The Residential Survey Customer Journey Part 5: Instructing You and Making Payment

You’ve been browsing away on Amazon, found the item you want to buy and then you go to pay. But despite being ready to quickly enter your card details and crack on with the next job on your list you are told to wait for an email to come through. A few hours later it arrives. Despite having your card out ready it tells you to make a BACS payment. You login to your banking app. Then refer back to the email with the bank details. Then enter them, find your card reader to authorise a new payee, double check you’ve entered all the details correct and press send. Then you eagerly wait to hear that your payment was received and you definitely did enter the right details. A slow anxious process. 

 

As the seller, you now have the job of checking the payment arrived, letting your customer know and slowly entering details into your accounting software. 

 

If you had to do that each time you shopped on Amazon you would buy less often, or not at all. The question is, what options do you offer customers to pay you? Can they click on a payment link as soon as they have your quote or do they have to wait for you to send them banking details and go through the whole rigmarole? Is your payment process integrated into other systems or standalone? 

What are the benefits of online payments? 

Allowing payments to be made online can help you receive payments faster and can actually help to increase sales. An IDC study shows that, on average, businesses using Stripe attribute a 6.7% increase in revenue to the Stripe platform.

 

Customers can buy with increased confidence. Sending money via bank transfer offers the customer no buyer protection. If they make a mistake with the bank details or even you didn’t provide a report, the customer has no come back. Card payments offer them a safety net – they can make a claim with their bank should they never hear from you again. You know you have a reputation and you wouldn’t run away. But this might be the first time the customer has ever heard of you as a small business. 

 

Speed – as soon as the customer has a payment link they can go ahead when they are ready. If they have to wait to receive it, the chances that your customer isn’t busy doing something when your payment link comes through is low. They read your email, plan to do it later and forget. You have to chase them up. Making the customer journey more seamless means having things ready the moment they are. 

 

Admin – setup correctly, payment and customer data can feed straight into your accounting software so you don’t have to spend time inputting data or rectifying input errors. 

Online Payments – Transaction Cost v Opportunity Cost

You may only want to offer BACS payments to your customers because there is a transaction cost when receiving online card payments. All your customers have paid you via BACS so far – they are happy. The reality is most aren’t in today’s world – they’ll put up with it if they have no choice but very few would prefer that choice over card payments. It’s more time consuming and offers less buyer protections as we mentioned earlier. 

 

Consider when your customer may have free time to make payment. For customers arranging the payment on a mobile phone mid-commute, a card payment is easy. Show your face to the camera and it enters your saved card details. Meanwhile jumping between the mobile banking app and your email is simply a pain. People also don’t want others seeing their bank balance as they login to pay you. So, they end up leaving it for later in the day. 

 

The reality is that card transactions just aren’t that expensive. They cost anywhere between 0.75% per transaction and 2.9% depending on who you use and if you have a monthly or pay as you go setup. The most commonly used pay as you go setup is Stripe and it integrates easily with almost any software or website. They charge 1.4% + 20p. On a £400 survey that’s just £5.60 to secure payment as soon as the customer has their quote as well as to save yourself the admin cost of chasing customers up for payment. It even saves you having to check you’ve been paid – you’ll get an alert from Stripe letting you know you’ve received a payment! 

 

Still not convinced? How busy are you in a normal working week. How long does it take to periodically login to your accounting software to add all your sales (or how much do you pay someone to do that)? This is a task you need not bother with. Most payment software links into most accounting software. All you have to do is confirm the transaction and your accounting is up-to-date with an invoice created. No manual data entry, it’s already there. 

 

As we’ve mentioned before with the sales funnel every hurdle you put in the customers’ way increases the chances that they won’t use your services. Each barrier you offer is a sign of the hassle in their customer journey to come. At this stage of the process the customer is not as emotionally tied to you as after the moment that payment is made. Any other surveyor who makes contact in the time they’re putting the payment process off is a great opportunity to swoop in, offer an easy experience and take them away. 

 

Is it worth losing out on a whole survey, to spend time chasing payments or waste time on accounting admin for the sake of £5.60? It’s a no brainer. Less time on admin also means more time on survey care or converting sales leads. Again, invest your time in chasing and checking payments. Or invest in automation so you can focus on tasks that win you more money.

