It’s never been a better time to be a business owner in the home improvement industry.
The latest trends point to a 3% increase in the growth of the economy. With this much prosperity in the marketplace, you are no doubt experiencing increasing demand for your products and services as a direct result of new home construction and more homeowner disposable income.
Increased competition taking a bite out of longstanding home improvement companies
As a result of this economic boom, you’re probably also noticing more competition in the home improvement space than ever before. It seems like anyone and everyone is “hanging out a shingle,” trying to convince consumers to use their HVAC services, their roofing repairs and services, and their electrical know-how.
We understand that this increased competition is giving you fits. You’re probably going through exercises with both improvements in your marketing and customer service efforts to prove your business is the best choice for consumers in your area. You may even be broadening your offerings, in hopes that you can appeal to a larger audience of consumers.
So, what are most successful home improvement companies doing to really “move the needle” in terms of adding new customers, and gaining repeat customers? We studied the ways businesses are prospering currently, and we want to share a few ideas with you.
Contrary to popular belief, lowering your costs does not grow your business in the long run
With all the new competition flooding into the marketplace, many home improvement businesses are resorting to “first-time customer specials” and attempting to build their business by undercutting competitors based solely off of costs.
This is not a sustainable strategy long-term, because not only are many other businesses doing this too, you lose the opportunity to stand out for the things you do well. You also risk being lumped into a group of businesses that only gets leads based off price – and these are not necessarily repeat customers.
Identify your business’s unique selling proposition, and use to your advantage
Instead of undercutting your pricing, consider focusing on the things you do better than anyone else in your area, and amplify those things through your advertising and marketing efforts. Every business has that “one thing” they do better than anyone else in the marketplace – you’ve just got to quantify how that will best serve your customers and either save them money in the long-term or have them feel confident about how your company stands behind its work.
Do you have long-term employees that are experts in their field?
Is there one product or service you offer that no one else in your space does?
Do you perform better follow-up after the sale, or offer warranties or guarantees for your products and services?
Is there something unique about your customer service that no one else does? (i.e., your technicians bring dog treats to every house call, promise that your people will not smoke or swear on your premises, or even offer a discount for every hour late a technician is in showing up to your appointment?) These are just examples, but hopefully, you get the idea.
After brainstorming with your teams, you’ll see there are little things that add up to big things that set your business apart. These are the things you should be promoting and talking about – not just having the lowest price.
Figure out a way to increase and improve your word-of-mouth marketing
People are quick to complain when they have a bad experience but slow to praise when they have a good one. Sometimes, customers need a little “nudge” to convince them to share their positive experiences with friends, family, and the market as a whole.
Think about putting into place effortless ways for your customers to say nice things about you. For example, send out automated “thank yous” after every job, encouraging customers to share feedback with you on their satisfaction, and to share positive feedback on the internet. Where are some of the best places to point them regarding sharing positive feedback?
Your Google business listing. Did you know when people search for your products or services, the very best organic listings are ranked first by businesses with good, plentiful reviews on their Google business listing! Sharing your Google business listing hyperlink with satisfied customers and making the “ask” for a review is a successful way to not only cultivate a large group of folks who are raving about you, but to also receive a boost from Google at the same time.
Your Facebook business page. Lots of potential customers are searching for businesses like yours, and they often will visit your Facebook page for reviews. Give your satisfied customers the URL to the section of your Facebook page where they can leave a review.
Word-of-mouth marketing these days goes beyond just a satisfied customer telling their neighbor or relative about you (although that’s always still valuable) but ensuring that these recommendations become electronic and permanent.
Ensuring your customers get the very best customer service from your business solidifies your customer relationships
Certainly, customer service is a differentiator in the home improvement space. Friendly service, on-time appointments, and quick and plentiful financing options are the hallmark of strong customer service experiences.
Speaking of financing options, customers with credit challenges can be a pain for some small businesses. You want to sell new customers the products and services they need. However, as your front-line employees can attest, there’s often a problem with finding the right financing solutions for customers who have credit challenges.
Therefore, you might consider the Alabama Power Smart Financing app, which can take the pain out of financing and help you take orders and close leads faster. The app which gives you credit approvals almost in real-time was created to be used by businesses like yours – for free.
With the Smart Financing app for home improvement service providers, we can work with your customers who have credit challenges. This ensures you’ll have prospective customers flocking to you and allows you to close deals in record time.
In addition, this financing app has the added benefit of ensuring your customer pays on time, as it’s automatically added to their monthly Alabama Power bill. And if they’re not an Alabama Power customer, no worries. As long as your customer’s project address is in the state of Alabama, we can work with them. This takes you and your business out of the “collecting payment” world, and it keeps your new customers happy, excited, and satisfied throughout their relationship with you.
Spring and summer are upon us; become an Alabama Power Smart Financing service provider now
You will want to act now so that you have the advantage of being among the first service providers in your area to take advantage of this powerful new financing app. Before the serious heat of June through August is upon us (and before customers have already secured their home improvement contractor or vendor), you should be plugged into our financing app so that it’s an option for your customers and a real “closer” for your employees.
The Alabama Power Smart Financing app was created specifically for these types of businesses:
Water Heating Conversion
Water Heating Replacement
Energy Efficiency Improvements
It’s super easy to get started. Simply sign up, download our free app, secure your login and credentials, and you will be able to work with your customers on the spot. There is no fee to use, we offer competitive rates, and most customers can find out if they are approved within minutes.
Best of all, if your customers pay it off early, there’s no penalty for them. The added convenience of having the financing as part of a customer’s Alabama Power bill cannot be overstated since this bill also includes their power charges and must be paid in full each month.
Setting your business apart from the competition is the key to gaining all these new customers flooding into the market
In an economy where folks are starting to make home improvements, they couldn’t afford in years past, you want to be well-positioned to be the first business people turn to. With a combination of showing up better in search engine results, shoring up your customer service efforts, and providing the type of financing that is applicable for almost any level of customer credit score, you’ll be well on your way toward capturing new business and ensuring repeat business from former customers.