5 Things To Look For In Home Service Software



One mistake many small to medium-sized home contractor businesses make is thinking that back-end business management software is just for the big dogs. This is simply not true.

It makes sense that a large residential home service business would benefit from having software to track a large number of workers, phone calls, time on job, billable hours vs. non billable, leads vs. conversion and how many leads were lost in the pipeline. However, a small to mid-sized business can potentially benefit even more from SaaS that can streamline its business practices and fine tune its sales processes on a smaller scale.

But what exactly should operational software be able to accomplish for your residential home service business? Here are five things to look for:

  • Worker productivity tracking – How many hours are billable hours for each worker? How many hours were spent on administrative duties? How productive is each employee? Back-end software can track many worker activities depending on what is most important to your business.



  • Business forecasting – Compare your company’s productivity from year-to-year, month-to-month and more with software that also helps you predict how your business will perform (and is currently performing) with more accuracy.



  • Scheduling – The software you select should be able to take the guesswork out of creating/updating/changing worker scheduling with the ease of a dashboard. A scheduling dashboard should allow for easy managing and changing schedules with a click and drop capability or with a simple system. Color-coding each worker by status can be a helpful tool, as well.



  • Dispatch capability – An essential component of a good management software system for service industry businesses is the dispatch function. Efficient dispatching of workers can save money by improving workflow and making it easy to supervise and adjust time management.



  • Extraordinary customer service and support – Any operational software needs a superb support staff who can answer any questions that might arise and can address them quickly and effectively with minimal hassle. Look for customer testimonials and references before choosing a system for your business.

Andrew Loschert is Manager of Marketing Analytics and Optimization for ServiceTitan.

ServiceTitan is the #1 software platform for managing a home services business, incorporating the industry’s best practices to help you run a better business, lower costs, improve sales, provide a better customer experience, and manage your business more easily.

Coming Soon: ReviewBuzz and ServiceTitan are soon to be seamlessly integrated, giving ServiceTitan clients a hands-free way to get 5-star online reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook and more. To learn more about ServiceTitan, click here.

New Study: 92% Now Read Online Reviews to Evaluate Local Businesses


BrightLocal, a search and research firm, has conducted a comprehensive survey on how online reviews influence internet users since 2010. Their findings reveal some mind-blowing trends and demonstrate how online reviews are skyrocketing in significance, especially with regard to how they affect consumer purchase decisions.
Here are some key takeaways from their research:
92% of Consumers are Now Reading Online Reviews (vs. 88% in 2014)
That’s. Almost. Everyone. This data comes from responses to the question, “Do you read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business?” Of the respondents, 33% answered “Yes, regularly,” and a staggering 59% answered “Yes, occasionally.” So if only 8% of consumers don’t read reviews at all, that means just about everyone looks to online reviews to evaluate your business.
40% of Consumers Trust a Company After Reading Only 1-3 Reviews (vs. 29% in 2014)
Customers in the group were asked, “How many online reviews do you need to read before you feel that you can trust that business?” Incredibly, customers are requiring less and less data to begin forming an opinion about a business. Take a look:

Nearly half make snap judgements after only a few reviews, and the other half want more information. So if you want to turn those viewers into a call, you need a healthy amount of reviews and you need recent reviews. Why? Because the first reviews customers see are, most of the time, your most recent. And if customers are only reading 1-3 reviews before forming an opinion, they better be good.
Actually, while we’re on the subject of recent reviews…
44% Say Review Must Be Written Within One Month To Be Relevant
It’s great to have a high quantity of reviews, and totally fine if they were written years ago. These factor into your overall review rating, so if they are positive they are helping to keep your overall star rating high. But those older reviews are quickly becoming reviews that customers don’t take into consideration when making a decision about your business. You could have put a great deal of work into earning those online reviews, you could have even collected hundreds of them. But if they weren’t recently written, more and more customers don’t find them relevant. Stay current, and keep earning new, timely reviews.
Star Rating is #1 Factor Used By Consumers to Judge a Business
The first thing customers see when observing online reviews is a business’ overall star rating. And now we know that star rating truly matters, and affects the way consumers judge your business. When respondents were asked, “When judging a local business on its reviews, which of these factors do you pay the most attention to?” they were given the option to select two of the following choices, and answered in this way:

