By Heidi J. Ellsworth.
Consumers are demanding a customer experience that uses technology. How your company embraces technology will make a big difference in your marketing opportunities for the future. Amazon, iTunes and Google services are used by consumers everyday no matter which industry you are working in. So why would roofing customers not look for technological solutions when they are looking for roofing services?
It is becoming more apparent, that the selling model is changing. The days of demanding that the husband and wife both be present for a sales call is changing. In fact, in the very near future some of the sales calls may only be online. Consumers are finding your company in all different ways and demanding a different customer experience that uses technology. Through referrals, social media and the Google searches, they are taking the time to educate themselves on roofing and the companies that provide roofing services. It is a changing dynamic.
So, how do you adapt to this ever-changing reality? I say, common sense. If anything, the explosion of the use of technology is pushing the need for common sense more than ever. But the basis of common sense is understanding your audience. Take the time to understand how they are looking for roofing services and what their expectations entail. It cannot be all technology, we know the importance of relationships but we also cannot live in the unrealistic world of “how it used to be.” Sales and marketing needs to promote your entire business and needs to highlight how the company is delivering amazing service. Technology must be a big part of the service process. If the culture of your company and the business processes are not current with recent technology, customers will know.
Now is the time to evaluate how your company is incorporating technology and whether it is making for a better customer and employee experience. Both groups need to be happy and we all realize that it will not be easy. Taking the time to educate both customers and employees is crucial when it comes to adapting technology or when making significant changes. As you review the following buyer behaviors, understand that by embracing technology for the ease of your customers and betterment of the employee experience, you are doing some of the best marketing you can for an improved customer experience for your business.
- Consumers are doing their research
The day and age of consumers being clueless about roofing is for the most part over. Don’t get me wrong, there are many consumers who do not research before buying and hope for the best. But as information continues to not only be obtainable but promoted, consumers are becoming more educated. In fact, it is your manufacturers who are reaching out to the end user, whether it be residential or commercial, and working on not just advertising to them but educating them on what they deem as the best roofing solution. You need to be ready for the educated consumer and have your sales team and production team prepared to work with them.
- They are researching your company
This statement may seem antiquated, but if you do not have a website, you need one. Consumers are looking for information on your company and it will start with your website. But, it will not stop there. They will check social media, reviews and industry information. This is where being a part of an association can make a large difference. Showing how your company is involved and validated by the industry is very important. Make sure your online reputation and resources are up to date and spotless.
- They are self-qualifying
In the past we have talked about qualifying customers. Today, they are self-qualifying. They are educated enough to look at your website and online resources and understand if you are a good fit. This is why it is so important to know your customers and understand the audience you want to attract to your business model. Then, make sure you are sharing the information that will convince the end-user that your company is a good fit. The traditional way of obtaining 3 bids is dying on the vine due to time. Consumers want to spend their time online qualifying the right contractor. It might come down to two but very easily it can come down to that one company that really told the story online. If the customer experience continues to be great, they will most likely not shop around and pay potentially higher prices for quality work.
- They want to be educated not sold
Time is what it is all about and if the sales process pressures the consumer, they are as likely to back away. They want to be educated so they feel they are making a good decision. There is also a strong impression within the younger generations that a processed sales procedure is not good. They see it coming and they rebel against the process. They want to feel respected which means your sales team taking the time to provide strong, honest information about the roofing process. As much of that information that can be online ahead of the sale, the better to close the sale.
- Referrals are golden but reviews are the last word
Reports show that an overwhelming number of people are influenced by online reviews. That is why the customer experience from the first touch, all the way to the final inspection is so important. You need that customer to not only write a complimentary review but to be an active advocate or brand ambassador of your company. They will spread the word about how you are the roofing company to use. That will not happen if the roofing experience is bad during any part of the experience. Make sure all of your employees understand how important it is to deliver the highest level of customer service, no matter what their position in the company.
We have been seeing the growth of marketing technology in the roofing industry for the past couple of years but get ready for an explosion in 2018. We are now looking at exponential growth as consumers start to demand the use of technology and like-minded sales processes in the buying process. As you work on your 2018 marketing plan, be sure to include technology and how you are going to use it as a marketing tool.
Note: This article first appeared on RoofersCoffeeShop.com and can be viewed here.