For some field service business, converting quotes into paying jobs is pretty straightforward, especially if you can demonstrate a track record that gives customers the confidence to confirm a job with your business quickly.
That said, with so much choice these days—and with it being so easy to make comparisons online—you may find that it’s been getting increasingly difficult to convert those estimates into booked jobs, even if you are showing customers how good you are.
If that’s the case, you’ll no doubt be wondering what you can do to sway the odds in your favour.
First and foremost, it helps to gain perspective and make sure you’ve not forgotten about the all-important buyer’s journey. After all, a shift in buying habits will have inevitably impacted your job conversion and if you’re not adjusting to meet your customer's needs, then it's time to react.
However, if you're ready to take a look at the steps to achieve quoting success, skip ahead by clicking below:
➡️ Skip to The 7 Steps to "Quoting" Success
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey
Phase 1 - The Awareness stage:
Task: Identify the customer’s problem
Your customer knows they have a leaky pipe, a gas leak, or a boiler that isn’t doing what it should, and are on the lookout for a solution. Assuming your service is easy to find (more on that below) you need to make it clear you’re in a position to provide the solution they need.
If a customer contacts you, your customer service should be perfectly positioned to reassure them, give their professional opinion, and talk the customer through what needs to happen.
"If you don't have an intimate understanding of your buyers, conduct a few interviews with customers, prospects, and other salespeople at your company to get a sense of the buying journey." - HubSpot
Indicating that your business can help them is a sure-fire way to move them on to Phase 2.
Phase 2 - The Consideration Stage:
Task: Solve your customer’s problems
With a clear knowledge of what they need to do, customers will begin to narrow down their options at this point. It’s here so that you can start to convince them you’re the best choice.
For instance, you could discuss their work-history, reminding them that you’ve already carried out a successful repair or installation and can do so again. On the other hand, if they’re new, you can use that to convince a prospect you’ve got a great track record.
This is also where price, time, and the impact of the job are going to come into consideration. Ultimately, you want to strike a good balance demonstrating value that’s transparent, so customer’s know exactly what they’re going to get.
If they find what they’re looking for, they might just go on to Phase 3...
👀 Hint: If you’re making use of software and can provide an online booking portal, with simple features like a drop-down menu, you can give customers an easy way to understand if you’re the right fit, without them having to pick up the phone.
Phase 3 - The Decision Stage:
Task: Ensure they choose your services
If your potential customer hasn’t used your services before, then this is where your professionalism, customer service, and processes make all the difference.
The quicker and smoother you make these processes, the more chance you have of getting that customer, new or returning, to decide on hiring you.
👀 Hint: For emergencies or same-day jobs, if you have a job management system in place to quickly identify the closest available engineer and dispatch them straight-away, all whilst the customer is on the phone, you’re far more likely to land the job!
The 7 Steps to "Quoting" Success
Now we’re familiar with the Buyer’s Journey, let’s take a look at the seven-step process you can follow to give you an edge at each phase, particularly if you commit to using job costing software to keep yourself a boost and convert as many estimates into jobs as possible.
- Step 1: Make it easy for customers find you
- Step 2: Take control of storing and managing your client database
- Step 3: Optimise engineer's schedule and improve dispatch
- Step 4: Create and send estimates with ease
- Step 5: Open up communication with your customers
- Step 6: Make it easy to listen to your customers
- Step 7: Learn from customers with after-sales care
Step 1: Make it easy for customers find you
Your marketing strategy plays a big role in raising awareness of your business and bringing in clients.
Ensuring you have a digital presence with a website that demonstrates the value of your services will be a big help and make it easy for customers to find you online, which is made easier and best handled with a digital database that makes useful data easily accessible (more on that below).
Digital transformation will make it much easier for customers to find you online and remote software for field service businesses is playing a significant role in helping many to cope in 2020 and beyond.
However, as well as a digital presence online, you also stand to benefit from a software system that makes online customer service easy. If you can demonstrate excellent customer care, it can lead your customers to rave about your services, creating effective word-of-mouth marketing that's sure to have a positive impact on job bookings.
Step 2: Control how you store and manage your client database
Your client database can be one of the most useful tools you have, letting you handle a whole host of tasks (whether it's simple admin and more complex scheduling) with ease.
