Save Time: Reviewing Performance Metrics

Save Time: Reviewing Performance Metrics

In our last post about optimising processes to save time, we are looking at how you can save time reviewing the performance of your business. The success of top businesses like Amazon there is a relentless focus on data. Why? You can’t make accurate business decisions based on what you feel is going on! We’re emotive and we have natural biases. Without realising we will make decisions based on our own preferences. Data can often show different realities to what we believe to be the case or help us to see things from a different perspective. Let’s take a look at the metrics we can measure and how we can collate this information.

Data that is useful to collect

There are many data points you can collect. A few of these are:

  • Total quotes submitted
  • Total instructions
  • Conversion rate
  • Total revenue
  • Average fee
  • Total cancellations
  • Ratings
  • Turnaround times throughout the survey process

How to review the data

These data points are useful to provide you an overview of how you are performing as a business. However, these metrics are still too high-level for decision making. To improve your business performance and make accurate decisions you need to start diving deeper.

To do this you need to filter your metrics by different factors such as the lead source and survey type.

Why? Some lead sources may not convert well for one survey type but be your best performing for another. The lower converting lead sources may also provide higher fees. To decide which is your most effective lead source you need to understand your profit per instruction (average revenue per instruction type from that lead source minus the average costs for that survey type instruction and lead source).

You are looking for quality leads rather than just quantity.

You can also review how well you are performing on time. If you say you will provide reports within 3 days of an inspection, is the customer receiving the report within that time or is it taking longer? This can help you review if you need to adjust your workflows or advise customers of longer timeframes to keep expectations in line. The right expectations and outcomes lead to better reviews. If you are taking days to book in an instruction, is this a point where you are losing customers who get frustrated of waiting to hear back?

You can also look at how long you take to complete an instruction (from processing a booking, to travelling to and carrying out an inspection, writing it up and providing your phone call). What does your hourly rate look like when you factor in all these details? Do your fees make sense or should you be adjusting your fees up or down to ensure you’re earning a fair fee and providing value.

 

How to collect data

You can collect and review this data manually or automate data collection. To manually collect this data you will need to use a spreadsheet and enter in all your quotes, where they came from as well as update which customers instructed,  what fee was paid, etc. You will then need to create filters to allow you to review your data efficiently each time you want to run reports.

Option two is to automate the process by using a CRM system. As the data is collected automatically at each stage of the survey process. You just need to review metrics on reporting pages and start playing with the filters.

The latter option is more time efficient and can allow you to review your data at any given point without the need to spend time updating your spreadsheets and checking the data has been entered correctly.

Summary

If you start collecting data today you can start reviewing how you are performing in a months time. Which services are the most profitable to your business, which are the most time effective and which lead sources provide the best conversion rates for each service.

Remember to dive deep into each metric. One lead source may not be the best overall at converting but may be best at converting for a particular service. Another lead source may produce fewer leads but achieve you higher average fees. One service may offer higher turnover, but actually not be very profitable when you consider how much time you put in.

Your time is best spent reviewing data, understanding it and making decisions not on collating it. Review how you can start collecting and filtering data today so you can start making truly informed decisions. Survey Booker provide you reports at the click of a button so you can see how your business is performing. Speak to the team today to learn more.


Save Time: Collecting Reviews and Following Up

Save Time: Collecting Reviews and Following Up

The process shouldn’t end when your report is emailed out to your customer. As you will know, it is important that your customer feels that they can get in touch to discuss your findings and what advice you have for their next steps. And once your customer has had all their questions answered and they are satisfied with what they need to do next it is important to collect your customers feedback. Feedback helps you to encourage sales and understand if your process is really satisfying your customers.

The benefits of collecting feedback

We live in a world of reviews. They are particularly important where it is difficult to get a recommendation from friends and family. After all, surveying services are something that many people only use every few years. Even where we can get recommendations from those we know, we’ll often still check reviews online to see if the service is still as good as they experienced.

Why? We’re all risk averse. We want to minimise the risk of having a bad experience. Interestingly, people spend longer researching reviews of their next fridge than they do on a property viewing.

Having regular 5* reviews being left for you shows potential customers you are doing a great job and will likely satisfy them too. How does this help?

