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5 Things that Service Companies can Learn from Google Analytics

Business owners and managers need reports to monitor the health of their business; to measure what works and what doesn’t, to see how they fit in the world around them, to find the best methods for gaining new customers. Part of that information can be gleaned from Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is free, robust and it can tell a service contractor a lot about their business today and trends over time.  Things like:

  1. Who is coming to your website and how they got there
  2. What people are looking for when they come to your site
  3. If your conversion goals are being met
  4. What’s working to drive high-value visitors to your site
  5. If your content meets their needs

1. Who is coming to your site and how they got there.

The Audience section of Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your web visitors. Three of the most important and interesting to monitor are geography, network, and new vs. returning.

Geography will show you where your visitors are located. This is a good way to monitor your local SEO and ensure that you are reaching the people in locations where you work. Once you segment your web visitors by location, you can study them by other metrics, like source and goal conversions (more on that in a minute.)  

For example, I can see that the majority of ServiceTrade’s visitors in the past month in Raleigh come to us direct, but most of our visitors in Greensboro are referred by our email outreach with the source info.servicetrade.com. Knowing that, I might be interested in browsing my recent email list for prospects located in Greensboro, and can start to cobble together an understanding of where those prospect(s) are interested in our web and email content.

Network is one of my favorites! It lists the internet service providers for your web visitors. For a lot of smaller companies and home users, this will be the name of their provider (like AT&T, Time Warner, or dozens of others), but for a lot of businesses, their network name will display as their company name. When you see a company name, you know immediately what customers and prospects have been on your site. It is fantastic for sales outreach.  

Once I pick one of my prospects out of the Network list, I can see how many visitors came to the site and when. I can see their city and state. I can see their landing page. Their exit page. And I can see if they converted on any of my site’s goals.

Network data in Analytics can be used for sales optimization. And that’s why it’s my favorite.

New or Returning Visitors  Keep track of how many new visitors come to your site in a time period and track it over the long term. Cross-reference your new user data against how they came to your site, and where they’re located. All of this information will help you understand where your customer acquisition programs are the most effective – and it’s one of the most important long term trends you can monitor.

 

2. What people are looking for when they come to your site.

There are a couple of ways to uncover what people are looking for when they come to your site.

By the pages they visit.  Rank your content pages by number of page views. For ServiceTrade, the most visited page after our home page is pricing so we make it easy to find in our navigation. After pricing, we look at what feature pages are most visited to understand what problems our web visitors most want to solve. For service contractor websites, those pages will be the services you offer. Giving each service its own web page or section of your website will make it easier for you to later measure site engagement to see where your audience is interested.

By the keywords they search for. Visitors’ keyword search terms also tell you what people were looking for when they came to your site. Unfortunately, the keyword list is partially obscured in Google Analytics. Instead, search traffic and keyword performance data is shown in Google Search Console

 

3. If your conversion goals are being met.

Analytics makes it easy to establish multiple goals for user behavior. You can get a total number of conversions for all of your traffic, and also segment it by any number of factors like network, geography, source, etc.

Set up a goal for your web forms and monitor what sources they come from. If you find a strong goal conversion through your listing on the local trade association website, you know that it’s a good place to invest your time and your money. On the other hand, if you’re investing in a program but not seeing goal conversions, you have a red flag.

 

4. What’s working to drive high-value visitors to your site.

Which of your programs, online profiles, emails or whatever else you do is working? You can come at this information two ways:

  1. Look at where you are having success, i.e. goal conversions, and back track those visitors to their source
  2. Look at your traffic sources, then rank them by key performance indicators, i.e. goal conversions, time on site, new visitors, etc.

 

 

5. How your content is performing.

Did you see our post that ranked our top 10 blog posts of 2016? That ranking came directly from Analytics when we organized blog posts by the most visitors.

The Behavior section of Analytics measures how people engage with the different parts of your site. Valuable points to observe are your most visited pages, pages with the longest time on site metrics, top landing pages, top exit pages, and how visitors flow through your site.  Once you’ve crunched this data, where are you surprised? Where are visitors spending more or less time than you expect? Does your site’s user experience make it easy for them to get to the most valuable information?