A great software solution will let you have your customer information available at your fingertips, allowing you to almost instantly see what jobs have been completed, and plan in real-time for what needs doing next.
With a system like Commusoft, for example, our database software can allow you to do an awful lot more for your business, compared to managing tasks with individual tools. For example, the ability to add estate agents and landlords that you work with regularly, and link tenants to landlords to give a full picture can make life a whole lot easier for those of you working regularly on property contracts, streamlining your approach to scheduling, invoicing, and more besides.
If you perform regular services or gas safety checks, the system can also send automatic reminders to customers, getting them to come to you for a quote, with a much higher chance that you’ll win the job (not doing this could be the reason you're not getting more gas safety jobs).
With this level of insight, you’re sure to demonstrate a consistently high level of quality customer care, making it more likely for customers to use your services again.
🔎 Learn more: Why your Database is Essential for Customer Retention
Step 3: Optimise engineer's schedule and improve dispatch
The more steps you have to take to schedule jobs and dispatch your engineers, the more time your customers have to wait, and the less likely they are to be delighted with your work.
If a customer has a water leak or a gas leak, they need an engineer now, and if you can’t provide that, they will go elsewhere. Scheduling and dispatching may directly seem to impact converting estimates to jobs but if your processes are inefficient, there’ll be a knock-on effect that customers will notice. If they can find faster solutions, you’ll certainly miss out.
A smooth operating system that quickly finds the nearest available qualified engineer will do wonders for your customer’s impression of you, creating more opportunities for you to win them over during their buyer’s journey.
Step 4: Create and send estimates with ease
If you’re still doing quotes and estimates on Word or on a spreadsheet, you could be losing valuable time that your competitors will take advantage of.
The quicker you can get a quote to your customer, the more chance you will get the job.
A system that allows you to issue a quote on the spot, making use of an online estimates portal, or even an online booking portal, can help you get jobs signed off quickly thanks to software speeding things up, even freeing you from time-consuming phone calls and delays.
Step 5: Open up communication with your customers
What do you do before going onsite? Email? Send a text message?
It’s a good idea to contact your customer and tell them that their engineer is on the way. It’s polite, it’s professional, and customers like to know where they are up to and when their problem is going to be fixed. It’s all about that great impression you want to create.
While it doesn’t take a great deal of time to write an email or send a text, you can save time by using a system that will let you send confirmations with the click of a button.
Step 6: Make it easy to listen to your customers
This is important both on and off-site. Be clear and provide advice and solutions, but keep communication channels open so that customers can respond to you, too.
It should be a standard operating procedure to take the time to hear what your customer is saying and to explain what the problem is and what you have done to fix it.
A software solution can provide you with an after-sales care portal, to make obtaining feedback like this even easier, and if you can arm your engineers with the digital tools necessary to make recording customer information easier, then feedback will be simple, every time.
Step 7: Learn from customers with after-sales care
We’ve mentioned it a few times, but that’s because the best thing you can do to market your business is to get social proof, such as testimonials from delighted customers! You’ll have far more chances of attracting people to your business and asking for quotes if you have great testimonials that show-off the excellent jobs you've done.
Getting that information can be tricky, especially when you’re busy physically doing a job, and following up to ask for a testimonial can often be the last thing on your mind, too. However, that’s where having a great system can reap dividends.
If your customer can fill in a quick and easy feedback comment that gets sent automatically added to your system, you’ll find you can collect far more testimonials that you can act on internally, and even ask for that all-important social proof on other reviews site, too.
An after-sales care portal can also play a significant role, too.
While not all of those steps are directly related to providing a quote, every part of your business needs to work seamlessly and efficiently in order to provide the most professional service possible, and it’s that high-quality service that your potential customers will see when you do provide a quote.
It can seem like there’s so much to coordinate (and frankly, there is) but if you’re using the right tools, thanks to a digital software solution that saves you time, energy and hassle, then you’ll see the benefits shine through.
From providing excellent and professional quotes and getting the job done, to finalising the paperwork and issuing your invoice. Use a solution which synchronises every step, and you’ll be converting quotes into jobs and provide outstanding service in no time.
If you’d like to take your business to the next level and improve everything you do, from your quote to your service, then why not watch our demo to see how we can help?