If there’s one universal truth about entrepreneurship, it’s that no success tip or strategy applies equally for all businesses. Unfortunately, most are geared towards companies that deal with tangible products. As a service-based business owner, you are likely aware that even when such ideas apply to your company, it’s somewhat different.
When it comes to generating steady revenue, the rules are different for product-based and service-based companies. A business that sells a physical product can focus on quality, branding, and aggressive marketing. However, for service businesses, that alone is not sufficient. Whereas a product-based company can easily target a global market and thrive on one-off sales, service companies rely on repeat business.
As such, developing a rapport with customers is essential. Do you run a service-based business such as an HVAC, appliance repair, or plumbing company? Read on for some insightful strategies that will help grow your business.
1. Establish Credibility
One of the key elements of scaling a business is building credibility with your audience. However, with the uniqueness of the service industry, startups often find themselves in a tough position. Compared to products where one can buy to test, it’s not the same with services.
For someone to hire a plumbing company, they want to know that the company is qualified and reliable. Therefore, it is essential to start building credibility from the onset. Here are some of the ways you can establish credibility to grow your business:
- Demonstrate integrity. As a service company, experience greatly influences how much people are willing to hire you. However, the easiest way to show you are reliable despite lacking experience is by being transparent. Do not shy away from your experience and be open about how your company is run and what it stands for.
- Demonstrate your capacity. It’s one thing to say you are good at what you do, and it’s a totally different thing when your customers endorse you. As you start, focus on going above and beyond to satisfy your customers. With each client, request them to do a video testimonial recommending your business. If need be, offer them a discount on your next service. This will not only earn you a good review but also a second chance of making a good impression on them.
2. Capitalize on Word-of-Mouth Marketing
In order to increase your customer base, you must develop a marketing strategy that reaches and appeals to your target audience. Today, technology-based platforms account for the largest proportion of marketing efforts. As a startup or small business, you may not have enough funds to run a comprehensive online marketing campaign.
This, however, is not to say that you cannot market your company. You can grow your client list with good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, which is especially effective for service-based companies. Prepare both physical and digital business cards and brochures. Armed with these, make it a point to attend events where your ideal customers will be. These could be industry-related networking events or even community events. Interact with people and let them know the services that you offer. This is a long-term yet effective way to grow your business.
Depending on your budget, try supporting a local cause and organizing an event around it. This will be a subtle yet effective way of announcing your brand. The good thing with word-of-mouth marketing is that your happy clients and prospects who like your pitch will automatically become your marketers.
Word-of-mouth marketing may seem a little bit outdated, but the results it offers are unquestionable. According to a Nielsen report, suggestions from family and friends are more believable than adverts. With word-of-mouth marketing, all you need to do is sharpen your PR skills and take the initiative to go where your clients are.
Social media platforms can also serve as an excellent platform to cultivate high-quality referrals. As you use your pages to engage with your customers, be sure to post helpful content. If you are in the HVAC sector, you can post content highlighting some of the causes of HVAC problems. This way, your audience will slowly identify you as an industry leader.
3. Use Employee Tracking Tools
Critical to your company’s success is the productivity of your employees, which goes down to engagement levels and process efficiency. According to a Gallup report, American organizations lose up to $7 trillion annually due to productivity deficiencies.
As a service business, your personnel will be required to travel to different locations to handle client needs. Dispatchers must assign projects in a way that enhances productivity. A task that is easier said than done when relying on manual processes.
Fortunately, there are employee tracking tools that you can rely on to help grow your business. With such tools, dispatchers will know the location of each of the teams on the ground. This will make it easier to assign tasks more efficiently, enabling on-ground personnel to serve more clients.
Other benefits of employee tracking software include:
- Helps reduce unethical behavior
- Easy to track employee attendance
- Easier to issue assignments based on proficiency
Field service management software vary in capabilities. It is, therefore, essential to choose one that can adequately meet your needs. Some of the factors to consider include:
- Tracking capabilities that also alert customers which of your staff is coming and at what time
- Automated reminders via text and email for scheduled checkups
- Built-in email templates for sending bulk emails
- Ability to connect directly to technicians via call instead of going through dispatchers
4. Use Mobile Payment Technology
As other industries transition to offering remote solutions, some processes must be carried out manually in the service industry. This, however, is no excuse for not embracing technological innovations in other areas of the business. One of the solutions that your customers will appreciate is the ability to make payments digitally.
The digital payments industry is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% till 2023 when it will be worth $6.7 trillion. As such, offering digital payment options will soon, if not already, be a bare minimum expectation from clients. Along with the convenience you offer customers, you will also benefit from easier accounting.
Other benefits of digital payments include:
- Saves time
- It’s more hygienic
- Easily traceable
5. Create a Unique Brand Personality
As a business grows, it needs to have a distinct persona that clients can relate to and is easily identifiable. It increases familiarity and demonstrates growth and reliability, boosting loyalty among your existing customers while attracting new ones. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where businesses fail.
By presenting your brand consistently on all platforms, you can see revenue spikes of up to 23%. The key to creating a strong brand is determining what your company stands for and how you want to be perceived. Do you want your brand to be a beacon of strength and reliability or one that’s jovial and casual yet dependable? These are some of the things to consider when creating your brand, and getting them right will give you a boost as you aim to grow your business.
Your persona and the values you represent should be similar to the values your ideal customers hold. Data suggests that 89% of consumers in the US remain loyal to companies with values similar to theirs. Some of the elements that make a brand strong include uniqueness, a solid philosophy, quality, and a clear message. As you choose your brand persona, consider an appropriate color as it will play a significant role in recognition.
Some of the benefits of a strong brand include:
- Makes you easily recognizable even in saturated markets
- Increases your credibility
- Makes it easy to introduce new services
- Increases customer loyalty
- Attracts talent
6. Step Up Your Digital Marketing Efforts
Even with the best services in the industry, customers will not just walk in. It’s important to develop a marketing strategy that will create awareness of your services. Fortunately, with the internet, you can reach just about anyone you want.
There are different ways to promote your service business online. You can use a website, blog, social media posts, and even online ads. Each has its own unique benefits. The good thing with online marketing is that costs can be low to nonexistent, and you can increase your budget as your business grows. Additional benefits include:
- Easy to track performance
- Allows you to target ideal customers
- High conversion rates with the right strategy
- Cheaper in comparison to traditional forms of marketing
Though blogs take time before bringing tangible results, they’re arguably the most effective and reliable tools in the long run. This is because 70% of internet users prefer learning about services and products via content. As your blog grows, you can try other online marketing strategies that can bring immediate results. Good examples include:
- Pay per click (PPC) ads
- Paid adverts on social media
Do Not Compromise on Efficiency. Start Growing Your Business Today!
Managing (and growing) a service-based business requires a lot of work as there are many moving parts. Fortunately, there are many tools you can use to simplify such processes and allow you to focus on growth strategies. Key among them is field service management software.
ServiceDemand is a company that offers field management solutions suitable for service-based businesses. Contact us today to find out how our tools can help grow your business.