 

Schedule a Weekly Date with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is absolutely worth your time to study and uncover insights that aren’t just about your website, but about your audience that you can use to:

  • Learn if your site is optimized for the right content and geography.
  • Make decisions about where to invest your marketing dollars.
  • Find those golden needles in the haystack that inform sales about which prospects and customers are actively engaged with your content.
  • Monitor trends over time.

Your competition and Google’s ever-evolving algorithms make SEO a dynamic environment littered with factors that you can’t control. Analytics reporting is one way to see when things might be changing – whether it’s a temporary blip in the quiet weeks around the holidays – or the sign of trouble that needs to be researched and resolved.

My final parting advice is to have Evernote or your project management application open as soon as you delve into Analytics. You’ll think of a ton of data-driven ideas you’ll want to record and act on.

Uber is better than your techs…for parts delivery.

Do you charge customers for time spent driving to and from the parts house or warehouse? You shouldn’t. Before you get defensive, hear me out. If your parts house could quickly deliver parts directly to your technicians in the field at a reasonable price, you could charge the customer less and make more profit. Cheap delivery is available now thanks to Uber’s new(ish) on-demand local delivery service, UberRush. How does this result in lower prices and more profit? Let’s run the numbers.

Let’s look at how you currently charge the customer for a small repair that requires a trip to the warehouse or parts house. Let’s assume that you use a $500 part and 4 hours of labor plus an additional hour of driving the 15 miles to and from the parts house. If you mark up the part at 80%, your invoice might look something like this:

Parts $900
Labor (5hrs @ $115) $575
Total $1475


Assuming that you have a low margin on labor (around $10), which is common for parts-heavy service contractors like mechanical companies, and have an average cost of $.50 per mile for travel, you are looking at a margin of $435 or 29.4%

On the other hand, if your parts house or warehouse used UberRush, parts would be delivered directly to your technician in the field. In this case, that would save an hour of drive time.  Additionally, It’s easy to justify passing on and even marking up the delivery fee if you show the customer that you are saving them money:

Parts $900
Delivery Fee $73
Labor (4hrs @ $115) $460
Total $1433

The cost of the delivery fee is $40.50 for a 15 mile trip in New York City based on the current UberRush pricing. Marking that fee up the by the same 80% as our parts yields the $73 price above. All told, the new margin is $470.50 or 32.8%.

The margin increase and savings for the customer are great, but there are two bigger wins this process offers. First, your tech now has an extra hour in his day to perform work for another customer. In the provided scenario, that extra hour could allow for another job to be completed that day. On a broader scale, this could mean an extra job or two per week per tech. The implications for your company’s revenue and bottom line are substantial.

At a high level, adopting technology like UberRush is further ammunition to explain to your prospects and customers why you are different. As I explained in my recent blog post, Beat your low price competitor, Chuck, whenever you can show the customer how you use technology to work smarter in order to avoid using scarce labor resources for their and your benefit, you will have a differentiating sales advantage.

Unfortunately, UberRush is only available in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, but I suspect it will arrive in new cities quickly as they expand their other local on-demand delivery service, UberEats. If you want an email alert when it’s available in your city, you can use this Google Alert. Be sure to change “Raleigh” to your city’s name.

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Best of 2016

As 2017 kicks 2016 to the curb, take a minute to revisit our most-loved blog posts of the year.

Whether they’re new to you, or you need a review, check out these blog posts for inspiration to start the new year.

Trouble selling? Be memorable.

Why is it so difficult to remember even a short speech, but so easy to remember an entire song? For example, what do these 7 digits do for you? 867-5309.  Humming yet? Now that I’ve probably lost your attention to Tommy Tutone, I’ll try to make my point. We are creatures of rhyme, story, and imagery. Great salespeople use this trait to leave memorable impressions with the customer.

Let me give you another quick example by telling a story about overcoming the challenging  trends service contractors face today:

Low price competition for service contractors

You know One Truck Chuck? He’s the low-price competitor that steals your customer by undercutting your invoices.

help-wanted
Competing on price was fair game when technicians were easy to hire. That game has changed with the skilled labor squeeze which is predicted to worsen over the coming decade.

vice

Feels like you’re stuck in the tightening jaws of a vice; right between increasing price pressure from One Truck Chuck and rising costs from the skilled labor squeeze. Fortunately, these challenges are not insurmountable.

