How Customer-Centric is Your Home Inspection Business?
21 Dec

How Customer-Centric is Your Home Inspection Business?

In today’s home inspection industry, competition for customers is more intense than ever. And there exists a multitude of marketing tactics any inspector can employ to reach a variety of demographics. However, while marketing is incredibly important, studies continue to show that an enhanced customer service experience quite often surpasses those marketing tactics — and serve as a powerful marketing tactic in its own right. In the following, we’ll take a look at the importance of providing exceptional customer service — and how it can actually boost your home inspection business and its bottom line.

In an article on Forbes.com, contributor Shep Hyken states that customers expect above-the-bar service with every experience, and they make decisions such as repeating business or taking their patronage elsewhere based on just one subpar experience. Hyken writes, “Your customers no longer compare you just to your direct competition. You are being compared to the best service they have ever received… Customers now know what great customer service looks like, and they expect it from you.” Sound a little unfair? Sure does! But if your customer is riding high off of their amazing meal from last night at that local five-star restaurant with the best, most charming, attractive and attentive wait staff in town, well…you better be ready to meet (and maybe exceed) those customer service expectations they now have fresh in their mind and will be comparing to your approach to customer service.

Excellent customer service even outranks quick service. Shocked? I mean, who doesn’t love quick service? We’re Americans! We want everything yesterday. However, turns out, we’re willing to sacrifice a bit of time for excellence.

After being faced with an onslaught of “potential spam” calls on their smart phones, automated call services that give them the runaround, and online chatbots, Glady.com’s 2018 Customer Service Expectations Survey found that customers prefer a personalized customer experience far more than speedy service: “Sixty-one percent of the people surveyed felt they were treated like case numbers rather than people. The survey found that 59% of customers said being treated as an individual was more important than how fast the issue was resolved (53%).”

Is it any surprise that after so many years of companies making “progress” on how fast we manage the sales and service process – sacrificing that personal touch and those basic human interactions called “conversations” – that we’re now experiencing a shift back to a more human-to-human approach?

As customer service continues to evolve, staying on top of (or rather ahead of) what customers want most when it comes to their experience is extremely important. Meeting and exceeding the needs of your customers will often land you in a strong position to charge more for your services. How so? Because consumers are even willing to pay a premium to ensure they receive the kind of high-quality, no hassle customer service they expect. In his Forbes article, Hyken notes that customers will “reward the companies they enjoy doing business with by coming back – and paying more.”

And the Glady survey results back that claim, indicating that 68 percent of survey responders would pay more to the company that provides great service. The majority of the surveyors (27 percent) would pay 10 to 20 percent more and eight percent would even be “willing to pay over 20% more if the service was great.” Another study performed by McKinsey & Company reported that 67 percent of customers say they’d definitely be willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

So, ask yourself this: What would it cost you in time, money and resources to better ensure that your inspection company could provide exceptional customer service at every interaction and impression point your customer has with your business? Are you doing it already? Is it completely effective or do you need to make some improvements and tweaks? Whatever the case, once you’re truly dialed in, not only would you be able to charge more, but you’d immediately set yourself apart from the competition who believes they are already providing exceptional customer service – when in fact, they quite often are not. And that “not,” can come at a high price.

One of the biggest issues saddled with not providing superior customer service in today’s world of online reviews and social media, is that word spreads like wildfire…

According to the American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer, “Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.” That same study also reported a whopping 33 percent of Americans will consider switching companies after just one single instance of poor service. More alarming yet, Newsvoicemedia.com reports that “U.S companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.” A lot of inspectors today can’t afford to take the risk to lose even one customer due to poor service – let alone experience a wave of new or repeat customer losses as a result of crushingly negative online reviews.

Whether it’s the home inspection industry or not, companies that interact with customers in any capacity should consider themselves in the business of people — of making them happy and retaining them. This in itself can make a vast difference in a business’s bottom line. Bain & Company reports that “increasing customer retention by five percent increases profits anywhere from 25 to 95 percent.” There’s likely not a company out there that couldn’t benefit from increased percentages like that by refocusing their efforts on providing excellent customer service.

Now, back to that question of how much time, money and resources should you invest to ensure you are providing an unparalleled and consistent customer service experience with every customer interaction. The benefits of providing awesome customer service are clear, but the time, money and resources required to make it happen are probably still a bit muddy. The answer is: It depends.

There are many shapes and sizes of home inspection companies and no one inspection business owner operates completely the same. Further, depending on what business lifecycle phase (the progression of a business in phases over time) your inspection company is in, will dictate what kind of approach to take and/or changes you should consider making on the customer service front. In addition to that, you must really examine the severity of the issues that may or may not be hampering your ability to provide beginning-to-end exceptional customer service. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a far better idea of just how much time, money and resources will be required to make critical alterations and course corrections.

