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Is Online Booking Right for Your Home Service Company?

Is Online Booking Right for Your Home Service Company?

Is Online Booking Right for Your Home Service Company?

Posted by Jarrod Miller-Dean

Uploaded 66 days ago

Online booking asset

Is Online Booking Right for Your Home Service Company? 

You are likely already using many online resources to grow your home service business and acquire new customers, while retaining a healthy repeat customer base. One of the newer trends in service industries is online booking, but is it right for your company? 

How Does Online Booking Work?

Online booking is a service that enables your customers to book their service without having to make a phone call or send in a traditional contact form. You can add specific services, control the days and times available, customize templates, as well as communication preferences.

Jonathan Rivera
July 8 at 3:9 PM

People are using this like crazy today. 
I swear not answering the phone is the best thing I ever did, auto reject with book online text and book online voicemail. 

Yesterday 8:58 PM
Housecall Pro: new job booked. Please check your app and contact the customer as soon as possible. 

Today 8:34 AM
Housecall Pro: New job booked. Please check your app and contact the customer as soon as possible. 

Today 1:25 PM
Housecall Pro: New job booked. Please check your app and contact the customer as soon as possible.

Does Online Booking Really Work?

Jason Allan Lacy: We have the online booking available, but is it an automatic text response to your client when you don’t answer your phone? 

Jonathan Riveria: Eddie DiCario My voicemail, auto-reject messages, website and business cards promo online booking. 

When I’m at a customer’s house I tell them don’t call, just book online. If it’s an emergency and I don’t answer the phone, our live chat goes both owners' phones so one of us will get to you. 

Also, almost every page on my website shows them this image in their texts. 

Which says, “Why Call? Book Online!”

Many of our Housecall Pro members have already discovered the benefits of turning on their online booking option. It saves time by reducing non emergency phone calls freeing up dispatchers and customer service representatives. Online booking is also something that many consumers are very familiar with — think Dominos Pizza!

Sandy Pous: That’s one of the many reasons we don’t use online booking. Yes, it would be awesome not having to talk to people sometimes, but I rather point them in the times and dates that work for us. 

Natalie Vasquez-Britt: Sandy Pause Yes I agree, you may like that but whether you like it or not this generation is tech only. They don’t want to talk to anyone in person. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Millennials don’t like to talk on the phone...ever! So give them the option and make it easy and even if you have to call them to reschedule, you still get the lead and more than likely they will be fine with a different time. 

Sandy Pous: And then I’ll have a “frustrated millennial” that didn’t get what they wanted. No thanks! I rather not open that can of worms. 

Jackie Hutchison Gibson: I agree. I would rather control our schedule as opposed to the schedule controlling us.

How does online booking work with a dynamic and ever changing schedule? 

But, service business like plumbing, pest control, HVAC, and house cleaning are different from delivering a product, especially when covering a large service area. Being in control of your schedule ensures you are taking the right amount of calls each day, in the right areas, and delivering the best in customer service. This is one of the biggest reasons many companies are concerned about releasing control to customers. 

However, it is only a matter of time before your target demographic is the consumer base that is used to easy online booking, and expects easy online booking for every business vertical. 

How Do I Make Online Booking Work For My Business? 

Jared Alford: We keep online booking open from Wed-Fri and reserve Mon and Tues for recurring services. It does get a bit rough covering a large area that begins, We only have 2 techs, but when that customer gets converted to recurring service, it’s well worth the trouble.

Start slow. Since the online booking platform is fully customizable, keep open booking days and time slots limited to slower days. Limit the amount of booking slots open for each time frame, and make sure someone is able to monitor service calls being booked. 

You can also customize the confirmation text or email alerting customers to any special information they may need to know, e.g., if you need more information a CSR will reach out to them, or if it is a larger job than described, the schedule may need to be adjusted. Setting up customer expectations from the beginning will be crucial to the success of self scheduling. 

There will be a pro and con to online booking, and likely it will require working out some of the glitches before finding that magic scenario right for your business. But, offering online booking is something that many home service companies are beginning to embrace because of its great convenience to customers and time savings to your resource team. 

And if you are struggling with how to turn online booking on, or how to set up perimeters, Housecall Pro has answers. It is also a great opportunity to share your online booking ability on your company social media pages and in your overall l marketing strategy, as it is definitely  unique selling point.

Jason Allan Lacy: What/ How? I want to do that asap. 

Craig Dalrymple: Just need to tin on online booking and make your customers aware of it!

Eddie DiCarlo: Mines been for months. Never booked a call yet. 

Craig Dalrymple: Eddie DiCarlo You may want to work with someone on lead generation and a funnel that pulls people into our online booking. Turning it on make it possible, but the people still need to be able to find your website!

Final Thoughts

Jonathan Riera: Jeff Rea I always tell people, no dispatcher = lower overhead = peter pricing. I also say I will not answer the phone when I’m with a customer. 

Jeff Rea: Jonathan Rivera Exactly. Right now I’m the technician, the call center, the bookkeeper, the dispatcher, and the president/CEO. 3 out of 5 calls are: “I’m looking for a quote for___. I found you on a web search.” To which I reply, “Great, click one more time to go to our website, and then one more time on that “Book online” button at the top. Pricing is all there, and you can set your appointment from there as well. Apologies in advance. We are super busy at the moment.” Some fall away, and some will book an appointment. 

Jeff Rea: Jonathan Rivera And it would be rude to answer when talking with a client. If they can’t respect that you don’t need them. Also, do you really want the guy who isn’t busy come out? Maybe there's a reason he has nothing else going on...

Whether you have concerns or are ready to utilize online booking, the best way to ensure it is a success is to start slow and set up the pope expectations for your customers. For many smaller companies, or sole owner/employee contractors, freeing up your time answering phone calls is a huge win. For non emergencies, you can direct customers to your website and your online booking. While some customers may fall away, many will choose to book and you can focus on providing your current customer with great service and everyone will appreciate having options. 

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