Automating Online Payments

If you are able to submit quotes to your customers (automatically or manually) online, payment systems can be integrated to allow payment to be made automatically. This removes the need to manually set up invoices, enter customer details and submit them. It also removes the unnecessary step the customer must make to tell you they’d like to go ahead and wait for your payment information. Fewer hurdles to payment helps push more customers through the sales funnel. 

 

Survey Booker has been set up to allow you to provide quotes to customers, to integrate payments and feed this data into your accounting software. If you’d like to speak to the team about how we can help you remove admin from the sales and survey process, please feel free to speak to a member of the team. 


The Residential Survey Customer Journey Part 4: The Sales Call

As we mentioned in our last post about the quote enquiry, the most important factor about making your sales call is how soon you do it. The quicker you are to respond to the customer the more likely you’ll win the sale. 78% of customers buy from the first responder (Lead Connect). In the Lead Response Management Study companies who contacted leads within an hour were seven times more likely to qualify the lead, than the companies who decided to contact customers just an hour later and sixty times more likely than the companies who waited 24 hours or longer.

 

Why does time matter?

  1. The moment the customer enquiries they are in a buying mindset. They are looking to get questions answered. Wait too long and they will be dealing with other things and not in such an immediate buying mood.
  2. Let’s assume the enquiry came out of office hours. The longer you wait the next day, the more likely it is that the lead has already spoken with 1, 2 maybe 3 other surveyors. The first surveyor has the opportunity to offer as much new information about surveys as they want. The second surveyor will be mainly repeating what has already been said – the value they can add is lower. By the time your third on the list you’re going to have to work much harder to impress the client. Not only that they probably don’t want to hear more sales pitches now!

Going back to the sales funnel mentioned in our first post, this is a key stage where leads can leak from the funnel. A slow response ultimately provides a poor customer experience versus those that are responsive. It also sends a signal – if you are slow now when it comes to winning business, how slow will you be when you’ve already got the cash. Of course you are a professional, but these are the considerations that balance in a customer’s mind following bad experiences in other industries. 

To provide a good experience and to keep the sales funnel as full as possible this call needs to be as soon as possible. Maybe not in the first few seconds so you don’t come across too aggressive but certainly within the hour, if within office hours. 

Options to become more responsive:

  1. Respond regardless of where you are. Clearly this isn’t practical or you’d be doing that already. Responding like this will be distracting during an inspection (or driving) and looks unprofessional if there are people in the property. It can also affect your productivity – jumping from one task to another will slow you down.
  2. Hire someone who can deal with leads. This could be a permanent role if you have a large number of enquiries and are growing your business or someone who is paid on a success basis. You pay them a commission or fixed fee for every lead they covert.
  3. Form a collective – are there other local businesses you can work with to pool resources? If there is another surveying firm offering other survey types that work well with your service, a mortgage broking firm or conveyancers that like to refer to offer a better service, are there resources you can share that overall means you boost business for each other?
  4. Form a group with surveyors from other local areas and have someone that can support the sales process for all your enquiries that come in. You can split the cost of someone to deal with these leads between you whilst getting the benefit of having someone who can respond more quickly and allow you to get on with surveys. 
  5. Create automated questionnaires – are most of your enquiries around which survey is right for the customer? You can provide an automated questionnaire that guides a customer to the right survey for their property and needs. See this example. 

The importance of a quote form

Providing a quote online does not mean losing out on opportunities to speak to the customer. In fact, if set up correctly it can mean quite the opposite… A customer fills in your quote form and gets a quote. You now have their details to be able to contact them and answer any questions they may have about your service. These are the details of a customer who otherwise may not have bothered to make an enquiry. 

To get as much as possible from your leads you can also set up automated email flows to provide further information about your service to your customers with no additional effort.

Customers are savvy though. A contact form disguised as a quote form will have low conversion rates. It is very clear to a customer that a contact form labelled ‘Get a Quote’ is not going to offer them instant gratification. In today’s society of a 2 hour turnaround on online deliveries with Prime Now a contact form for quotes doesn’t cut it. If a customer fills in a form expecting to get a quote and all that happens is it says ‘Thanks for submitting your details’ the customer feels frustrated. That is the opposite of what you want to achieve.