  • Encourage more sales – potential customers have the confidence to instruct you
  • Charge higher fees – customers want value. Most customers will pay more to guarantee a good service than risk paying less and potentially facing problems.

 

What happens if someone leaves me a bad review? One bad review won’t hurt. Customers understand that not everyone will be happy with the result. If the vast majority of reviews are great, customers will ignore the occasional bad one. But if you are consistently getting poor or average reviews it can help to identify where things aren’t meeting customer expectations. These early warning signs enable you to make the relevant changes to get things back on track so your business continues to perform in the long-run.

Collecting feedback with ease

There is the choice of collecting reviews manually to display on your website or platforms such as Trustpilot, Google reviews and Feefo. Whichever you choose, it is important to consider if you will use that platform for the long-term. Moving to another platform means starting review collections again.

However, collecting feedback is easy to forget when you are busy. Survey Booker also helps you collect reviews either through it’s internal system or by linking to an existing platform that you use.

We provide an automated follow up a week after your report has been submitted enabling you to touch base with every single customer after they’ve read through their survey or spoken to you. If they still have any niggling issues you can make sure you resolve them and take the opportunity to request feedback from them either using our internal review system (or an external one).

You can also link external review sites to Survey Booker using Zapier so you can request feedback at any point in the process (from quote through to report to see how your customers are feeling at different stages in the process).

Summary

Collecting reviews can help you:

  • Improve your processes
  • Grow sales
  • Improve fees by proving your value

Ensuring you ask every customer for a review is important. Potential customers place more weight on newer reviews than older ones as it reflects how you’re performing right now. Older reviews help to show you provide a great service consistently.

 

Ask the team today about how we can help you with your reviews and more with all your services.


Save Time: Managing Teams Remotely

Save Time: Managing Teams Remotely

Managing instructions and assigning those across teams can be time consuming. Adding inspection dates to diaries, sharing access data and ensuring everyone has full understanding of customer service notes is key to ensuring that bookings run smoothly and reports answer the right questions.

There are ways to improve the efficiency of assigning surveys and ensuring notes and information are transparent across your team.

Assign tasks efficiently

Assigning tasks and sharing data should take seconds. Traditional methods can require the manual population of spreadsheets, emails, worksheets and more to ensure the relevant team members have all the information they need. However, there are two issues with this. Firstly, manual processes inevitably lead to errors – we’re all human! The other reality is that when new information comes in people have to be manually updated again. Tracking manual updates can also be tricky, particularly when workloads are high.

Online (just to add some jargon – cloud based) solutions can allow team members to be assigned to tasks in seconds and provide visibility across a team. This means team members working on a survey are able to view all available information related to a survey without having to try and call or email other team members.

Notes can be left by anyone at anytime after customer contact or site visits providing clear audit trails.

This makes it very easy for admin teams working remotely, or part time team members, to manage sales processes, booking and customer service from anywhere, instantly. For surveyors out on site, they can easily check customer requirements whilst at a property to double check they don’t miss any key advice the customer is looking for.

Removing time wasted on admin means more time to speak to customers or write up reports. Reduced errors and reports that answer a customers initial concerns ensures top reviews which in turn helps achieve higher sales.

Integrating processes

Using online systems, it is possible to automatically update information in other software. This ensures all systems reflect the right information so there are no errors or confusion.

For example, connecting a CRM system with calendars means that inspection dates can be automatically added to the right day and with the right details (property address, access details and more). Other processes like invoicing can be connected so that invoices are created with the right customer details, service information and values. This means accurate accounting and invoice submission in less time.

This time can be invested into double checking information, communicating between teams or speaking with customers.

Summary

Managing teams can be made more efficient and more effective with the right systems in place.

Scaling workloads is also only possible with the right foundations. Manual processes are resource intensive and limit the capacity of you or your team. This can lead to slower customer service responses, errors and miscommunication or delayed communication between teams.

To handle increasing workloads and provide efficient and effective outcomes for your customers and team members it is important to put systems in place. These investments don’t just benefit your customers but your team too. Investment into software can help increase employee engagement as they feel better placed to collaborate, to handle their workloads and manage customer enquiries.