  • Overall star rating (60%)
  • Quantity of reviews (44%)
  • Sentiment of reviews (38%)
  • Age of reviews (33%)
  • If business has responded to reviews (26%)

Keep making sure that star rating is as high as it can be. It’s also noteworthy that the second most important factor customers use to judge your business is the quantity of reviews. That’s great news because all the work you put into raising that star rating with more reviews matters, as the quantity of reviews you have is something consumers care about.
Only 13% of Consumers Would Consider Using Business with a 1 or 2 star Rating
We talk a lot about getting positive reviews with a high star count. We also talk a lot about getting a high quantity of reviews. But does it really matter if one of your review sites has a low rating? According to the data, you bet it does. Only 13% of consumers would give you a call if you have a 1 or 2 star rating.
80% of Consumers Trust Reviews as Much as Personal Recommendations
Consumers trust each other more than they trust you, and as much as someone they personally know! Word-of-mouth marketing has always been the most powerful form of advertising, and it’s exciting how online reviews have flung the door open for a wider audience to share their experiences with each other. This phenomenon gives you a golden opportunity to generate buzz about your business.
Obviously this survey reinforces the importance of getting online reviews. Having a lot of great reviews is critical, and it’s critical that those reviews are recently written.
In other words…earn more reviews and Be Remarkable!
Image:  Courtesy of BrightLocal
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The 10 Best Blogs for Customer Service



We all know that no one will write a 5-star review for you if they’ve had a bad experience. But did you know they won’t write a review at all if they’ve had just an average experience?
 An average experience just doesn’t cut it — think about it. If you had an “okay” day at work and you are asked how your day was, your answer is typically, “Fine,” or “okay.”
But if something remarkable happened to you? No one will be able to shut you up!
That’s the kind of experience you need to give to each and every one of your customers if you want a consistent flow of 5-star online reviews. You want your customers so excited about your service that they shout your praises from the rooftops.
New Ways To “WOW” Your Customers  
It can be tough coming up with new ways to WOW your customers and it typically takes more than your own creative genius to muster. We get where you’re coming from. We need fresh ideas sometimes too.
For inspiration, we look to other companies and people we respect, in order to learn how they impress their customers.  So we check in on their blogs to see what’s new, and if there are any new nuggets of wisdom we can apply to our own business.
Here are our top ten favorite blogs for delivering superior, remarkable customer service:


  1. Zappos’ CEO and COO Blog – The popular internet shopping heaven Zappos was founded
    by customer service visionary Tony Hsieh. While it’s a great idea to pick up his book
    Delivering Happiness, to learn about the best in customer service, this blog is maintained by the executive team at Zappos with the latest ideas and practical applications of world class customer service. There’s a reason why customers love Zappos, and this blog shows you how you can do the same with your own customers.

  1. Fonolo – Touted as the blog for call center professionals, this blog provides a fantastic host of tips that any call center team can master. We love this blog because the writers clearly do their research — there are tons of facts and figures to backup their claims, proving these tips will really work! But even cooler is how they own the idea of having fun. Some of the articles are all about how to improve call center culture and how to enjoy work more. Happy call center = happy customers.

  1. Contractor Sales Coach – If you are in the home service industry and aren’t familiar with Joe & Julie Crisara — you should be. Their unique approach to training owners and managers has helped countless home service companies improve customer service to maximize sales. Their Contractor Sales Coach blog is kept up to date with the latest ideas and strategies for improving not only sales, but customer service.

  1. Shep Hyken’s Customer Service – Shep Hyken is a best selling author on the subject of customer service. With four books under his belt,Shep has built a solid reputation as a customer service and experience expert. When he’s not speaking at conferences or writing another powerful book, Shep writes on his blog and shares the secrets behind wowing customers into ambassadors of businesses. The blog comes with tips on customer service, but also offers a wealth of resources such as interviews, infographics, featured guest blogs, and more.

  1. Help Scout – This blog has a beautiful user interface that makes clicking around a delight. Each of the articles is put into a distinct category, and the one you will want to focus on is their Support section. There you can find easy-to-read articles on everything from handling difficult support situations to what books to read if you’re in customer service.

  1. Jackie Huba – What sets Jackie Huba apart from other customer service coaches is that she is a customer loyalty expert. She focuses not only on a single customer experience, but instead on converting one-time customers to lifetime customers — loyal to your brand till the end. Her blog is packed with insight on how to create repeat business, customer loyalty and customer evangelists.