Now more than ever, home inspectors need to be providing a level of customer service that is truly exceptional. Your customers demand it, are willing to pay more for it, and they’ll tell others all about it. In today’s highly competitive, highly automated world, good old-fashioned customer service is king. And to achieve long-term, sustained success…you must do what’s required to earn the crown.

5 Proven Customer Service Tactics to Level Up Your Home Inspection Business
10 Aug

5 Proven Customer Service Tactics to Level Up Your Home Inspection Business

Providing excellent customer service has become one of the most highly effective ways to increase business. Consumers have time and again recognized the value of this component — and are willing to pay a premium for the kind of customer service they have come to expect, and nothing less. While it may sound like a daunting task, providing unparalleled customer service can be easier than you think. Here are five customer service tactics to help you take your business to the next level.
Read more »

STOP MARKETING. START BRANDING. – Part 2
06 May

STOP MARKETING. START BRANDING. – Part 2

Part 2 of 2


In part two of this two-part branding post on why it’s important for home inspectors to start thinking “brand first,” we’ll explore the key elements required to build a strong brand, discuss the pros and cons of establishing a personal brand vs. a business brand, how personal branding and business branding can go hand in glove with each other, and share how to put your brand into action now.

Read more »

STOP MARKETING. START BRANDING. – Part 1
29 Apr

STOP MARKETING. START BRANDING. – Part 1

Part 1 of 2


We are knee-deep in the middle of a global pandemic. And as we continue to navigate this current landscape and uncharted waters amid coronavirus, a lot of businesses are finding themselves in challenging situations. For home inspectors, many of you have begun to see a significant dip in your booked home inspections. In other, more severe situations, your business has been completely shut down due to stay-at-home orders for your state. Whatever your current situation, it’s impossible to ignore the reality that during a time of year when home inspection business begins to really boom, the opposite is actually occurring. Read more »

Not so Fast Revenue… Profit is Just as Critical for Your Inspection Business to Succeed
15 Feb

Not so Fast Revenue… Profit is Just as Critical for Your Inspection Business to Succeed

Every business owner knows revenue is vitally important to the success of any business. Without revenue, there is no ongoing business or continued growth, no way to pay the costs of running the business…and ultimately, without sufficient revenue, no viable business to speak of at all. Read more »

Success and the Home Inspection Business Life Cycle
23 Aug

Success and the Home Inspection Business Life Cycle

The very moment a home inspector makes the decision to start their own business, the life cycle for that inspection business has begun.

While there are variations in the business life cycle phases for smaller businesses vs. larger corporations, the concept is still the same. The business begins, it grows, it reaches a maturity, and then it experiences a rebirth/renewal or simply falls into decline.

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Six Signs That It’s Probably Time to Make the Leap for Your Inspection Business
12 Jun

Six Signs That It’s Probably Time to Make the Leap for Your Inspection Business

As a home inspector, you’ll reach several milestones throughout your career. One of those milestones is when to engage the help of an integrated customer service and call handling solutions business. For some of the most successful inspection businesses in our industry today, making that decision was the first step toward truly accelerating their business growth.

As much as you might like to, you just can’t do it all by yourself. If you’re on the fence about taking the step towards hiring an integrated customer service and call handling solutions company, you’re not alone. However, here are the top six reasons why other inspectors made the leap. If any of these sound like you … then you’re probably ready.

Click the following link to download: 6 Signs That It’s Probably Time to Make the Leap for Your Inspection Business

On My Mind: Answer the Phone  –  by ASHI President, Tim Buell
26 Mar

On My Mind: Answer the Phone – by ASHI President, Tim Buell

To answer or not to answer your phone? This has always been one of the million-dollar questions in our industry. Here’s some context to help you make the right decision for you and your business.

Did you know it’s been estimated that as much as 85% of callers who can’t reach a company on the first try will not call back? And 75% of those same callers will not leave a voicemail. So, for home inspectors, it’s safe to assume that if you are out on an inspection with a client and Realtor® and the phone rings, if you don’t answer it, that person will most likely hang up and the business will be lost. On the flip side, if you do answer the call, you run the risk of upsetting your client and the Realtor® because you are being paid to complete their inspection and not answer the phone. Given that challenge, what exactly is a successful, in-demand inspector to do?

Click here to download this highly informative article from Tim Buell, President of ASHI

or

Click here to access the entire March 2018 ASHI Reporter