wpowers11
Contributor

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How often do you think about your home service business technology? If you own a home services business like a heating and air, garage door, a plumbing or electrical company or something similar, you might feel like yours is an analog trade.

The truth is it is not. IT (information technology) is not just for Silicon Valley or the Salt Lake City specialists. Let us look at how tech is helping to shape the home services industry.

Emerging Trends

There are some major technology trends developing right now that could revolutionize the way you run your home services business in the future. We will look at seven of the most exciting service business technology trends happening right now. Some may not be brand new, but they continue to emerge and affect the industry.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) simply refers to extending internet connectivity beyond laptops, mobiles, and desktops into everyday objects.

Examples include:

  • Smart thermostats
  • Home assistants and smart speakers
  • Smart appliances
  • And the one most relevant to home services businesses: smart doorbells and door locks

In most cases, running a home service business means relying on the homeowner to be around to gain access to a property to do your job. The exception, of course, is if you have a regular customer that has given you a key or a client who trusts their neighborhood enough to leave a spare key under the welcome mat or plant pot.

However, smart doorbells, door locks and garage door openers – ones that allow the homeowner to open their door remotely from anywhere with their smartphone – have become increasingly popular. Home service operators will be able to operate independently of their clients’ at-home schedules to get their work done. The added convenience and flexibility will have implications for the way service businesses and their customers schedule their time.

Payment Technology

Not long ago, most home services businesses took payment in either check or cash or were forced to invoice to be paid later.

That was because on-the-spot payments were not possible, often due to the lack of availability or prohibitive price of payment platform options.

Today, everyone from plumbers to window cleaners can take instant debit or credit card payments thanks to the recent proliferation of payment tools. Depending on your operating software you can collect immediately and post to the invoice real time. Systems such as ServiceTitan® have payments integrated into their software eliminating a few steps not only in running the call but also balancing your finances in real time.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is already a part of everyday life and it’s expanding rapidly. AI refers to machines that behave in ways that mimic human intelligence. For example, machines that learn as they go or use rules and reasoning to reach conclusions. One of the most amazing forms I have seen recently was a tool within the ServiceTitan® platform called SmartDispatch™. This is helping many home service companies Dispatch in a way that you no longer need a person deciding who goes to what call. This will save business owners thousands of dollars and miles on their fleets.

This type of technology can be used in many forms of home service business and can be tied to your technology platform. It is available now to the forward thinkers in the industry.

 Remote Communication

Many home service businesses employ remote workers so they can cater to larger service areas. The sort of interactive technology that allows remote workers to communicate with each other and HQ is having a halcyon year in 2021. This will continue to grow in the future as more people will be working remotely.

Video chat technology such as Zoom and Skype are improving year on year. Zoom alone is now used by more than one hundred million people worldwide. Plus, team chat platforms such as Slack are taking off in a big way. The hardware that supports these interactive technologies, like interactive displays with touchscreen technology, is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Local Search

At a conference at the end of 2019, Google revealed that 58% of searches made through the search engine had local intent. This grew 12% over 2018. It also reported that ‘near me’ mobile searches, especially those including the word ‘buy’, had gone

up by 700% in the last three years. In other words, increasing numbers of people are searching the internet for local businesses and services to solve a problem or address an immediate need. That is why Google has gotten into the lead services business. Is your technology platform tied to this?

To ensure they are more visible to local searchers, home services businesses will need to carry out a few SEO (search engine optimization) checks. These include:

  • Ensuring you have a Google My Business page
  • Being certain that all your local identifiers, such as your address and operating hours, are available on your website
  • Allowing customers to review your company through both Google my Business, Facebook, and more

Chatbots

The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, as both large and small-to-medium-sized businesses adopt chatbot tech. Businesses with smaller budgets can simply enable the chatbot functionality in social media sites such as Facebook and others. There are again software platforms that your home service business can use that integrate with these chatbots such as ServiceTitan®.

Chatbots look set to become even more important in the near term. Research suggests that 75% of millennials already use chatbots on a regular basis and usually report having a positive experience with them.

For home service businesses, they will be most effectively employed for customer service tasks; everything from taking orders to recommending products and services.

Home Services Business Software

Each year, the number of companies using service business management software continues to grow. But so too does the sophistication of the users within those companies.

It often starts as a desire for a more convenient way to manage the booking, scheduling, invoicing, and payments in these companies. But the most ambitious companies start to use the available metrics to find efficiencies throughout their organization, from how many leads they convert, to how many jobs each technician or team completes in a week.

The bottom line is your business software must not only be the software for today but also the software of the future. I recently saw a tag line by the #1 home services software ServiceTitan®, “Tomorrows Technology for Today”. The one question to ask your provider is what you are investing in your platform today to make you viable for tomorrow and beyond.

Here is a Blue Collar Nerd video on what you should do in case of emergency if your technology goes down: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9T770vsguA

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