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Customer, Invoicing and Payments Updates

April 17, 2016 • Sub-Customer (Parent and Billable)  Do you do commercial work? Need to bill one contact for service at another address? The new sub-customer feature is for you. Attachments on Invoices Add attachments to your invoices. Send customers everything they need in just one email. Partial Payments on Receipts Do you accept partial payments? Now the system supports that. Sub-Customer (Parent and Billable)  You can now designate different billable customers to jobs. The feature can be accessed from the 'add customer' or 'edit customer' windows on the web portal. The parent customer (billable customer) needs to be an already existing customer in your list. To assign the billable customer, simply begin typing the customer name in the field and select from the drop-down list. On any main job screen, you can locate the billable address under the customer contact information box in the upper-left hand corner. Additionally you will be able to find parent and sub-customer roles on each corresponding customer page. If you would like to remove or replace a billable customer, you can simply click on the 'x' above the customer name and either enter a new billable customer or leave the field blank.  Attachments on Invoices Attachments can now be added to invoices. It is important to note that attachments must first be added to a job in order to include them on the invoice corresponding to that job. Once you have attached your file(s) to your job, click on the invoice button and select the 'Attachment' button on the lower left-hand corner of the window. This will open up a new window allowing you to select which attachment you would like to add to the invoice.  Partial Payments on Receipts Partial payments collected on any job will now show up with their corresponding details on receipts. With this feature, you can keep track of amounts, dates, and times for every partial payment working up to payment completion. After every partial payment is received, the outstanding balance will adjust automatically.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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Can You 4X Your Business?

April 12, 2016 • Ten years ago, father and son duo, Don and Grant Schoenberger, set out with the mission of running a customer-focused plumbing business. From their own consumer experiences, they felt there was a problem in the service industry, where professionals were more highly trained in boosting sales than skilled in their actual field. They decided to base their business model on one simple principle... “If you treat people well, and are honest with them, and do quality work, then they’ll keep calling, and they’ll tell their friends about you.” Nearly a decade later, they’ve grown Core Plumbing San Diego from a small family business to an eight man operation. It has become one of the most trusted plumbing companies in San Diego County. So, what’s their secret? The two pillars of their successful growth are creating efficient processes, and building strong customer relationships. Let’s take a look at what Grant has to say: Build Strong Connections With Your Customers Grant and his father have worked hard to establish a reputation in the community as a family-run business that provides reliable, high-quality work. Yet, even now, they actively work to connect with customers and develop a sense of trust. After scheduling an appointment, they send a reminder email immediately after the initial phone call, as well as a confirmation the day before their appointment. Next, they notify their customers when a technician is on the way. Grant says, “When we show up to their door, they already know who we are, they’re expecting us, and we’ve totally broken the stereotype of the plumber who doesn’t show up, or will be there tomorrow between 8am and midnight.” These touch points keep the customers feeling in the loop, and keep Core Plumbing on the top of their customers' minds. They also follow up with their customers via emails and postcards, thanking them for their business and checking up on the level of service provided, in order to ensure that customers are satisfied with their experience. By building this level of connection with their customers, Core Plumbing virtually guarantees repeat business, as well as referrals. Grow Efficiently All of that customer communication, while critical, takes a lot of time. How does Grant manage? Automate it! Grant uses automated emails, scheduled to go out before and after jobs, in order to establish points of contact with every customer without being drowned in a schedule of phone calls. He says this is an extremely simple way to make people happy, and feel valued. According to Grant, Core Plumbing has also embraced digitization in other aspects of their business, in order to keep things running smoothly. At first, his time was consumed by scheduling, invoicing, and organizing. “We just had shelves and racks and bins, full of nothing but forms and receipts and invoices.” As they grew, he realized this was not a practical way to continue growing, and in order to make time for marketing efforts and customers, they made the switch to paperless in order to maximize efficiency. By making customer satisfaction their utmost priority, and doing it as efficiently as possible, Core Plumbing has been able to quadruple their business since opening their doors, and establish a phenomenal reputation for themselves.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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Quickbooks and Multi-Jobs Updates