Save Time: Managing and Updating Leads

Save Time: Managing and Updating Customers

Managing and updating leads is an important part of both the sales and survey journey. Following up with leads can help to increase sales and keeping your customers updated on the progress of their survey helps keep their mind at ease. A smooth customer journey helps to generate those 5 star reviews. In order to properly manage your leads and customers you need to have a system in place. Spreadsheets are fine whilst the number of tasks to track are low. But very quickly it becomes difficult to track information and to keep it accurate and up to date. If not careful you can end up with the same issues faced with Covid tracking – large amounts of data lost or not updated on time.

Manual customer management

Human error causes a number of problems. As hard as we may try, mistakes get made and tasks get missed. Working in spreadsheets requires a lot of copying and pasting or typing the customer details into trackers yourself. This in itself can result in errors.

The next issue is being able to clearly see when various tasks are required. Spreadsheets do not provide a provision to set reminders for different tasks. Glancing over each column, it is easy to miss a task that needs to be done today.

Several tasks that will need doing just require a basic update. For example, confirming an inspection date or that you visited the property. Using a specialised CRM you can automate certain tasks to provide customers relevant updates at the click of a button. A customer isn’t interested in how the information is sent to them, but in the information itself.

Upgrading your spreadsheet tracker:

There are a number of benefits to upgrading your spreadsheet tracker to a CRM. From a customer service perspective, each customer is more likely to get a consistently good service. Prompts can be sent to remind you to update customers for certain tasks so they don’t get missed (reminders that a spreadsheet can’t send you). This ensures that every customer gets their updates on time and are not missed as your scroll through your columns.

Many tasks throughout the survey process can be automated to help you carry them out more efficiently giving you time back to actually speak to customers. You add most value when you are speaking directly to customers or surveying. You don’t add value by processing payments, terms or writing basic update emails.

CRMs can provide you an overview for each customer – their search history, previous jobs, notes related to previous conversations, links to terms documents and more. You can also view this information wherever you are on any device. No need to check that your latest excel document is up to date and not yet to be saved on someone’s desktop in the office. This makes it easier to work across teams and remotely with all your data to hand.

Summary

Spreadsheets are useful for managing small scale amounts of data. But as you scale up your work load they become much harder to keep accurate, up-to-date and on top of. Spreadsheets offer fewer benefits than a CRM from automating basic processes, setting reminders and having a clear overview of customer service notes.

They also lack the ability to share specific data between team members or somewhere for customers to login to track their quote and service history.

CRMs provide a much better solution for the long-term, for accuracy, for customer service and for audits.


Save Time: Quick and accurate terms of engagement

Save Time: Terms of engagement

Terms are important. Your customer needs to be clear about what you are going to provide as part of your service (and what you are not). Setting the right expectations at the start leads to better outcomes when the report is provided. 

But submitting personalised terms for every survey takes time.

Time to copy and paste the data into every field.

Time to check it is right.

Time to follow up.

Going electronic – how it works

Terms documents can be set up with tags that enable your terms documents to be prefilled with survey. This could mean prefilling names, addresses, quote values, dates and more in the click of a button.

It can also allow you to create areas for you or your customer to add specific notes relevant to the job being carried out so that your terms are fully personalised and sent within a couple of clicks.

There are two benefits to doing this:

85% average increase in productivity – you aren’t spending time manually filling in documents

80% average error reduction – the data is entered exactly as it is saved in the system. No errors added when manually entering data

Other benefits:

Terms are quick to submit (even when you are out on site from your phone) reducing delays in the booking process.

They are easy for the customer to sign as well – no need to print, sign and photo (and no emails lost in spam folders due to attachments).

Being easy they are also faster – you can send them easily, your customer can sign them quickly. The easier a task is to do, the less it gets put off by a client. This reduces delays and the need to chase customers for signed terms.

An easier booking process leads to an increased conversion rate on sales by removing obstacles that can put some customers off.

Summary

E-terms can make life easier for you and your customer helping to reduce the time needed to send and sign documents as well as reducing errors in any documents sent. An easier process means a smoother customer experience and ultimately helps to increase sales conversions (by removing obstacles in the booking process). A great customer journey leads to better reviews encouraging more customers to go ahead.

