Remember the good old days? Before Google and the Internet destroyed your parts business? Remember when advertising was local? When your listing in the yellow pages and the phone number on the side of your trucks would yield calls for replacement parts?
The great margins on most of the parts disappeared when everyone could Google a part number and get back 10 sites with pricing and detailed video documentation on how to diagnose and replace the failing part.
Guess what? Your services business might be the next to fall to the Internet Titans. Angie’s List, Home Advisor, FM Facility Maintenance and all of the manufacturers you have historically represented want your customers’ service business. They are investing millions and millions in capability to deliver customer service via the Internet and relegate you to being the labor bureau and the truck depot that they harness to make premium service margins. They are going to connect the equipment to the Internet so they can see exactly how service should be delivered to maximize the customer’s return on those assets. They are going to use data and statistics to deliver predictive customer service via amazingly rich websites. They are going to enable the customer to do a level of self-service and basic maintenance through gentle email reminders and cool “how to” videos that demonstrate simple consumable part replacements. Every search the customer does on the Internet or in their email inbox is going to yield a hundred hits in favor of Internet customer service. And, you will be maintaining trucks and managing labor issues awaiting their dispatch call to service their customer.
If you do not like the sound of the new business model that you are facing, maybe it is time to actually do something different. Get ahead of the trend. Invest in Internet customer service instead of continuing to insist that a clunky accounting application plus a static website is all you need to run your business. Your customer service capability needs to extend to the boundaries of the Internet. Your customer impressions cannot be limited to the period when your truck is parked in the customer’s driveway or parking lot. You need to figure out how to deliver valuable information on the web and in their email inbox to help them make good decisions on equipment stewardship based on YOUR expertise. The only way you will make premium margins in the future is to get paid for what you know instead of simply getting paid for where you go. Figure out how to be the brand instead of simply being resigned to being the labor bureau and the truck depot for someone else. If you want a roadmap, call us. Providing a bright future for your service business is our commitment to you.