April 10, 2016 • Ten years ago, father and son duo, Don and Grant Schoenberger, set out with the mission of running a customer-focused plumbing business. From their own consumer experiences, they felt there was a problem in the service industry, where professionals were more highly trained in boosting sales than skilled in their actual field. They decided to base their business model on one simple principle... “If you treat people well, and are honest with them, and do quality work, then they’ll keep calling, and they’ll tell their friends about you.” Nearly a decade later, they’ve grown Core Plumbing San Diego from a small family business to an eight man operation. It has become one of the most trusted plumbing companies in San Diego County. So, what’s their secret? The two pillars of their successful growth are creating efficient processes, and building strong customer relationships. Let’s take a look at what Grant has to say: Build Strong Connections With Your Customers Grant and his father have worked hard to establish a reputation in the community as a family-run business that provides reliable, high-quality work. Yet, even now, they actively work to connect with customers and develop a sense of trust. After scheduling an appointment, they send a reminder email immediately after the initial phone call, as well as a confirmation the day before their appointment. Next, they notify their customers when a technician is on the way. Grant says, “When we show up to their door, they already know who we are, they’re expecting us, and we’ve totally broken the stereotype of the plumber who doesn’t show up, or will be there tomorrow between 8am and midnight.” These touch points keep the customers feeling in the loop, and keep Core Plumbing on the top of their customers' minds. They also follow up with their customers via emails and postcards, thanking them for their business and checking up on the level of service provided, in order to ensure that customers are satisfied with their experience. By building this level of connection with their customers, Core Plumbing virtually guarantees repeat business, as well as referrals. Grow Efficiently All of that customer communication, while critical, takes a lot of time. How does Grant manage? Automate it! Grant uses automated emails, scheduled to go out before and after jobs, in order to establish points of contact with every customer without being drowned in a schedule of phone calls. He says this is an extremely simple way to make people happy, and feel valued. According to Grant, Core Plumbing has also embraced digitization in other aspects of their business, in order to keep things running smoothly. At first, his time was consumed by scheduling, invoicing, and organizing. “We just had shelves and racks and bins, full of nothing but forms and receipts and invoices.” As they grew, he realized this was not a practical way to continue growing, and in order to make time for marketing efforts and customers, they made the switch to paperless in order to maximize efficiency. By making customer satisfaction their utmost priority, and doing it as efficiently as possible, Core Plumbing has been able to quadruple their business since opening their doors, and establish a phenomenal reputation for themselves.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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4 Lessons for Service Startups