Understanding how simple your customer journey is at every touch point helps to make your customers’ (and therefore your own life) easier. Every small aspect of the journey that requires a bit more effort from your customer results in a small frustration at each stage that doesn’t need to be there.


Save Time: Processing Payments

Save Time: Processing Payments – Online v BACS

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing payment options. But it is important to consider the wider impact of both options and not just how they directly affect you. BACS payments are free but are slower to process (for you and your customer). Online payments are easier for most customers to process and can help increase sales by removing what they see as an obstacle. For some customers though BACS may be preferable. Until you offer both you won’t know what your customers generally prefer. 

The Pros and Cons of BACS

BACS payments are free for you to receive and these days usually appear within your account within 2 hours of the transfer (this can take longer to show in Business Accounts out of working hours).

Where the payment process is slowed down is having to manually send customers your bank details and having to check if payment has been received or chase-up. Invoices must also be manually created to send to clients. Your time (or your teams time) spent on this admin has a value.

There is also the risk of lost business. Some customers find BACS payment frustrating. Sat in front of the TV on a mobile banking app and having to switch between the email app and the banking app to check they are entering the details correctly can be a pain. With the added risk that if they get one digit wrong and they’ve lost their money to someone else. Anything that feels like an obstacle to a customer can reduce sales conversions. If another surveyor comes along with a path that feels easier to follow they may well use them.

Of course, some customers may prefer BACS so it can be beneficial to offer both options.

The Pros and Cons of Online Payments

Online payments can encourage customers to pay much faster. Many consumers now have card details saved on their phone. They click through to the payment page, click to add saved card details and the payment is made. You’ll also be alerted to having received a new payment. Most (not all) online payment merchants can feed payment information straight into your accounting software to create invoices automatically.

But with online payments there is a higher cost – between 0.75% and 2.9% per transaction depending on who you use. Whilst the cash lands in your online payment merchant account straight away, it can take a few days to be paid out to your bank account.

Here you need to decide the opportunity cost of your time and how much card fees will equate to depending on the price of your survey.

Summary

There is no right or wrong answer but it is important to consider the opportunity cost of your time as well as the potential to lose sales where customers get distracted from making payments.

Regardless of your choice, Survey Booker can automate the payment request (along with terms), provide details of how to pay you and feed sales information into most accounting software via our Zapier API to automatically create an invoice for each payment received.

This helps make BACS payments almost as simple for you to process as online payments. You just need to check a payment was received to prevent delays in providing customers updates.


Save Time: Providing Quotes and Respond Faster to Enquiries

Save Time: Providing Quotes and Respond Faster to Enquiries

We’ve said it a lot but we’ll say it again… speed of response is pretty much the most important factor in converting a lead. There are numerous studies to back this up. In our own study nearly 10% of surveyors responded to leads within 5 minutes with around 46% responding within an hour. Any longer and you might as well not waste your time getting in touch. 

How to save time responding to leads

Have a template response for each survey type

Writing a bespoke response to every single Home Survey enquiry doesn’t make sense. Not only does it require time to type out a new email every single time you respond to an enquiry, but you risk missing out certain key points each time. You then have to proof read the email before sending it off. 

The only information that needs to change each time is the actual quote you are providing depending on the property, customer requirements, survey level etc. 

A template ensures you provide all the key points every time you respond whilst saving time on typing and proofreading by only having to update the quote amount and property address. 

 

Test different email templates for responses

The other benefit of sending a fixed template is you can measure its success rate – the number of conversions (alongside any phone calls) that you make. 

You can then make adjustments over time and measure their success. For example, you could change the order of the content, make certain points bold or bigger or add in other content. You can test each change for a period and see what impact that has on your conversion rates until you reach an optimum template. 

If you write a different response each time you have no way to measure the success of your email response on conversion rates. That email response factors into your conversion rate in the sales process and often will be your first interaction with your potential customer. 

Improve your conversion rate and you have to respond to fewer leads to achieve the desired number of instructions you can handle. 