This makes what could have been a positive touch point a negative one. Make sure your quote form actually offers a quote. Customers are realistic – they know that you can’t always provide an immediate quote. There may be variables that need consideration first but it should be setup to provide them one wherever you can. Where you can’t offer a quote now, customers will see from the setup you’ve made a genuine effort to provide one and not just attempt to get their details. 

The Actual Call

You’ve been responsive and you’re on the phone to the customer. Before you start the sales pitch. STOP. The sales call isn’t about you. It is about the customer. To sell effectively (and make your job of doing that much easier) you need to understand the customer. Why do they even want a survey? The obvious answer is they want to know the condition of the property. That’s fine assuming their initial search intent… are they already sold on why they are getting a survey or has someone told them it’s something they should do…? We’ll come onto the difference. 

Questions to ask

What stage are they in the home buying process? 

They may be ready to go or early in the process. If they are early in the process how can you offer advice about things to look out for on viewings? Simple advice can leave the customer feeling in a stronger position as they view properties and keen to speak to you again later following a lasting good feeling. 

 

How soon do they need a survey? 

Are they ready to go ahead but their survey isn’t urgent? Or do they need it tomorrow because they’ve left things too late? If you can’t meet a short deadline then there is no need to keep speaking. 

 

Why do they want a survey?

The customer may be clued up and know the benefits of getting a survey. Equally they may have just heard from a friend or family member that it’s a good idea to get one. In the latter case you don’t just need to explain what makes your service better than Joe Bloggs down the road but the whole value in even getting a survey. They first need convincing of the value of spending money on a survey before they need convincing of the value of spending a bit more on your service than someone else’s. 

 

What do they want to find out from the report?

Have they seen something that concerns them or do they have plans for the future they want advice on? They might just want guidance on what maintenance is needed now and in the next 5 years so they can make a plan. 

 

Who else have they spoken to?

Chances are you aren’t the only person they have contacted or will contacted. It is useful to know who they have spoken with before so you can angle your pitch to explain what else you will do that they maybe do not. Do not speak badly of any competitors – this will put any customer off. You can advise where you can offer more value on their specific needs or maybe even where another surveyor is better suited. On top of this, it helps you to see who else is on your customers radar. Has a new company popped up that you should be aware of?

The more information you can find out at the start of this call, the better you can advise on the right type of survey (you knew that) and the better you can gauge their intent of going ahead. You’ll also be in a stronger position to provide a great report when they do go ahead because you can provide a tailored response and not a generic report.

Of course, you do need to mention why you and not another local surveyor. Remember, others will say:

  1. They are a member of RICS
  2. They have X years experience
  3. That they can send you a video telling them about different survey types
  4. That the Homebuyer Report will offer them traffic light ratings

None of that says why you. You need to know what your proposition is. What makes you and your service different. If you can’t explain what you do differently for the customer, they won’t understand either. If you write down your proposition now in 7 words, what is it? Can you even think of what it is?

 

Here are some questions to think about….

  • How do you offer value? 
  • Why are you quicker or longer to submit a report? (There are benefits to both)
  • What do you include in your report that others don’t?
  • What information are you able to gather on site that others cannot and what does that mean for the customers peace of mind?

How to you help your customer make their next decision of their property purchase with ease? What do you do that gives them confidence and stops them staying awake at night?


The Residential Survey Customer Journey Part 3: Getting a Quote / Making an Enquiry

You’ve impressed a customer when they learned you existed and you answered their queries clearly on your website. Now you want them to invest a bit more time making that all important enquiry and to get a quote. To persuade a customer to make this next step and part with their details, you need to make the process engaging. This touch point has to add value. 

 

What does your customer have to do in order to find out how much your services cost?

Some customers will prefer to call you, and that’s great. This is an opportunity to directly discuss how your service operates and then offer your quote. 

 

However, many consumers are now used to and expect to be able to just get a quote online and avoid phone calls whilst they are still doing their research. Why? Because they want to avoid being sold to. If that is their only option and other websites offer an easier route to information, you can guarantee there will be many people who just don’t make the call. 