April 6, 2016 • When you hear the word "startup," a tech company in Silicon Valley probably comes to mind. Yet people are starting up businesses of all kinds, and the term is not just limited to one industry. If you are building a business from the ground up, here is some advice for you from a successful new entrepreneur! Starting up a service business is easier said than done. First, you will have to jump through many hoops just to turn your entrepreneurial idea into a legal entity, not to mention a brand. Then, you are tasked with acquiring all the right equipment, tools, and most importantly, customers. Once you’ve reached this point, it’s all fun and games, right? Not so fast… Running a service business requires nonstop attention. You have to keep track of all of your appointments and service history, maintain relationships with your customers, chase down payments, secure new and repeat business, and try to squeeze in time with your family on top of all that.   If you’re considering starting a service business, Mitch Stonebarger, President and Owner of Hyper Carpet Cleaning in St. Louis, Missouri, advises “Don’t do it!” Haha, just kidding. While starting a service business takes extreme dedication, Stonebarger chased after his goal and has experienced explosive growth in a short amount of time, tripling his sales in only a matter of months. After less than a year in business, he has already hired an employee and is working towards making his business self-sustaining. Stonebarger shares some of the lessons he has learned along the way: 1. Understand the power of customer service.  Customer service is especially important in service businesses. In any type of business, it’s extremely important to support your customers, answer their questions, and help them solve issues. Stonebarger emphasizes the importance of ensuring customer satisfaction. He warns new entrepreneurs how “one unhappy customer can ruin you,” with negative reviews that are visible to potential customers. Making sure all of your customers are happy is necessary to protect your business from criticism! 2. Pay attention to people skills. Developing strong people skills will vastly improve your company’s customer service. Deliver your service with a smile! Greet customers with a firm handshake. Look people in the eye. These are all things you can do to come off as more likable, which Stonebarger describes as essential for repeat business. Of running a service business, Stonebarger says: “You have to deal with people and be good with people. If people don’t like you, they’re not going to like your business or hire you.” Since you are the face of your business, people are going to judge your business by your personality. Build and maintain relationships with your customers to gain their loyalty! 3. Expect the unexpected. Business, like life, is unpredictable. Be prepared to jump over unforeseen hurdles, rather than stopping in your tracks. Even though unexpected obstacles will stand in the way, overcoming them is essential to achieving your dreams. As circumstances change, the best thing you can do is go with the flow. “You have to evolve and let your business evolve,” Stonebarger recommends. Nothing stays the same, and neither should your business. Pushing forward past unexpected obstacles is how you progress. 4. Don’t be afraid of failure. You have to make mistakes to learn from them. Stonebarger emphasizes the importance of never submitting to defeat. Stonebarger became a successful service business owner through trial and error, until he found the right formula for him. “People are afraid of failure and that stops them from succeeding,” Stonebarger says. Even if things do not feel like they are coming together at first, it is necessary to persevere through the challenges. “You have to be willing to fail to win,” he says. Starting up a service business involves taking a huge risk. If you're still willing to take the plunge or already have, these pieces of wisdom from someone who has been there can serve as a guide to getting through the inevitable rough patches. While learning from your own mistakes is important, learning from someone else’s success is also very beneficial.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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The Ultimate Secret Weapon: Trade Shows