But, before I present a solution, I want to point out the tools I’ve used so far to make this narrative memorable. When you step away from this blog post, you won’t remember this particular sentence but you will definitely remember the phrases “One Truck Chuck” and the “skilled labor squeeze” because of the imagery, rhyme, and alliteration I used. That’s powerful. You need to leave the same lasting impression with your customers and prospects.

Now, back to our story. You can’t afford to beat Chuck on price. You have to differentiate yourself and show the customer how you offer more value. A good portion of this blog post is dedicated to just that, but I think this image helps sum it up:

tattoo-600px

Your pitch can go something like this:

Prospective customer, this is what happens when you go with my cheap competitor, One Truck Chuck. It will take him twice as long, causes twice the aggravation, and results in twice the expense due to shoddy workmanship. He is undercapitalized, under-equipped, and under-experienced to provide the expertise you need. You will spend more time and more money dealing with him.

Obviously, this shouldn’t be the entirety of your sales pitch, but this is a great piece of ammunition to support the case that you are a high-value provider. Feel free to use any of the images or rhymes in this post during your next sales call and please let us know what you use to get your point across to the customer. Check out our webinar “Don’t sell on price. Sell a premium program. to learn more about using these tools and others to outsell your competition.

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How Service Companies Send Appointment Reminders

Everybody sends upcoming appointment reminders: Your doctor, your hair stylist, the vet. Are you sending them to your customers? If so, is it a phone call or an email? How informational is it? Is it boosting your brand image?

calendar-phone

 

Why Service Contractors Should Send Appointment Reminders

Whether for your business or for your vet, lost appointments are lost money. Confusion happens, appointments fall off of schedules, and people get flakey and forget. So it makes a ton of sense to remind customers about appointments. In case you need convincing:

  • You don’t want to show up when the customer isn’t expecting you and not be able to do the work. Even if you can do the work, they won’t be happy about the surprise.
  • You’ll remind people of what you plan to do, and give them time to think about what else they might need your help with while you’re on-site.
  • You’ll keep your brand at the top of their minds as a helpful, responsible partner.
  • You’ll be seen as easy to work with. Email is a great way to deliver a reminder because they are not an interruption, they can be referred back to, easily shared, and contain more info than you can share in a brief phone call.
  • You’ll save labor from not sending techs on wild goose chases.

There is a good back-story about how ServiceTrade appointment reminders came to be.

The Story

When Service Link was created, we only thought of it as an after-service online report. A few months after it launched, we started to hear from customers who were sending Service Link before the appointment, too.  

It was a brilliant idea! Service Link included the list of services that were scheduled. It arrived in their customer’s inbox in a nice, mobile-friendly, branded email.  So we supported their innovation with a few small changes to make it explicitly clear that what the customer received was about an upcoming appointment.

Using Service Link in this way was one of the most eye-opening ideas that was shared at the Digital Wrap Conference. More than half of attendees surveyed said they’ll start using Service Link in new ways.

How it Works in ServiceTrade

My quick Google search today returned dozens of appointment reminder software vendors. Lucky for ServiceTrade users, they don’t need to integrate with another solution, they can use what’s already built into the application.

James Jordan covered Service Link appointment reminders in the last Bearded Briefing. Here’s how it works.

 

Innovation is Part of a Digital Wrap

Innovation was a big message at the Digital Wrap Conference. Shawn Mims explained that innovations come at all sizes to fix small to large problems. It’s hard to imagine a more simple innovation than using an existing feature in a new way.

An appointment reminder is one of the MIPS (Marketing Impressions per Service (read post)) that are part of your Digital Wrap. This simple alert:

  • Is a branded marketing impression, so you look professional
  • Makes customer happy about working with you
  • Keeps you from wasting your limited skilled labor resources

ServiceTrade customers are innovators who use technology in unexpected ways. Those customers solved a problem by looking to the software they were already using. There’s a good lesson here that if you find yourself with a problem, take a look at what you already have in place for how it might be part of a solution.

And if you’re using ServiceTrade to solve a problem, let us know about it!  Our customers constantly surprise us with their innovative problem solving.