Consider these stats: 

Internet Rush Hour (peak web traffic) in the UK is between 7pm and 11 pm (The Independent). Your office is closed or your phone is switched off. We all need down time and no one would suggest you’ll be effective working that many hours. So you need to encourage as many people as possible to submit their details for you to contact in the morning. The text on your contact page saying drop me an email or call sounds slow. They know that they are going to have to wait for a response from you some time tomorrow. A customer has had their own day of work and wants to put in the least effort possible – if there are other surveyors offering a quick quote then sending an email or calling you tomorrow isn’t going to happen. 

You need to be quick to respond to your enquiries. 78% of Customers Buy From the First Responder (Lead Connect). Why? The first time they hear about a feature or a benefit, it’s unique and impressive. You want that to be coming from you. The third or fourth time they hear it, it’s old news – and that makes it harder to stand out (Leif Peters, Senior Account Executive, IntelliChief). If a customer can get a quote and purchase straight away from other surveyors, your reply by lunchtime tomorrow looks very slow. 

The importance of a quote form

Providing a quote online does not mean losing out on opportunities to speak to the customer. In fact, if set up correctly it can mean quite the opposite… A customer fills in your quote form and gets a quote. You now have their details to be able to contact them and answer any questions they may have about your service. These are the details of a customer who otherwise may not have bothered to make an enquiry. 

To get as much as possible from your leads you can also set up automated email flows to provide further information about your service to your customers with no additional effort.

Customers are savvy though. A contact form disguised as a quote form will have low conversion rates. It is very clear to a customer that a contact form labelled ‘Get a Quote’ is not going to offer them instant gratification. In today’s society of a 2 hour turnaround on online deliveries with Prime Now a contact form for quotes doesn’t cut it. If a customer fills in a form expecting to get a quote and all that happens is it says ‘Thanks for submitting your details’ the customer feels frustrated. That is the opposite of what you want to achieve.

This makes what could have been a positive touch point a negative one. Make sure your quote form actually offers a quote. Customers are realistic – they know that you can’t always provide an immediate quote. There may be variables that need consideration first but it should be setup to provide them one wherever you can. Where you can’t offer a quote now, customers will see from the setup you’ve made a genuine effort to provide one and not just attempt to get their details. 

How quickly do you respond?

We’ve just shown that you really need to be first to respond to a customer to win the sale. In fact you are 391% more likely to convert a lead in the first minute (Lead Connect). At the moment when a customer is making an enquiry they are in a buying mode and thinking completely about their survey. Call them an hour later they are thinking about other priorities again. 

During office hours, do you respond as soon as a lead comes in or wait until a break in the day? If it is the latter you’re losing opportunities. 

There are systems you can put in place to provide an immediate response to customer enquiries if you can’t afford an admin team to respond to every lead that comes in. Automation may not win you sales on its own (we would always say a call is important) but it can buy you the time for speaking to them later. After all, you’ve already responded straight away and show you care about being responsive. Your call later is following up to offer more detail. 

Out of office hours – you have no way to respond in person. A setup proving the ability to get quotes and instruct you when you aren’t even working sets you ahead of your competition. People take the path of least resistance.

What are your reservations about providing a quote online?

  • You’re more expensive than others in the area. That isn’t a problem. You have their details to make contact to explain the value you offer that justifies your price. You can also include important information about your service in an instant quote/estimation confirmation email ready for when you can call. This information can outline the additional value you offer to your clients. An online setup that is more advanced than your competitors will also help show your service will provide value. 

  • I like to talk to my customers to give them a quote. We agree – nothing beats a phone call to understand the customers requirements, what they want to learn about their property and to help them understand how your service and report will best answer their questions. But it’s not that simple – if you want to increase the number of opportunities you have to speak on the phone, you need to increase the number of enquiries that are being made in the first place. As we said before, customers are used to filling out forms and often averse to making calls. 

  • My customers call me – is that just because they have no other option? Do you offer any alternative? Consider that there will be many others who have visited your site who didn’t make contact. Just check your site analytics for web traffic received versus calls received. 

  • I don’t like filling in forms. Prospective buyers fill out 3-5 lead forms on average (Source: LeadQual). Setting up processes solely around your preferences and not that of your customers can cost you sales. Any customer can contact me any way they want as long as it’s by phone. Sound familiar? Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.