March 10, 2016 • “What’s the point of going to trade shows?” you might wonder. Many service professionals believe they are a waste of time and money when they could otherwise be working and earning income, but we are here to tell you that expos are your business' secret weapon! Still don’t believe me? I’ll tell you why they will give you super powers! Since there are is so much to gain from trade shows, I'll break it down for you. Here are the top 8 reasons to attend trade shows: 1. It doesn’t have to break the bank When you belong to a trade association, you can attend trade shows at a discounted rate. If you don’t already belong to an association, you may want to consider it! Membership with associations often comes with other benefits such as training discounts, licensing, marketing tools, sponsorship opportunities, insurance discounts, supplier discounts, and more. Examples of associations include the ICRA for cleaning and restoration, PHCC for plumbing and HVAC, and the WCRA for window cleaning. Many associations also host other industry events that are free to attend, which may be purely focused on education, without an exhibition. Check with your association to see if there are any upcoming events near you! 2. Keep up with industry regulation Maybe you haven’t heard about new rules or regulations that impact your business yet. Trade shows are the perfect place to get caught up with all of the news that affects you. Stay on top of trends in your trade so you can take pride in offering superior service to your customers. Trade shows are an exciting atmosphere where industry professionals gather to share ideas and expertise. Be a part of this buzz by attending! You might just feel a renewed excitement and passion about your profession, which will give you a boost later on during those long days of work.  3. Attend classes and workshops to learn best business practices Trade shows and expos almost always offer the chance to attend classes and seminars. Listen to keynote speakers as they offer their insights on your industry. At these educational sessions, you will gain useful information about new methods for performing your service, managing employees, marketing your business, and various other industry-specific topics. Often, expos will even host workshops or competitions, where you can get hands-on experience working or competing alongside other professionals. These valuable training opportunities will help you become the best at what you do! 4. Learn about new equipment and tools Your tools and equipment are key to performing at the best of your abilities. Check out everything new on the market so that you can continue providing the highest quality to your customers. See the newest gadgets in action and try them for yourself so you can get an idea of how they would work for you. You might even come across an all-in-one digital tool to help you run and grow your business! In this article for cleaning business owners, trade shows are named as the top place to discover new products that can help your business run more efficiently. In fact, the concept of efficiency is named as by Cleaning Business Today as a top priority in considering new products, since your time is more costly than any supplies or tools you can buy. When at trade shows, be sure to consider how you can maximize the efficiency of your business with advanced technology such as Housecall Pro! 5. Gather intel on your competition to stay ahead of the game Some of your competitors may attend trade shows to discover tips and tricks from experts in your industry. Missing out means falling behind those who do choose to gather and share advice. Get a leg up over the competition by attending trade shows and absorbing all of the knowledge that you can! If you are encountering issues in running your business, it’s likely that other owners in your industry are facing the same challenges. Trade shows spark open discussions where business owners can share common problems and solutions they have found to be useful. This wisdom is priceless! 6. Network with the best of your industry At trade shows, you are in the perfect position to create connections with leaders and trend setters of your industry. With notable speakers, open discussion panels, and training sessions, the opportunities for networking at expos are endless. You will undoubtedly gain  from the expertise of those around you, even if you have been in the industry for years! Networking with possible competitors may not seem like a plus, but seeing how your technique and business management differs from others will give you a greater understanding of what makes your business unique. Differentiating yourself from your competitors will help you in marketing your business! At trade shows, you may even find potential partners or collaborators, who you can work with to expand your offerings. Opening new doors is just one of the many benefits of expos! (Insider tip: bring plenty of business cards to give out at the event!) 7. You can participate in fun group events To make networking even more enticing, trade shows often host social events, such as bowling or open mic nights. These casual meetings offer an easy way to break the ice and get to know more people in the industry - all while having a blast! This will also establish you as a regular trade show attender, opening up new friendships and inner industry networks. Staying on the radar with the inner circle of your industry can result in tremendous new opportunities.  8. Free giveaways and raffles  Sure, you will walk away with new ideas and knowledge no matter what, but free prizes are definitely a bonus! Trade shows frequently feature giveaways or raffles that put you in the running toward winning sought-after products or services that can majorly benefit your business! In all of our trade show involvement, we have seen service professionals walk away with thousands of dollars worth of free products, tools, and services. At Housecall Pro, we frequently raffle free full-year subscriptions at trade shows (a $1,200 value). There are typically hundreds of prizes to be won, and a lot of attendees walk home with a prize.  Maybe you haven’t heard about new rules or regulations that impact your business yet. Trade shows are the perfect place to get caught up with all of the news that affects you. Stay on top of trends in your trade so you can take pride in offering superior service to your customers. Trade shows are an exciting atmosphere where industry professionals gather to share ideas and expertise. Be a part of this buzz by attending! You might just feel a renewed excitement and passion about your profession, which will give you a boost later on during those long days of work.  Are you convinced now that trade shows are advantageous for your business? Let’s note that they might not always produce a positive return on investment: if you travel too far away and pay an arm and a leg just to attend, that strategy probably is not the best way to gain from the experience. For example, traveling to a different country for an international expo is unlikely to be beneficial for you unless you plan on doing business there. We recommend doing your research to find trade shows that are economical and reasonable for you to attend! See if there are any local events for your industry so that travel expenses can be minimized. Remember, attending trade shows should be valuable for your business, but not too costly for you! Hopefully you are excited about the prospect of attending trade shows to enhance your business! You can find the Housecall Pro team at trade shows all across the country just about every month. We love being able to meet our pros and show service professionals how our all-in-one digital tool can benefit their businesses! Maybe we will see you at the next show!