Also read:

 

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The Metal Benders Will Steal Your Customers

If you ask equipment manufacturers (metal benders), they will claim that your customers are technically their customers.  What’s changing now is that they want to have their customers pay them for maintenance and repair services instead of you.  

corporation

I am, of course, speaking about how manufacturers are increasingly embracing the service business as the next leg of profit to be mined in the market.  The days of distribution channel loyalty are gone.  Prepare to do battle with the well capitalized companies that you used to call “partners.”  Where is the evidence that the drums of a channel war are beating?  Consider these two recent news stories:

GE Buys ServiceMax for $915M

GE just spent almost a billion dollars to buy a software company that specializes in technology for service delivery.  The price tag for that purchase was an estimated 15-times ServiceMax’s current revenue.  GE REALLY WANTED THIS TECHNOLOGY to pay that kind of price.  Note that ServiceMax is built on top of Salesforce’s CRM platform, NOT AN ACCOUNTING APPLICATION.  GE’s aggressive activity in the market says that customer service and sales are the new battlegrounds for manufacturer competitiveness.  They want to control the entire customer experience from initial consideration of their equipment through the maintenance and repair cycle and then finally the upgrade and replacement at end of life.  ServiceMax helps them deliver on this promise with great efficiency and customer visibility.

Boeing Hires GE Exec to Focus on Service

GE was in the news again because Boeing has hired a GE exec from the GE Aircraft Engine business to run the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group (CAG).  Kevin McAllister was selected as the new CEO of Boeing CAG because he specializes in monetizing “after the sale” services for maintenance and repair.  At GE, they sold a program to the airlines that delivered jet engine maintenance and repair for a fixed fee based upon the number of hours on the engines.  That program was just what the airline operators wanted – a no hassle, no risk, fixed cost plan sold by an expert in jet engine technology.  Now, Kevin is heading to Boeing to concentrate on the same type of program for commercial aircraft.

 

So why are the manufacturers so interested in service these days?  Because lifetime value of the customer is everything, and service is easier than ever to deliver because of technology.  Historically, service was hard because it was unpredictable, and it was not possible to be everywhere the customer needed you to be at one time.  Now, with advanced instrumentation and the Internet, the manufacturers can “see” what is happening in order to better manage a service delivery plan.  Also, customers have come to understand that the company responsible for service needs to be the one with all of the data required to do the service right, and it really doesn’t matter who employs the technician that shows up to turn the wrenches so long as the owners of the data give him good instructions.  Manufacturers can build an enduring ownership bond with the customer throughout the product lifecycle to earn a premium on their stock value.  Check out chapter 5 in my book, The Digital Wrap, about how Tesla has become the envy of the manufacturing world because of this dynamic.

So what are you going to do when the metal benders come after your customers?  Are you just going to hand over the relationship and the data so that you can become the labor bureau and the truck depot for their profit machine?  Or are you going to seek more data and more technology so that you can become the trusted advisor to the customer?  The advisor that informs them of the failure modes of each type of equipment and teaches them how to negotiate with the manufacturers at arm’s length to get the best equipment deal?  The advisor that implements the best customer service technology and sells the best program for hassle-free and risk-free maintenance and repairs?

The great news about the metal benders is that they are still metal benders, and they would struggle to spell customer service if you gave it to them in an anagram.  It will take some time for software applications and technology to overcome their metal bender cultural habits.  The bad news is that they have LOTS of capital, and while they are “figuring it out,” it may still cost you lots of pain and profits if you don’t have a better program.  

customer service

Here are my tips for preparing to win the battle for customer loyalty:

  1. Focus on technology for customer service and sales, NOT OPTIMIZATION OF YOUR ACCOUNTING FUNCTION!  Your perfect back office process is perfectly irrelevant to a customer looking to eliminate risk and hassles.  Stop looking to the accounting application providers to solve your customer service and sales challenges.
  1. Systematically collect customer connections.  Every interaction with a customer should result in an email address and a mobile phone number.  These can be used to connect the customer with the information you generate to demonstrate your value.
  1. Innovate in programs for service management.  These innovations can be data collection and mining for predictive service, warranties you sell to those that enter your premium maintenance tier, system monitoring services, fixed price payment plans, or whatever application of technology and business process to limit risk and hassle for both you and the equipment owner.
  1. Diversify your expertise across as many manufacturers and brands as you can credibly support.  You want to be in the position of the trusted advisor to the customer, and knowledge is power in this position.  You also want to have credible data and experiences to back up your representations to the customer.
  1. Stop concerning yourself with parts margin and instead focus on total margin per applied labor hour.  Parts are not going to be in short supply, but skilled labor will be precious.  Lower your inventory carrying costs by setting up fast response partnerships and technology connections to the best parts suppliers.  Focus on speed and proactive service with the customer, not parts margin.
  1. Begin experimenting with non-proprietary, independent monitoring and controls solutions that you can apply across equipment brands.  Use these to build data that leads to credible recommendations and solutions for the customer.

