Growing On-Demand Home Improvement Services—Which Metrics Matter?
Like many subscriptions, on-demand home improvement services is a rapidly growing industry. With people spending more time at home in 2020, but having less time for home maintenance, it’s created opportunities to grow home services subscriptions. However, growth potential is no guarantee of increased revenue unless you can attract and win more customers. Online this is becoming increasingly difficult to do. With more competition and Google’s ever changing algorithms, search engine optimization (SEO) and even paid search are becoming more expensive, while yielding lower returns. This makes it more important to make sure that every effort is made to deliver such a wow customer experience (CX) that visitors to your website are converted, instead of dropping off and buying from a competitor.
To add to the challenge, home improvement is a complex industry with many types of available services: lawn maintenance, handyman services, pest control, and cleaning services, to name a few. They expect the service to make their life easier, especially when an emergency occurs and they don’t want to have to chase providers down. Plus, homeowners want assurances that contractors are trustworthy and reliable.
These days the go-to method for finding any service, whether it’s for emergency repairs or routine maintenance, is by doing an online search. For home services companies, getting potential customers to visit your website is just the start. People have become accustomed to doing more research online which means they want more than information. They’re expecting a frictionless, engaging experience that provides relevant information and offers. They want to know how they will benefit. And once they’re signed up, they expect that experience to continue to engage with them through digital channels because it’s convenient - and it’s become the norm.
Whole Customer Journey Optimization
These customer expectations highlight the need to make the most of every contact with a customer. On digital channels it means having the ability to optimize the whole customer journey - from start to finish and across different channels such as mobile and desktop. This can be challenging considering how many different options are available to customers. Which copy, layout and design is best? What information are customers looking for and how should it be displayed? You could try to test one idea against another, but that can take months to generate answers and even then may only solve a tiny piece of the puzzle. While you wait for answers you could have thousands of people visiting your site and not converting. If you’re targeting growth, it’s a huge missed opportunity.
How to sell more home improvement services online
Most business growth strategies revolve around three core elements:
- converting more customers
- convincing them to buy more
- getting them to buy more often
As home services subscriptions generally last for 6 months to a year, getting customers to buy more often won’t be a priority. But converting more customers and getting them to buy more - in the form of added services or an upgraded service package is a realistic target.
To achieve this, optimization efforts need to be aligned to the key performance indicators (KPIs) including increasing conversion rates and increasing average order value (AOV). Artificial intelligence (AI) is ideally suited to optimize CX for growth since it can process millions of variables in thousands of combinations. It can also effortlessly keep up with ever changing customer preferences and dynamic marketplace factors.
Through ideation at AI scale, what starts off as a handful of ideas to improve CX quickly becomes thousands of unique digital experiences. It provides companies with the opportunity to experiment with many exponentially more ideas and combinations and get responses from live visitors. This means that the accuracy of data collected is more in tune with the voice of the customer (VoC). The lift generated reflects which ideas visitors are responding to. It results in more meaningful insights that enable companies to achieve improvements in KPIs.
Optimizing for Growth in Home Services, Today and Tomorrow
One of the challenges in optimizing CX is that nothing stays the same. A customer’s needs and preferences change and competitors may offer better deals which means that a winning idea today may no longer convert customers tomorrow.
For example: A customer may sign up for lawn maintenance services in summer, but then need home maintenance in winter. The following year, that customer may move into an apartment and no longer need lawn maintenance services at all. This is just one example of how dynamic the marketplace can be and why a customer’s needs are always changing.
While companies have little control over external factors influencing customers, they can control the experience once customers start to interact with them. And this means making sure CX is optimized to deliver great experiences all the time.
AI-driven optimization helps companies do this by providing the option to add to or change ideas mid-optimization and respond to changing marketplace dynamics. It has the benefits of enabling companies to become more agile and adapt quickly while continually improving the CX. If winning ideas and combinations have resulted in 7% lift, for example, by making a few small changes to existing optimizations you may be able to increase that lift to 11% which can make a significant impact on hitting growth targets. In a complex and changing industry, this level of growth can give home services companies a distinct competitive advantage.