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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iPhone, Pricing and Company Info Updates

March 6, 2016 • Special Announcement: The brand new iPhone look and feel is now live! Update your app today to enjoy better in-app navigation, enhanced processes, and new features!  What's New: Price List and Description Enhancements Easily edit every aspect of your price list, including descriptions, names, and prices. You can also customize what each customer sees on a case-by-case basis. Company Name Invoice Display Switch  Does your logo not include your business' name? You can now add your company name underneath your logo on invoices. Price List and Description Enhancements You can now access and edit your price list in its own tab titled 'Price list' which can be accessed by clicking on the 'My Account' button at the top-right corner of the web portal home screen. From this section, you can add, remove, and modify all prices, service names, and descriptions. You are now able to see service descriptions in this section for all of your service capabilities. Service names, prices, quantities, and descriptions are now also visible on your job screen. You can also edit any of these lines for that particular job. By adjusting the job description, for instance, you can customize what that particular customer will see on their invoice for that particular job. You also have the choice of leaving the default setting as it is. You can also access and edit services, prices, quantities, and descriptions on your mobile device. When creating a job by clicking on the line item, you will be able to access your current price list (including descriptions) and also be able to drill down further into the service details to edit price/quantity, names, and descriptions for each service.  By tapping the 'New Entry' button on the top-right corner, you will be able to create a new full job capability and also get the option to save that new entry to your permanent price list through a convenient switch.  **Note** Service names, prices, and descriptions will be pushed to your Quickbooks Online account if you have set up your HouseCall Pro to Quickbooks connection.  Company Name Invoice Display Switch  Company Name Invoice Display Switch If your company name is not included in your logo, you can now switch on the business name text line that appears below your logo on invoices. If you would like to keep the logo the way it is without the additional company name text line, simply make sure the box is left unchecked.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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Quickbooks, iPhone and Job History Updates

February 21, 2016 • Quickbooks Online Job History Import Convert all of your QBO invoices into HouseCall Pro jobs. Keep track of each customer's service history throughout the years. New iPhone App Navigation, Look, and Feel The iOS app has a new navigation bar at the bottom to make it even easier to use. You can now customize your price list, quantities, and job descriptions while on the go. Quickbooks Online Job History Import We have been working around the clock to make it possible for you to take all of your Quickbooks Online invoices and convert them to HouseCall Pro jobs. We are happy to announce that this job import feature will soon be going live! In fact, we have already converted a small handful of accounts with ease during our beta test.  The work we are doing here will also significantly improve our integration with Quickbooks Online. Including the ability to sync job category, name & description, apply taxes by line item, import and update your service list, and more. In order to qualify for the job import, you must currently be using Quickbooks Online or be willing to convert to it from the Quickbooks Desktop version. New iPhone App Navigation, Look, and Feel We are constantly trying to improve the way HouseCall Pro looks and feels. From the images above you can see just a fraction of the enhancements and updates we will soon be releasing on the iPhone app. We have completely re-designed the way you can move around the app by creating an intuitive bottom navigation bar. We have also increased your ability to customize price lists, job descriptions, and price/quantity within the app. These are just two examples of the brand new look and feel of the app. The new version of the app will be released very soon, so stay tuned!

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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So You Want to Build An Awesome Website?

