Homeowners want to work with contractors who communicate in ways that reflect their preferences. In a recent Modernize Home Services survey of more than 1,700 homeowners, only 8% said they prefer to speak with contractors on a phone call. Texting is the most popular choice and is more likely to be opened and engaged. Furthermore, contractors in our network report that close rates go up by an average of 15% when they text their leads.
Using this medium effectively as a contractor takes more than just knowing how to text. Every interaction with your customer counts. You need to know what to avoid and the proper techniques to close successfully.
There are four principles to remember if you are an HVACR contractor, texting homeowners.
1. Keep It Simple
Use clear, straightforward language in every text message. Homeowners don’t want to read long blocks of text. Remember, this isn’t an email or a letter. It’s a text. So, show homeowners that there is value when engaging with your texts, by sending short, attention-grabbing messages like:
- Schedule your free HVACR quote by clicking here (link)
- Get 10% off installation labor if you respond by X DATE
- Save money today by scheduling your free estimate here (link)
2. Get Customers to Engage
Texts are a great way to elicit specific actions from homeowners. For instance, ask them to answer yes/no questions or to click through to a website. If you don’t tell them exactly what they should do, homeowners might read your messages without taking any action. You need to include a call to action to get you closer to your goal. Questions that encourage yes or no responses work well because they are easy to understand. Questions that end with a call to action, also deliver well.
Examples of messages that drive engagement include:
- Can we schedule an expert to get you a quote? Call us at (555)555-5555
- Can you confirm the appointment scheduled for TIME/DATE? Answer “y” for yes or “n” for no
- Will you give us an online review? Please click here
3. It’s All in the Timing
It is best to send messages during regular business hours when homeowners are accustomed to dealing with service people. Don’t flood their phones with too many messages, as it could be viewed as invasive or as true SPAM. Most consumers have programs that block SPAM – be aware of this before randomly messaging customers – never a good idea. TIP: Text only when you have something valuable to provide. If you aren’t staffed on evenings and weekends, consider using a texting service that can provide auto-responses to inquiries, and queue up those messages first thing in the morning when you’re open for business.
4. Leverage the Power of Automation
If you’re worried that a move to text messaging as the primary communication tool might overwhelm staff or bother customers, there are a number of text management tools that can help alleviate those concerns. Automation simplifies your follow-up processes and saves time for your sales and customer service teams. If you’re using a CRM, you can integrate texting capabilities to measure, track, and optimize this communication. Automation can be very powerful when used correctly, meaning you use it as a tool. But at some point, there should always be a human on the other end of that initial communication.
Adaptability and Flexibility are Good Business
Savvy contractors always adapt to customer preferences. It’s that flexibility and forward-thinking approach, that differentiates one contractor from another. Today’s homeowner prefers a screen, not a voice when communicating about projects. Most times, consumers won’t even pick up the phone unless it’s a known caller. HVACR contractors need to recognize these preferences – and we’ve researched for you – you only need to adapt to these wants. While there are appropriate times for calls, adding texting to the communication process can help land more business and keep satisfied customers continuing to come back.
Gregg Hicks is a longtime marketer of home improvement services. He is a business leader for Modernize Home Services and has 20 years of experience in web analytics, SEO, social, SEM, and affiliate marketing. His role as a spokesperson is to explain the value of thoughtful matchmaking between homeowners and home improvement professionals that forges positive and productive connections between the parties.