With Winter quickly approaching, sub-zero temperatures are already leading to a spike in inbound leads seeking repairs—such as pipe bursts in homes, businesses, and other buildings. As contracting businesses begin competing to take on this seasonal demand, it’s never been more important to streamline workflows so that service pros can focus on what matters most: converting leads, doing the job, and getting paid. One of the newest solutions that’s emerged to help is artificial intelligence (AI).
While there’s been a significant amount of chatter about how AI is being used by larger enterprises, don’t be fooled—this technology has just as much potential to help home service businesses automate many of the backend tasks so service pros can focus on what matters most—doing jobs and getting paid. There’s three specific ways that AI-powered solutions are helping contractors today that should be considered.
1. Accelerating Customer Acquisition
Companies are learning how to do more with less resources, and contractors are no exception. AI-driven solutions can offer valuable insights and data that businesses can use to inform their marketing and lead generation efforts. For instance, data gathered from a customer chatbot or call conversation can reveal preferences, habits, and pain points that a business owner would not have had the time to manually analyze. These insights can then be used to tailor service offerings, develop more targeted marketing campaigns, and inform overall business strategy.
There’s a lot that can be learned from a conversation by focusing on the keywords that surface frequently or at pivotal moments within the call. Using AI to find and extract keywords and phrases your customers use can help you choose keywords to focus on for your SEO campaigns and allow you to tailor the messaging in all your marketing and communication efforts.
In fact, most customers are not going to find contracting businesses in the phone book—they’re turning to search engines like Google to find “plumbers near me.” By optimizing these keywords in your marketing and SEO campaigns, your services and competitive differentiators can stand out in searches.
2. Improving the Customer Experience
Beyond operations, leveraging AI-driven customer support tools can streamline how a business interacts with customers while also extracting valuable insights to fuel growth and improvement. In recent years, AI has transformed how organizations deliver on customer service, helping to curate efficient and personalized experiences. Selecting the ideal AI tools for customer service that are right for your business is crucial to staying competitive in today's business landscape.
AI can help to automate simple customer service tasks (like responding to frequently asked questions) which frees up limited resources to focus on more complex business issues. AI tools can also help with personalization and customer experience. Using algorithms and machine learning, AI tools, like chatbots for example, can provide accurate and personalized responses to inquiries like “My toilet is overflowing… what do I do?” to help ensure that customer issues are resolved quickly and effectively. When a customer receives a prompt and accurate response in their time of need and panic (think: your house is flooding and valuables are getting wet or the toilet isn’t working and company is on the way), they’ll be more inclined to trust you and become a repeat customer.
3. Streamlining Admin and Operational Efficiencies
Efficiency is the key to profitability in the home services industry. Many contracting businesses are faced with operational challenges, resource constraints, and still rely on outdated methods to track customers and handle inbounds. With the influx of business this year, this can easily become overwhelming, especially as you’re attempting to direct customer calls to find practical insights from within the conversations.
Consider call tracking for example. Some companies might try to find the time to manually listen to call recordings to find the small key piece of information‑—such as whether the leads that are being generated are actually a good fit with the services being offered and how effective employees are at converting leads—in a long, uneventful conversation. However, this couldn’t be more difficult for service professionals who are on their feet or the road most of the day.
Artificial intelligence can automate processes, streamline jobs and provide support for employees who have more complex tasks to deal with. At a most basic level, automating tasks like customer inquiries and data entry can save time, labor and prevent errors. Taking this a bit further, AI can also help with things like staffing and human resources to improve profitability. For example, if you notice that most leads are asking for a specific service and employees are having a difficult time converting those inbound calls into customers, then you can turn to AI to help automatically provide suggestions for frontline staff to increase the rate of conversion. It is important to look at all your processes and administration and determine what would benefit your business the most through automation.
The incorporation of AI technologies into business operations is proving to be a game-changer across the construction industry. Evaluate your budget, resources and business needs when choosing the right solutions. By accelerating customer acquisition, improving the customer experience, and streamlining administrative and operational efficiencies, you can be better equipped to meet your evolving customer demands and improve overall revenue and profitability in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Ryan Johnson has 15 years of diverse product development leadership experience in early-stage startups and Fortune 100 companies. As Callrails Chief Product Officer, he leverages his passion for developing best-in-class products to solve real-world problems. Prior to joining CallRail, Ryan lived in Las Vegas and lead development of Banjos world-class AI/ML products, helping raise $100mm in VC funding.