February 16, 2016 • As a home service provider, your website is one of the most important tools in your belt for acquiring new business. 85% of customers use the internet to find local service businesses, so odds are your potential customer's first impression of you and your business will be based on your website. How do you design a site that pushes that customer over the edge from just browsing to giving you a call? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a crash course in everything you need to know to build the foundation of an engaging and business boosting site. In The Keys to Good Web Design Define who you are and what you do This one might sound like a no-brainer, but your potential customers are browsing through tons of websites in search of the perfect home service provider. If they have to endlessly scroll and scour your page to learn what you do and how to reach you, they will move on to the next site. Clearly stating what type of service you provide, where you’re located, and how to contact you on the first screen they see is an absolute must in order to capture their attention. Establish credibility When you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship with yourself. You need to clearly establish what your unique selling position is - in other words, how are you different than your competitors, and why should your customers trust you? Including testimonials on your website is a great way to accomplish this, but furthermore, your website should look polished and user-friendly, because the level of care you put into representing your business is the level of care you’ll be perceived to treat your customers with. It’s all about striking a balance between personal and professional - you want to give your website viewers a genuine feel for your business that puts them at ease letting you into their home, while maintaining a skilled and qualified demeanor that inspires confidence that you’re the right person to get the job done. Craft your image The visual imagery you use on your website should be engaging enough to capture your customer’s attention, while staying true to your brand. Here’s some tips and tricks for visual design: Logo: Although your logo has no intrinsic meaning on it’s own, your logo is symbolic of your brand. It should be on all of your marketing materials: websites, social channels, invoices, trucks, shirts, etc. Therefore, it needs to be, and resonate with your branding message. Thinking about a redesign? Check out this article for some additional inspiration. Color Palette: Certain colors can subconsciously with viewers, so you should select your color palette carefully, depending on how you want to portray your brand. Typeface: The font you choose for your website can speak volumes about your brand. Fonts have different personalities, so you want to choose one that fits with your core branding message. Check out these examples: If you wanted to portray that you’re a responsible and principled company, Papyrus or Bipolar Braden probably isn’t going to be your font of choice.. you would want to choose something more classic and refined. However, if you want to tell your customers that you’re fun and funky, using Lobster 1.4 as an accent font could be a good way to show some personality! As a general rule of thumb, you should only use two fonts on a web page, one for headers or accents, and one for the body text. Additionally, on websites, you should choose a sans-serif font (one without tails on the letters, like Helvetica Neue or Lato) for the body text, because it makes for a cleaner, easier to read viewing experience. Last but not least, I am begging you, please please PLEASE never use Comic Sans. Ever. The 4 Cardinal Sins of Web Design Now that you know the principles of good web design, let’s talk about some common mistakes and how you can avoid them: Cluttered websites: It’s easy to overload your site with content and images, but this is one of the fastest ways to lose traffic to your site, because your customers can get overwhelmed. An easy trick to see if your site has too much going on? Do a squint test! Squint at your site - if you can’t pick out your main points and call-to-action, you’ve got too much going on. Bad Photography: Photos, when done right, are some of the easiest ways to make your site fun and engaging. However, your customers will pick up on generic or poor quality photos in a heartbeat, and that’s worse than having no photos at all. Invest in getting professional photos taken, or high quality stock photography to make your site stand out! Poor Navigation: If it’s not intuitive to your customers where they can find all the pertinent information about your company, they’re not going to take the time to look. Using Fixed Web Design: As web use is becoming increasingly mobile, you need to make sure your web site is optimized for a variety of screen sizes. This is called responsive or adaptive web design, and are necessary in today’s digital world. If your web site is one fixed width, customers viewing that site on a small screen will be frustrated by the difficulty of use. Smashing Successes Some of these principles are hard to visualize, so let’s see some of them in action. Here are some examples of home service businesses who knocked our socks off with their web design: ManMaids - College Station, TX Everything you would want to know about the business is right there on the front page: what they do, where they’re located, their pricing, their contact information, and even a “Book Now” button in the top navigation. If I’m a customer and I’m in a hurry, I’m way more likely to give ManMaids a call if I don’t have to go on a treasure hunt to find all the info I need. Best of all, they provide you that information without cluttering their home page. It is clean and aesthetically pleasing, and the running video is a fantastic way of captivating a customer’s attention while simultaneously giving a customer a taste of their personality. Controlled Climates - Clovis, CA This website is a perfect example of visual branding. Their logo is simple, and obviously connected to their industry, but they’ve personalized it to make it their own. Additionally, their color choices, red and blue, are commonly associated with hot and cold, which is a clear connection to the HVAC industry. Their logo and color choices are consistent across all of their messaging, creating a professional and memorable representation of their brand! In Conclusion... Congratulations, you now know everything you need to know to become a master web designer. Time to stop reading about best practices, and put your new found skills to use. Happy Designing!

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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How Much Is Your Brand Worth?