The Residential Survey Customer Journey Part 2: Navigating Your Website

From our last post on customers learning you even exist, they’ve clicked through onto your website. Great news. There is a lot you can do to maximise what happens with your traffic or to make sure you even get traffic. 

 

A website is only as good as the time and planning you put into it at the very start. We will look at the basics you need in place in order to get a customer from clicking on you in search results (or typing in your web address) to taking the action you want such as filling in a form or making an enquiry. 

 

  • Does it appear in search results?
  • How quickly does it load?
  • Is it mobile optimised?
  • How does it look?
  • Is it easy to navigate and find information?
  • Does it look secure? 
  • Is there a call to action that works any time of day?
  • Do you keep your website updated and fresh?

Does it appear in search results?

I’ve heard plenty of people say that they don’t get web traffic and that their website is a waste of time. They rely on business from other sources. Let’s consider this situation:

A person moves into town and decides to setup a restaurant. An Italian restaurant. The problem is, on the outside you can’t really tell what it is – the sign is quite small and doesn’t mention it’s an Italian restaurant. There is a menu displayed outside but there aren’t many terms that people are looking for – squashed dough with toppings (they’re looking for pizza). You look through the window and it’s hard to see what it is inside. 

The text on your website needs planning. As you would research comparable properties for a Red Book Valuation, you need to research what customers are actually typing into Google. The phrases that customers search a lot in your area are the phrases that need to be consistently mentioned on pages of your website. Your homepage should mention the more general phrases of we are ‘building surveyors in [enter location]’ and so on. Dedicated pages for each of your survey types can then have a relevant keyword used a lot throughout it. For example – your page about Homebuyer Reports. If the phrase ‘RICS Homebuyer Report in [Location]’ is searched a lot in your area then use that around 10 times in your text. The text needs to read well and not clearly be an attempt to just force the phrase in there. This signals to Google your web page is relevant to search results and help your customers know this is the right place to be reading.

 

You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to find out what people are searching. Choose a keyword (or two) relevant to each page of your site and make sure you mention it a few times. Choose longer keywords than just ‘Homebuyer Report’ as everyone is using that and it will be harder to rank. Look for more specific ones that still have good search volumes. You can also use tools such as SEMRush who give you 10 free searches a day, to see how your website is performing and which keywords it is ranking for (if any).

 

Remember, the changes you make won’t provide instant results. This is a long-term strategy. It will take time for Google to realise you’ve changed your text and once it does to analyse if people reaching your page are engaging with it or leaving straight away (a signal it may not be relevant). To make sure they stay on your site you’ll need to work on the next factors…

How quickly does it load?

How many times have you clicked a link to a website, it takes a bit too long to load and so you just press back. We all do it. The truth is you have about 2-3 seconds for your site to load before you’ve more than likely lost an opportunity. 

47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less. And 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds. A one-second delay in page load time yields:

11% fewer page views

16% decrease in customer satisfaction

7% loss in conversions

(CrazyEgg)

There are a number of ways you can improve this yourself. If you aren’t sure what you are doing with your website then there are a number of easy ways your developer can speed your site up. 

Image size: make sure the file size of an image is no bigger than it needs to be. From a few kb to 300kb max. If you’re images are all a few MB in size then you’ll be dramatically increasing loading times. 

Plugins: remove plugins you aren’t using. They just add a security risk if not kept up-to-date and are more things for your site to load. You can also install speed plugins for sites built on Wordpress that help to do all the technical work of speeding your site up. 

Want to see how fast your different web pages are? Use Google’s page speed insights tool now. 

How does your surveying website it look?

I’m not asking if it has won awards, or if it’s a style of website I like. But it has to look clean, simple and modern. Put yourself back on a high-street. You walk past two restaurants. One looks clean, has a simply laid out menu outside and is nicely decorated. The other looks like it has seen better days. Which one do you walk into?

 

Same for your website. A dated website leaves customers feeling two things:

  1. Perhaps business isn’t going so well
  2. That the report they will receive will be equally difficult to read / follow

 

Customers do not want to spend time working out which surveys you offer, where you offer them or what’s unique about your service. It’s your job to make this quick and easy. Most people also click off old looking websites. Take time to choose great looking images – these make a huge difference to a look and feel of a site as does a nice font and brand colours. Really plan how to space everything out and how your users should flow through your site. 