  1. HDIConnect –  This is straying a little off the path of “10 best blogs” because this is a hub for customer service bloggers complete with a forum for discussion. This is a great place to go for connecting with others and sharing ideas. But more importantly the Blogs section organizes blogs by service area, such as Service Management, Desktop Support, Support Operations, Customer Service, etc.

  1. Groove HQ – From the start you’ll see something is different about Groove HQ. The blog features a unique vertical timeline, which makes browsing through blog posts easy, improving your ability to find a relevant article to your particular business and role. From there, writer Len Markidan fills his articles with to-the-point tips on practical customer service strategies. What we like the most is he doesn’t fluff his blogs with wordiness or noise.  Well, we also like how he provides visuals to enhance learning and make sure his teachings stick.

  1. ZenDesk – We use ZenDesk, we like ZenDesk, and yeah, we read ZenDesk’s blog. They just plain old fashioned know what they are doing, and they are awesome enough to share what they’ve learned on their playful blog. Their tips of the week are ideas that you can use right away, which we like.  Between the tips of the week, and insightful articles, we like the way they use humor to increase engagement so you are actually reading the article, not thinking about what you need to get at the grocery store later.

  1. CSI: Customer Service Investigator – This is a cool site. CSI goes all over the place with customer service, which is where you need to go to. Topics cover ideas of how to improve call centers and how to treat your customers better. But they also cover stories on how big companies are improving their customer service, which can inspire you to implement similar practices and processes at your company.

Remember, customers don’t write reviews if they feel, “meh,” about your service.
You need to be remarkable to motivate your customers to do some finger dancing on their keyboards to write you a 5-star online reviews.
We hope these blogs will help you get there.


Why Negative Reviews Are Actually a Good Thing

bad good


Although it may feel bad – those negative online reviews are actually a good thing for your business.

No, we haven’t completely lost our minds.

Here’s why.

Gives You An Outside Perspective

It’s hard to know everything that’s going on with your business. You may have a rude employee in your company but have no clue they are abusing your customers. Personnel know (most of the time…) to behave in front of their boss, but can turn right around and rip off your customers, behave cruelly, and otherwise misrepresent the brand you work so hard to polish and run well.

Negative reviews give you an excellent opportunity to learn from your customers, and overall improve your business in the long run. Take a deep breath, read the review humbly, and don’t take to blaming the review writer immediately. Use it as a learning moment – that review may be the push you need to focus back on your company vision or that it’s time to enroll your employees in some training. After all, how can you grow if you don’t know what to improve?


Transparency Builds Trust

Advertisers started lying to the public ages ago. In reaction, shoppers are now skeptical of every single thing they read, sniffing for the lie behind a too-good-to-be-true promise. This phenomena is just as relevant with online reviews. The second a potential customer finds an overall 5-star review rating, they become curious how that company rigged a perfect review score.

“Maybe the company just has one review, and it’s 5-stars.”

“Are all of these real online reviews?”

“What if they pay the website to boost the score? Or the customers?”

Customers don’t expect you to be the Mary Poppins of your industry – practically perfect in every way. They know your business is run by people, and people will always make a mistake here and there. Leaving the negative review on your review site shows customers that you are an honest company capable of making – and owning up to – mistakes.

Opportunity to Humanize Your Brand

Speaking of owning up to mistakes, those negative reviews are a perfect opportunity to demonstrate who you are as a company. Like your grandmother may have told you, “We are who we really are in the face of adversity,” is absolutely true in this case. The audience online is watching how you respond to those negative reviews.

If you respond with kindness, understanding, and put forth a genuine effort to remedy the reviewer’s concerns, the audience will see you are doing your best to make it right. This makes your company more “real” to the customer, more approachable, and more of a company they would like to call.

“The last of human freedoms – the ability to chose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.”
– Viktor Frankl


Don’t Live in Fear of Negative Reviews

We get it. Negative reviews can be scary because no one likes to hear negative things about them! But negative reviews, when handled correctly, can actually be a great way to demonstrate your humanity, honesty, and willingness to improve to the audience watching online. Customers are constantly hunting for companies they can trust – and negative reviews are a great way to demonstrate that you are that company to trust.