February 3, 2016 • Branding is an abstract concept, but its impact is undeniable. In fact, consumers are willing to pay 200% more for brands they feel connected to. Learn about branding so that you can boost revenue and skyrocket your brand to success! What is a Brand? When you think of a brand, what comes to mind? You might be envisioning a logo, such as the one emblazoned on your Starbucks cup. While a brand’s logo is what people typically remember most about a brand, there is much more to branding than just a logo. The reason why the idea of a brand is difficult to understand is because it is intangible. A logo, on the other hand, is tangible. You can see a brand's logo, yet a brand itself "exists only in someone's mind," according to Forbes. A brand is everything that people think when they see the brand's logo. There are two components to a brand: both the actual product or service it offers, such as Starbucks’ coffee, as well as the thoughts and feelings associated with it, for example, the bliss of sipping your favorite caffeinated beverage. In semiotics, the study of how meaning is created, signs communicate messages. Imagine a “Stop” sign. In this example, the signifier is the sign itself. The signified, or meaning conveyed, is to stop your car. When we apply this to brands, you can think of a logo as the signifier, which represents the ideas attached to the brand, or the signified. As reported in Entrepreneur, a logo is the foundation of a brand. While your logo is essential, it is not the only element to consider. The ideas and emotions signified by your logo are what are what truly define your brand. Regardless of your logo, your brand can thrive as long as it inspires positive thoughts and a strong connection with your audience. The Starbucks Story To illustrate the concept of how a company can charge far higher than its competitors, yet prevail due to powerful branding, let's study the example of Starbucks. Starbucks is one of the most beloved brands in the world. What makes Starbucks so successful? It’s not the unique name and logo alone that earned Starbucks its place in the hearts of so many fans.  What sets Starbucks apart is the experience it provides its customers. Visiting a Starbucks store is a sensory experience that engages all 5 senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and, of course, taste. First, you see the store’s contemporary, yet warm and cozy design. As you enter, the scent of roasting coffee beans wafts into your nose. After placing your order, you hear the barista call out your name. You pick up your piping hot Grande Carmel Macchiato and take a sip. Mmm… it's delicious, as always. If you’re a Starbucks fan, you may adore your classic drink order, but your love for Starbucks likely extends far beyond that. Starbucks is more than a coffee shop, it is a place where you can go to feel at home. Whether you go to Starbucks in Des Moines, Iowa, or Barcelona, Spain, your experience will be nearly identical, providing a sense of familiarity no matter where in the world you may be. By offering the opportunity to relax in comfort, Starbucks has won legions of fans across the globe. By consistently delivering a luxurious, sensuous experience, Starbucks establishes a powerful relationship with its customers. Starbucks’ brand is successful because of meaning people attach to the brand. For many, the Starbucks logo represents refreshment and rejuvenation in a relaxing atmosphere. Since Starbucks forges strong emotional ties with its patrons, it earns their loyalty and love for life.  I use the Starbucks story to simply illustrate the fundamental impact of brand loyalty and overall significance of customer experience. Although small service businesses differ greatly from something as corporate and global as Starbucks, the lessons are still the same; Service professionals must strive to create elevated emotional brand loyalty through their business offerings.  How can you do that? Read on.  How to Create an Emotional Brand While you may not be running a coffee shop, the lessons learned from the story of the Starbucks brand can be applied to any business. In fact, if you effectively establish an emotional connection with your target market, you can charge 200% more than your competitors for the same service, according to research. That’s right, customers are willing to splurge for brands they have forged strong emotional ties with, so the premium price tag is less meaningful than their relationship with the brand. Further, emotional branding increases sales volumes and customer loyalty, both boosting the bottom line. Now that you know how powerful emotional branding can be for your bottom line, how do you tap into it? Follow these steps to establish a brand that your customers can connect to emotionally: 1. Identify an emotion to tie to your brand. How does your brand make people feel? For example, if you own a cleaning business, you could choose satisfaction or security. Communicate in your brand messaging that you aim to instill complete satisfaction and reliable security within your customers through your services. Be careful to choose emotions that are already likely to be evoked by experiencing your brand. 2. Imagine an ideal experience with your brand. Starbucks’ former VP of Brand Planning, Jerome Conlon, explains to Branding Strategy Insider about how “dream catching” helped cultivate the Starbucks brand experience. In this experiment, Starbucks asked participants to imagine drinking the absolute best cup of coffee. Starbucks learned that their customers’ ideal coffee experiences were similar, so they set forth to provide that perfect experience in their stores. For your business, you can ask your friends and family to help. Ask them to dream about the ideal experience in your service industry.  Find out details about what would make their experience with your brand deliver positive emotions. Envision how you can provide an optimal experience and aim to cultivate that ideal. 3. Invoke the emotion in all experiences of your brand. Establish a voice for your brand that consistently conveys that emotion. Tie it into everything your brand is, does, and says. Your customers will start to associate your brand with the emotion if you do this successfully. Most importantly, consistently provide your customers with an experience that evokes the emotion. For instance, if you tie the feeling of satisfaction to your cleaning company, ensure that your customers experience your brand in a way that offers money back for anything less than complete satisfaction.  4. Integrate all of your branding with the emotion. If your brand already has a name and a logo, ensure that they are aligned with the emotion you have chosen. If they aren't, you may want to consider changing them, or at least finding a new emotion to channel that fits in with your existing branding. Make sure your brand’s color scheme is reminiscent of the emotion. For example, if your emotions are blissful and peaceful, blue and green are colors that convey a sense of serenity and earthiness. 5. Inspire your entire company to cultivate the emotion. Once you have a vision of your emotional branding, know that it alone is not enough. As demonstrated by the Starbucks story, a brand’s vision must “be expressed through behavior, through each and every Starbucks employee at each location. Hence, we had to share the vision with everyone inside the organization.” Teach your employees how to provide the best possible experience to all of your customers. Show them how they can nurture emotional ties with your customers so that they truly feel the emotion when they experience your brand. Enrich the working conditions of your employees so that they authentically convey positive emotions in interactions with your customers. To be powerful, a brand must be consistent and authentic. By following this advice, you will be on your way to building a captivating brand. Just like Starbucks can charge sky-high prices for its coffee, you too can increase your prices up to 200% more than competitors by tapping into the power of emotional branding! Connect with your customers emotionally so that they would never consider an alternative in your industry. Create an emotional branding strategy so that you can catapult your brand to prosperity!