Manually submitting quotes where they could be automated

Many surveyors have a fee scale they work to in order to help gauge the fee level they feel is fair for the value they offer. But it also helps to more quickly establish the right ballpark for the quote to be provided. 

If you have a fee scale, can you submit your quote or estimate automatically? Survey Booker can help you capture the customers enquiry details and provide an instant quote or estimate for the customer to review along with your welcome email template outlining all the key information the customer needs to know about your service. Alternatively, you can collect their details, provide instant details about your service and submit your bespoke quote after you have reviewed the details. 

 

There are two benefits here:

  1. Save time – by automating the provision of your quote/estimate and your welcome email you can focus on other tasks such as calling customers to discuss your services or carrying out surveys
  2. Improved response times – if you’re busy, out on site or having down time (not all enquiries are during office hours), you can be providing an immediate response to customers, buying you time to follow up with them later when you are available.

Automation doesn’t mean being impersonal. The content sent to customers can still be personalised and the time saved can be used to follow up with the customer when you are free to have that all important pre-instruction conversation. 

By adding in the best times to contact you in your email template you can also make it easier for customers to contact you for further information saving the frustrations of phone call tennis. 


Grow Sales: Remove Obstacles and Delays in the process

Grow Sales: Remove Obstacles and Delays in the process

What is one of the biggest reasons for losing leads or failing to clinch a sale? 

Obstacles and delays

Every time your customer has to work a bit harder to progress through the sales funnel, you increase the chance that they walk away. Have you considered how easy your customer journey is from enquiry through to instruction at every time of day?

Initial enquiry

Let’s say I get to your website in the day. I call you, your lines are busy. Or I get to your website out of office hours. How easy is it for me to make my initial enquiry and how long do I have to wait to hear back?

Making it easy to enquire is an important factor in increasing the number of initial enquiries that you receive. Different customers have different preferences on contacting a company. Do you offer:

  • Email
  • Contact form
  • Phone number
  • Live chat
  • Instant quote

Each customer has a different preference over how they prefer to make contact. The more options you can provide, the more people you will encourage to make that enquiry. 

Instructing you

How easy is it for your customer to sign terms? Do they have to download a pdf, print it, sign and scan back in. Or can they sign electronically? The more difficult this is, the more it gets put off and the greater amount of time a competitor has to discuss their service and how easy it is to go ahead. Remember the customer isn’t yours until the terms and signed and payment is made so don’t add unnecessary delays. 

This is the same for payment – do customers have to make a BACS payment? Yes it is slightly cheaper to process and, of course, some customers prefer this method. But it offers less safety and peace of mind to your consumer and is much harder to complete via a phone. Switching between an email with bank details and the mobile banking app can be frustrating. Then comes the security check on the card reader. 

Or customers can go to an online payment link, enter saved card details in a click and payment is done. 

When you go to a supermarket, you expect to pay by card. Not to have to go to a cash machine or make a bank transfer. Making it easier to pay (and instruct) removes obstacles and helps to speed up the booking process, reduces the need to chase and reduces the amount of time another surveyor has the opportunity to persuade a customer to book with them. 

The online card processing cost (fees range from 0.75% to 2.9%) can be offset by the time otherwise wasted checking a payment has come in and updating accounts. Online card payments provide an instant alert and payments can be fed along with customer data into accounting software automatically creating the invoice for you without lifting a finger. The question becomes how much do you value all of the time spent on checking payments, creating invoices and sending emails when you could be doing other things.  

View card payment costs as an investment in encouraging more bookings and not just as a cost that doesn’t exist with BACS. 

There are other factors in the full customer journey to consider that affect your final review. But considerations around how easy it is for a customer to enquire (and how quickly you then respond) and how easy it is for a customer to instruct (sign terms and make payment) will affect your overall conversion rate. 

Summary

Investing in some simple technology can make a big difference to your conversion rates and provide you more sales and better reviews. Focus on what reduces obstacles in your booking process and how that investment can save you time to focus on customer conversations and surveys.


