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5 mistakes most commercial service contractors make

Shawn Mims
March 1, 2017

Dear commercial service contractors,

Your cousins, residential service providers, have it figured out. What are you doing? Why are you still acting like a company from the 90s? Why aren’t you taking a page from their book and modernizing your customer service and marketing? I get it, they play by a different set of rules, but there are 5 statements that I hear from most commercial companies that drive me crazy:

1.) “I don’t need to update my website.”
It’s 2017. If you don’t think that customers and prospects are judging you by the quality of your website, you’re dead wrong. Even if you initiate business through word of mouth and outside sales, prospective customers are going to visit your website and compare it to the competition. How can they trust the quality of your workmanship if your website looks like something from the 90s, it’s constantly “under construction,” or can’t be accessed on their smartphone?

Your current customers didn’t decide to buy from you because of your website, but your future customers will.

2.) “Online reviews are for residential companies.”
About 90% of consumers consider reviews when making an online purchase. Your customers shop online in their personal lives and they are beginning to expect the same experience in their professional lives. It’s not hard to get reviews. All you have to do is make sure your Google My Business page is set up, then ask your happy customers to leave a review. To start, shoot for around 10 or more reviews. That’s it.

The next generation of decision makers will care about your online reputation.

3.) “My customers prefer paper and faxes.”
Is that what your customers really think? Or, is that what you and your employees think? The fax machine is a dying technology and nobody really wants to deal with paper. Our customers that have gone paperless (and faxless) unanimously agree that the majority of their customers prefer it that way. It’s not difficult to give data to your customers electronically and in a format that they can consume on their smartphones

Don’t assume that because you prefer paper and faxes that your customers do too.

4.) “We’ve been successful for 20+ years, we don’t need to change.”
Threats to and opportunities for your business are changing quickly with the evolving technology landscape. It’s easier than ever for all types of new competitors to steal your customers thanks to new customer service technologies. Take a look at what Uber did to the taxi industry, Netflix did to Blockbuster, Amazon is doing to Walmart, and Domino’s is doing to Papa Johns.

In this era of customer service innovation, if you ain’t first, you’ll be last.

5.) “Software is made for accounting, not customer service.”
Insert double facepalm here. Yes, accounting software is critical to understanding the finances of your business. However, modern software can enable a level of customer service that will set you apart from the competition. Use a best-in-breed software philosophy instead of software communism. Buy the best customer service software and a great accounting system. Then, integrate them.

Remember, your perfect accounting process is perfectly irrelevant to your customers.

These statements aren’t uncommon, so don’t feel bad if you’ve ever said any of them. Just know that if I ever hear you utter these words, I’ll probably sag my shoulders, sigh, and emulate my parents by telling you “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.” Learn from your cousins, the residential service contractors, and modernize your company.

– Shawn

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