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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Pricing, Dispatch and Events Updates

January 31, 2016 • Unit Price and Quantity on Invoices Do you want your customers to see unit prices and quanitties? Now you have the option to display these on invoices. Non-Job Events Block out space on the calendar for holidays or personal events. Dispatch to Crews  Now you can dispatch jobs to a multiple employees. Select all the team members you need to dispatch to a job. Unit Price and Quantity on Invoices You now have the option to display unit price and quantities for all of your invoices. If you click on the blue envelope or PDF icon on your job screen, you will see a pop-up window containing your invoice preview. On this screen, there is a check-box (located at the top-center of the window) that will give you the option to display the unit price and quantity for that job.  By checking the box, you will be setting unit price and quantity to display on all of your invoices by default for your organization. If you would like not to display unit price and quantity, simply uncheck the box.   Non-Job Events You can now view, create, and edit non-job events on both iPhone and Android devices. To create a non-job event, select the '+' icon at the top right-hand corner of your screen and click the calendar icon. This will open up a new screen where you can give the non-job event a title, time/date, location, and the employees that are assigned to that event. The events will show up on all calendars and job lists across all devices in the organization. Dispatch to Crews  When scheduling, you can now dispatch multiple technicians to the same job from your HouseCall Pro app. To access this feature, simply follow the normal job scheduling work-flow. When you arrive at the 'Dispatch To' tab, you will now be able to select multiple employees for any given job. A blue check-mark will display next to every selected employee for that job.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

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