Monday, December 5th, 2016
Contractor Nation does market research on a regular basis to better understand the home improvement market and what customers are looking for. Recently, we’ve been focusing on three questions about the customers journey when thinking about hiring a contractor. Together, the answers to these three questions tell the story of a business in relationship with their customers and service territory. With insights into how your contractor's business is perceived during the hiring process through job completion, you should be able to identify some new approaches to grow your business and improve awareness of your brand.
Here’s the story of a roofing company in the Contractor Nation network as gleaned from one such survey.
We asked customers: “Why did you decide to call [Contractor Name] over another roofing company?”
This simple word cloud shows the importance of recommendations, reviews and referrals (the larger the font, the more frequent the response). Customers also revealed that their top concerns, before beginning their search for a roofer, were the quality and effectiveness of the service. That explains, in part, the value of referrals and reviews. As we’ve reported in past surveys, homeowners are looking for a contractor they can trust. And nothing says trust like a personal referral from family, friends and other contractors. Neighbors are important in several ways: homes may be more similar in a neighborhood and if your work is visible, such as roofing, your work speaks for itself. If your work is inside the home, yard signs and door knockers are implicit referrals from neighbors. And since most consumers take many paths before calling, online reviews are an important source of validation.
Then we asked: "What made you hesitate, if anything, before hiring us?"
After the call, when a prospective customer has had you in their home – or on their roof – to assess their problem, propose a solution and offer a quote, what might keep him or her from hiring you? Of course price is an important factor for a homeowner choosing to hire a contractor. What other issues are in your prospect’s mind when deciding whether to go with you specifically?
In roofing, working with insurance claims is an important criterion for many. In this survey, insurance and the roofer’s warranty were cited as important decision criteria. Note that the salesperson is a also critical factor for homeowners choosing a contractor. We find that the salesperson’s friendliness, pushiness and knowledge are often cited. These can all win your customer over or they can be an obstacle to getting the sale. In this particular survey, the word “door” and, in smaller font, “pressure” appeared a number of times, reflecting customer complaints that they did not like the company’s tactic of pitching their services door-to-door. Since this was a survey of customers, this complain didn’t stop them, but it’s good feedback for the company.
Our research has shown that many homeowners continue to research contractors after they’ve provided a quote. Addressing the obstacles inherent in your contracting niche or specific to your sales process can help you close leads and get more jobs.
Finally, we asked: "How would you describe your experience to others?"
This is the goal! When your past customers think of you as “Excellent,” “Friendly,” and “Professional” you’re going to get more 5-star reviews and in-person referrals, leading to future jobs. The other adjectives provide insight into the “nice to have” features of your service business, such as “clean”, “efficient”, “hard working”, “communication”, “smooth”. These words reflect your brand and the people your customers interact with. And of course, the negative adjectives point to what you could be doing better.
Specific details mentioned in reviews and customer surveys can help you improve your processes, build a brand that’s authentic and provide content ideas for social media and blog posts. As you can tell, the roofing company profiled in these three word clouds excels at customer service and the result is they get a lot of business via referrals and online reviews posted on their website.
If you're looking for fresh insights you can use to improve your brand awareness and grow your business, surveying customers regularly is a great place to start!