This cultural shift to an information-based service approach with lots of online connections to your customers and their equipment will place you in a position to be the valuable brand that the customer trusts with their important equipment purchases and maintenance programs.  The manufacturers are guaranteed to show up with proprietary solutions because of their metal bender culture.  If you are prepared, you can laugh all the way to the bank as they throw money at a problem that you have already solved.

Also read:

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Beat your low price competitor, Chuck.

You know “one-truck Chuck,” or “white-van Stan” as I’ve heard him called before. He’s the one undercutting you and stealing your customers. It’s because he’s well rounded, and by that I mean he’s cut all the corners clean off. He has no overhead and he only wants to make a little more than his old hourly wage as an employed technician. But Chuck isn’t alone, is he? There’s Stan, Bill, Charlie, and the other new low-price competitors setting up shop every day.

Low price competition for service contractors

You lose deals to Chuck and Stan every day. Prospects tell you “I’ve got a guy” and customers tell you that someone offered them a price they can’t refuse. So, what are you going to do? I suggest you take advice from a Chinese guy that died over two thousand years ago:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
     – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

OK, I know it’s passe to whip out quotes from The Art of War when you’re talking about business strategy, but bear with me on this one.

Know your Enemy

Chuck and Stan are really easy to understand. Like any of your competitors, they have strengths and weaknesses that you can exploit. Obviously, their biggest competitive advantage is price for the reasons mentioned above, but they also have personal relationships on their side. Their customers have their cell number and can give Stan a call anytime they want.

If you’re trying to grow a high-margin, premium brand, you’ll never compete with these fellas on low labor rate or personal relationships, and you don’t want to. Neither are scalable. And, if you want to beat Chuck, you should tell your customer that your goal is to expend as little skilled labor and customer-facing admin as possible. Tell them that skilled labor is costly for you and difficult to hire. Tell them that modern customer service doesn’t happen over the phone.

Instead, offer customers a technology-enabled plan for predictable outcomes at a predictable price. The goal is to reduce their risk and aggravation by implementing a proactive plan that uses data about their facility and equipment to intelligently target low-cost preventative work that curbs expensive repairs. By planning work as opposed to reacting to it, overall expenses will go down because less on-demand skilled labor is used and fewer parts are required. Throughout the service cycle, information will be pushed to your customers online to reinforce the value you provide and to build trust through visibility and transparency.

Chuck can’t offer that. Chuck shows up when the phone rings if he’s not too busy with another customer. Chuck fixes broken equipment that could have been repaired for much less if the issue was caught earlier. Meanwhile, the customer is aggravated because they have downtime, lost revenue, and unhappy employees or customers of their own. Chuck costs more when you calculate for these risks.

You can explain these risks until you’re blue in the face, but a large portion of prospects and customers will still choose Chuck and Stan over you. That’s OK. Those aren’t the customers that you want so don’t waste your time. Simply leave them with an accurate prediction of their future. Explain the many ways that Chuck will let them down, and when he does, they’ll remember you.

 

Know yourself (and what makes you better)

Let’s do a quick test. Which of the following are part of your company’s value proposition?

  • We work hard
  • We care
  • We have integrity
  • We are honest
  • We are dedicated

If any of these are in your brand’s value proposition, you have a problem. There’s a lot wrong with this list, but most of all, they aren’t competitive or differentiating. It only took 10 minutes of Googling service contractor websites to find the same values listed on multiple websites. Honestly, all of these values are table stakes for the industry and should be implicitly expected. So what makes you different? Do any of these values sound familiar?

  • We’re more experienced
  • We’re bigger
  • We do more

Each of these actually provides tangible value to the customer. More experience means that you are likely to solve problems faster and at a lower cost than your competitors. More coverage area and diversity of service offerings mean that your customers won’t have to manage as many vendors. These are a step in the right direction. How about these values?

