1994 won’t work in 2020. How technology with a personal touch is the answer to the Home Service industry
The sounds of dialup internet, the squeal of an incoming fax, the yell of a coworker to “exit out of a ticket”, the phones are ringing and often ending with an outdated answering machine message, these are the sounds dominating the scene in 1994.
These are among many nostalgic memories of the 90s that are sadly still prevalent today. In the last 20 years, we have seen a rise in “on-demand” service and “gig” economy resulting in the ability to touch a phone and have a sandwich delivered in 6 minutes.
Yet many of us will finish this article, put our phones in our pockets, and head back to our desks to encounter the same 30-year-old system that is still the mainstay of the service industry. According to Gartner Consulting, the home services industry is the second oldest to postal carriers. That’s right… postal carriers!
The Old vs The New
In the service industry, we often struggle with the balance between technology and culture, digital tools and personal connection, canned messaging and empathy. It’s easy to be tempted to one side or the other, “human” or “technology” when repeat business and customer connections are the building blocks of success in the service industry.
In many ways, the SaaS (Service as a Software) solutions for our industry is polarizing, Old (familiar but broken) or New (scary and impersonal).
OLD ways die hard. We have many shops using software and programs over 30 years old. These solutions require a large amount of human responsibility, communication, and old fashioned service to give our customers a great experience.
On one hand, this is a benefit as it makes us feel in “control” of the experience and simple to use. On the other hand, these old technologies are antiquated, outdated, and most importantly inconsistent (human nature). The friction with this old tech lies in our inability to “speak the modern customer language”, offer consistent delivery of communication, all while creating a lasting “human” connection.
NEW is scary. New service industry technology can open doors to an array of tools that can automate, measure, scale, respond, chat, and even do your bookkeeping. However, these tools require learning, changing, friction.
New technology can be intimidating, it can feel “impersonal” and overwhelming. Many of the new features (smart routing, AI, automation) can seem lifeless and demoralizing to a service-based “human” industry.
Making the leap into new technology
How do we reconcile these two extremes? How do we strengthen the legacy of personal connection, empathy, face to face communication to a world that is constantly changing? How do we change with it? We at BidClips believe in both. OLD fashioned personal connection, empathy, customer connection, and service can blend with NEW tools, techniques, preferences.
We call this “personal automation”. This blend of personal touch and modern tools will deliver amazing results. Some of the specific personal automation includes, individual customer journeys (led by digital journey templates), personalized communication (guided by canned messages), and service-specific presentation (enhanced by crowdsourced bid templates), along with consistency, automation, multi-channel communication, and 24-hour payment and booking tools fill the gaps between 1994 antiquated tech and consumer expectations of the 2020 economy.
Change is required, in all things. We are quick to buy a new tool at Lowes, quick to have our grade school nephew show us how to log into Hulu, but when it comes to new business tech, we are afraid.
It is time to connect to the very thing that drew us into the service industry in the first place, the love of service, connection, a job well done and well communicated. Consider taking a leap in 2020 to embrace tools that will make your customers happy to hire you again.