Grow Sales: Following Up with Leads

Grow sales: Following up with leads

We love a statistic but this one makes you stop and think…

For every $92 spent on generating leads, only $1 is spent converting it (HostingFacts.com)

There are two ways you might generate leads. Firstly, paying to generate them. This could be Pay per Click adverts on Google, social media adverts or lead generation sites. Another lead source is referrals from partnerships with local businesses.

In the first method, the cost of generating leads is more clear. For each click there is a direct cost. Here you can see how much you are investing into generating work. In the latter, it is less tangible – the leads are passed to you and there is no cost for the introduction (perhaps there is a referral fee later on depending on your agreement). That relationship takes time to build. There is a cost associated with those leads of the time spent building and maintaining the relationship. But assuming you can’t put a value on it, we could associate the cost to buy that lead if the relationship didn’t exist.

 

What is your response process?

You’ve invested money into generating enquiries. How do you respond? Nearly 10% of surveyors in our recent study responded within 5 minutes and around 46% within an hour. 

Do you take the time to respond straight away? Or have you invested in an admin time or automated initial response to buy time? 

 

The process should look like this:

Part 1: You must respond in a timely manner or you are risking losing the lead straight away.

Part 2: Follow up. How many of your leads do you follow up with to encourage them to go ahead? 

 

Ignoring a lead after the first response risks losing out on opportunities. Not all customers are ready to go ahead straight away. Have you invested in nurturing your leads or are you guilty of generating leads and not investing in converting them?

In our recent study, fewer than 1% of surveyors follow up with a lead after the first contact. This both confirms the statistic at the start of this article and offers an opportunity for those surveyors who decide to make more of their enquiries.

 

Survey Booker has automated lead nurture built in following up with each lead 3 times after they search to help you stay in a customers mind until they are ready to commit. Speak to the team today to learn more about following up with your leads without lifting a finger.


Grow Sales: Using Reviews to Grow Your Sales

When you last bought an important product like a fridge or camera, how important were the reviews to you? Did you buy the product with lots of positive reviews or the one with none? We all want the social confirmation that something is safe to go ahead with. Help your customer trust you’ll provide value and give them that extra reason to go ahead. Positive reviews about your service can help you increase your sales. Here’s some stats to back that up:

  • 93% of people say online reviews impact their buying decisions (Podium)
  • 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Bright Local)
  • Displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270% (Spiegel)

 

Why? 

A customer will use a residential surveyor once every 21 years on average – that’s the typical length of time someone stays in their home before they move. As customers don’t deal regularly with surveyors (or others in the home buying process) and it’s likely been a long time since any friends or family have, it is left to reviews to give people an insight into who are the good companies in the area and what they can expect from you. 

 

Collecting reviews

This is something to think about properly before rushing straight to the first review site. There are many places you can collect reviews:

  • On your own website
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Review sites like Trustpilot, Feefo etc
  • Lead generation sites
  • Survey Booker

Each have their merits. You need to consider what your business plan is for the long term. Which service will most likely be with you throughout your whole time as a business? And can you easily display these on your site? 

 

Why does choosing where to collect reviews matter?

As your business evolves you want your hard-earned reviews to stay with you. Move on from a review site and you can still show those reviews. But they offer less value over time. Why?

A review must show not only the rating but also the date when it was left. Potential customers place more value on recent reviews. It shows you are doing a good job right now. Reviews over a month old could potentially hint you aren’t satisfying people as much as you used to. Of course, a large number of older reviews help back up newer ones and show you consistently please your customers. Sporadic reviews hint at a lack of work or a lack of happy customers you’ve asked to leave one.

 

Take time to request reviews

Follow up with your customer a few days or a week after they get their report. Is there anything they still need help understanding or are they happy with what they should do next?

Once you’ve done everything to make sure they are happy, take the opportunity to request a review and send them a direct link to where they should leave it straight away. 

 

Display reviews

Make sure you prominently display your reviews on your site and your social media. Showing those 5* reviews helps you to show your value when you provide your quote. Make it easy for customers to see you will make them happy and you are a safe bet to take. 

 

Summary

Consider the best review site for the long term.

Collect reviews regularly to show your recent customers have had a good experience.

Display reviews prominently on your site and in emails to clients.

We can help you follow up with customers after they’ve had their report asking them to leave a review.