  • We’re transparent
  • We’re accountable
  • We’re data-driven
  • We’re modern

These are rarely seen value propositions in our industry because they are difficult to offer without  technology that enables mobility and modern online customer engagement. The vast majority of service contractors are still running on paper, server-based software, or accounting systems that don’t offer functionality for technicians or customers. That means that customer data is limited, inaccessible, and unusable. In other words, the opposite of transparent, accountable, data-driven, and modern. The companies that can offer these values will win the most desirable, high-margin customers.

Beating Chuck and Stan really isn’t that hard. It comes down to a couple easy steps. First, differentiate the value that you offer and understand, without a doubt, that your higher rates are warranted because you will reduce the customer’s risk and aggravation by providing predictable outcomes at a predictable price. Second, if the customer still isn’t convinced, let them go. Predict their future and they’ll come back.

webinar-icon-goldWant to learn more? Watch the recording of our December 7th webinar, “Don’t Sell on Price, Offer a Premium Program” presented by ServiceTrade’s CEO and author of The Digital Wrap, Billy Marshall. Click here to watch the recording.

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What’s your company worth?

In The Digital Wrap Book, Chapter 14 was titled the Digital Wrap Formula for Maximizing the Value of Your Business.  The chapter covered the technical, financial calculus that can be used to determine the amount a financial buyer might pay for a service contracting business (read the related blog post).  It also offered a good deal of advice regarding how an owner might maximize that value by lowering sales costs for new customers, demonstrating consistent revenue growth, expanding margins, and retaining customers.  While all of the math and advice in the chapter is accurate, I have come up with a simplified slogan for focusing company value building efforts.  How Many, How Much, How Long.

how-many-howmuch-howlong

How Many refers to the number of customers your company has.  A customer is not a location where you do work, but instead it is an entity that pays an invoice.  How many unique invoice payers does your business have?  How easy is it to add new ones?  If the answer to these questions is “a few” (whether big or small) or “difficult,” then the value of your business is marginal.  Having only a few customers, even big ones, is risky.  More is better.  Having an undefined sales process is also risky.  If you do not know how to add new customers systematically, growth is a crap shoot.  If you have a lot of customers and you can demonstrate how you reliably add more every year, your business will command a premium from a potential buyer.

How Much refers to the amount you can reasonably expect to be paid every year by each of your customers.  If you can do more for them and if they pay you a premium relative to the market because you provide a unique experience, better outcomes, or great customer service, your business will command a premium from a buyer.  If there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how much each customer pays annually, a buyer is going to demand a risk premium from you and the value of your business will be marginal.

How Long refers to the number of years the typical customer stays with your company.  Churn in the customer base is a bad thing, and your business value will be marginal if you have a lot of churn.  Do you know how long the typical customer stays with you?  Do you measure churn every quarter to see how well your customer service activities are being received?  Ideally, your business has less than ten-percent gross churn (the number of clients that you serviced last year during the current quarter compared to the number serviced this year) and zero or negative net churn (the amount of revenue achieved from customers that you serviced last year in the current quarter that also received service this year).  If your net churn is zero or negative, it means that you are becoming more valuable to your customers as a whole each year even as you lose some of them.  It means you are raising prices and expanding your portfolio of services consumed by your customers.

How is your business doing on the How Many, How Much, How Long scale?  Are you tracking these metrics every quarter?  Are you putting programs in place that make it easier to sell your services, allow you to charge a premium, and make it hard for the customer to let you go?  If not, why not?  These programs will make your business more valuable when the time comes to move it along to the next owner and spend more time on the boat.

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Domino’s Dominance – There’s an App for That

The Digital Wrap Conference was just a week ago, but we already have an update to one of the stories we shared: Domino’s is dominating even more than we reported at the conference. But first, let me set the stage for anyone who wasn’t there.

shawn-mips

Domino’s and their MIPS

At the Digital Wrap Conference, Shawn Mims discussed the ways that service companies can maximize their MIPS – Marketing Impressions Per Service. It’s a way of using technology to get low-cost, low-effort, high-impact marketing impressions with your customers and prospects just by providing your services.

