfort.
Prioritizing the Customer Experience
Maximizing every lead and upselling your diversified services isn’t always easy. It can feel uncomfortable and salesy. But it’s the businesses that have a thoughtful approach to customer service, and a strategic plan for managing and improving the greater customer experience, who will always win the day. In fact, improving customer experience is the fastest-growing priority area for surveyed customer care leaders. (McKinsey & Company).
As leads present themselves, how you market and sell your inspection services becomes just as important, if not more so, than what you sell. Consider the following statistics:
80% of customers say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services (McKinsey & Company)
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer FEELS they are being treated (McKinsey & Company)
67% of customers say they would definitely be willing to PAY MORE for a great customer experience (McKinsey & Company)
51% of customers will never do business again with a company after just one negative experience (Forrester Research)
33% of Americans say they will consider switching companies after just a SINGLE INSTANCE of poor service (American Express 2018 Customer Service Study)
According to a 2018 report by New Voice Media, poor customer service costs U.S. businesses more than $75 billion a year. And, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) reported that the satisfaction of American consumers fell in Q2 2022 to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. So, with so many upsides to providing a great experience for customers, why are so many businesses doing it so badly?
The customer “experience” involves how your agents and clients perceive your brand from the moment they first interact with it, all the way through the inspection lifecycle process – including the final delivery of the report, the last follow-up email, and even a thoughtful holiday card.
Creating a Stand-Out Brand Experience
Maximizing every lead, upselling more ancillary services – it all starts by focusing on creating a greater, overall customer experience. Ask yourself these questions:
How often are your agents referring business to you? Has that been increasing over time or decreasing?
Does your website give the impression you will provide them with a great experience, or does it overwhelm them with details?
When their call is answered after a few rings, does a friendly voice greet them, giving the time to answer all their questions about one of the biggest purchase decisions they may be making in their lives?
Are your marketing materials friendly and engaging?
Are you handling leads, offering your services, and booking inspections in a helpful, easy manner?
Is handling special requests a non-issue?
After the inspection, how would you describe the reaction of your customer?
How are you addressing questions or concerns they may have?
What are you doing post-inspection to make sure the agent and client received the best possible experience?
If you choose to trim back on business costs that are actually critical business initiatives – like lead management and upselling by highly-trained professionals – you’ll be jeopardizing your ability to provide an exceptional customer experience for your clients.
Transform Your Business with ACC
Trusting ACC with your customer service will allow you to focus on meeting your business goals and objectives. And what could be more important than that?
We are a fully integrated customer service and communication-handling solution exclusively for home inspectors. We have 25 years of experience and knowledge of what it takes to successfully navigate more challenging economic cycles.
When budgets are tight, it’s good to have a partner with a history of producing an average increase of 15% – 30% in revenue for home inspectors, while only costing an average of $2-$5 an hour for those services. That’s a huge boost for a small investment!
Ready to accelerate your home inspection business? Request a free quote today.