The example that Shawn used came from a very unexpected source: Domino’s. Yeah, the pizza company. The one responsible for that crazy Avoid the Noid advertising campaign in the 80s. Well, they put all that annoying Noid business behind them and created a mobile application in 2009. It would take a while to see the results, but that app changed the national pizza chain game.

Domino’s Mobile Customer Experience

Domino’s mobile app makes it easy to place an order, make your payment, save your preferences and payment options. But the best part is the pizza tracker. Live updates in the app and through notifications keep you updated as your pizza is made and delivered. Domino’s earns a marketing impression at each step of the process:

  • Pizza is being made
  • Baking
  • Quality control
  • Boxed
  • Out for Delivery
  • Delivery Confirmation

dominoes pizza tracker is a great example of Marketing Impressions per Service

Each of those impressions, whether shown on the pizza tracker or in text or app notifications are helpful to the customer by taking away the risk and aggravation of ordering a pizza then waiting around with the hope that maybe it will eventually show up.

While Domino’s was investing in an online self-serve, transparent customer experience, Papa John’s invested heavily in advertising and sponsorships. Which national pizza chain do you perceive as being more successful, Domino’s or Papa John’s? Here are their two stock trajectories that make it pretty clear that Domino’s is leading. Does this surprise you like it does me?

 

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-25-48-am

Domino’s Keeps Moving Upward

Domino’s announced their Q3 earnings right after the Digital Wrap Conference. The company reported:

  • 55% of their orders are digital – placed from smartphones, tablets, watches. The restaurant industry average is 20%.
  • Domino’s stock has gained 54% in the past year when the overall restaurant industry is in decline to the tune of about 15% over the same period.
  • Sales in Q3 2016 were 13% higher than Q3 of last year.

So does all of this now make Domino’s a technology company who provides pizza, or a pizza company with an awesome app? Some Wall Street analysts have started to assign Domino’s tech-like stock-price targets based on the rapid growth of its digital sales.

Domino’s Brand Value

Last week, Shawn showed this slide in his presentation

dominos-papa-john-valuation

Since then, Domino’s market cap has blown up to $9.48B. The multiple now sits at 4.1x revenue.

But you don’t sell pizza.

For those of you who didn’t hear the whole story at the Digital Wrap Conference, it may be hard to find how this is relevant to you. Two things.

webinar-icon-goldFirst, come to a free webinar on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at 1pm ET to hear Shawn Mims deliver the presentation. He’ll guide you through the 8 MIPS that you can get from every service appointment that are part of a great experience for your customers.

Sign up for the November 9 webinar here.

Second, Domino’s example shows us all how the value reducing the risk and aggravation for customers – even (and especially!) customers who are owners or managers of commercial or industrial facilities – creates more value for your brand.

Give the Domino’s app a try. Count the MIPS as you go through the process. Count the offers they send you afterward, and think about how each impression shapes your perception of the Domino’s brand. After you do, it’s not so hard to think of the ways that you can earn the same good will with your own service-related marketing impressions.

Read Shawn’s original blog post about the pizza tracker.

Allow Only the Best Drivers on Your Customer Service Bus

I keep finding ways to use the phrase “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This week, it’s pointed at those of us at ServiceTrade. See, we’re a technology company, so we love using technology to help service companies meet the online customer engagement bar that Amazon has raised.

happy-employees-happy-customers

We don’t cover as often as we should the human side of customer service. We both know that it takes the right employees in the right role to use those customer service tools. If you put an employee who does not embody your brand in charge of the best-engineered customer service platform in the world, you’re still likely to give crummy customer service.

Zoho has written a blog post about some of those softer-side elements of customer service that uses examples from companies that ServiceTrade references often:  Chick-fil-A, Nordstrom, Southwest, and Amazon.

So it’s truly my pleasure (shout to Chick-fil-A) to share this blog post from Zoho that is a good reminder for all of our technology and process geeks that good customer service is always multi-faceted and that we have to manage each part.

Read: 10 steps for making a huge impact on your customer service by CRM company Zoho

 

My favorite tip is #3: Give your employees the freedom to soar. It says that we should encourage employees to make connections by being genuine and not stifling their personality. You’ve hired people that you want to be around every day, let them show your customers that they’re also the type of people that they want to be in business with.