Is it easy to navigate and find information?

So, is your site easy to navigate. Your homepage should be broken down into clear sections making it easy to immediately identify where to navigate next to answer my question. Am I looking at residential or commercial services? Where can I find information about a specific survey type? 

Customers make a decision about a website in 10 – 15 seconds. After they decide it looks ok, they need to know where to go. Too hard to work it out, they’re gone. 

Don’t just decide it is easy to navigate because you understand where everything is. Test, test, test. Get your friends and family (the honest ones!) to take a look. Watch them use it and see how easily they find the specific survey you ask them to learn about… without any hints!

Where you see people struggling to follow your site, use this to understand where to put your call-to-action buttons – the ones throughout your page that encourage a web visitor to read more on another page, fill in a form or go to the contact page. Whatever you desired outcome is, you need to guide users clearly on that path. 

Does it look secure?

You’ve got a customer to read a few pages on your site and now you want them to enquire. Two key factors here:

  1. Does your site look secure? You should have an active SSL certificate (the padlock sign next to the web address in the browser). Google also ranks sites lower that don’t have them. An SSL certificate stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client to ensure data is kept secure. If a site doesn’t look secure, many customers won’t enter and submit their personal information.
  2. Are your forms simple and user friendly? If they don’t look appealing, are far too long and don’t work nicely on mobile you can guarantee many customers just won’t fill it in.

Do you keep your website updated and fresh?

I don’t mean constantly updating images and text, although keywords that customers search do change over time so it’s worth checking this every few months. 

I’m focusing on blog posts. They don’t need to be long but these can be great if you post about interesting topics you see whilst you’re out visiting houses or the common pitfalls missed in surveys. 

For example, ‘Common chimney issues found in Lancaster houses during Building Surveys’ – add in a few photos showing interesting finds and relevant keywords and you have a post that might start making it up the Google results pages and generate some traffic. If nothing else, it shows potential customers that you know what you’re talking about when they’re on your site and it shows you really are still in business. 

Analyse Your Success

Changes to your website such as editing keywords (SEO – search engine optimisation) take time to filter through to Google. It can take around 2 months to start seeing the benefits. For changes such as website layouts and adding clear call-to-actions this will have an immediate impact on how website visitors interact with your site. 

By adding a Google Analytics tracking code to your site you can track, for free, how many visitors you are getting, where it is from, how many pages are viewed, how long they stay on your site and more. This allows you to see if the changes you have made are working or if there are other changes that would help. The most interesting report is the user behaviour – seeing which page users started on, where they went next and where they drop off. If it’s on the contact page, great! If not, you can use this information to see which pages might need more work.  


The Residential Survey Customer Journey Part 1: Learning You Exist

You may not have considered this as the first part of your customer journey but it all starts with a potential customer learning that you even exist. If you’re only focusing on improving communication with people who enquire, you’re already missing out on opportunities. 

 

You’ll probably have heard of the sales funnel – at each stage of the sales process a percentage of your prospects will move closer to purchasing with others dropping out along the way. Making the most of your first interaction with a potential customer ensures you fill the start of your sales funnel with the greatest number of potential leads. You want to increase the conversion rate of those that see you exist, to those that look a bit further.

 

So, what do we mean about learning you exist. Let’s focus on how the customer first hears about you and how you’re presenting yourself to them.

This result makes it clear you offer the survey they need, where you cover and provides a clear call to action to get people onto your website. Make your listing obvious and more people are likely to click on your listing.

Lead-Gen Sites / Business Directories

The same principal goes for your listing on a lead-generation site. When you come up in the results, it doesn’t matter where you appear (cheapest or most expensive). We all know customers will pay more for a product or service if they understand the value it offers (look at Waitrose). Make sure you review your profile versus your competition to see how well you engage a customer. 

 

What does the customer want to find out in your profile to make them click on your website link? 

They want to know:

  • Do you offer the service they need?
  • Do you cover the right location?
  • Why are you worth considering? 

 

And I don’t mean stating the obvious like I have ‘x’ many years experience doing surveys so I charge twice the price. Instead make it clear! 

 

“We understand that you are getting a survey to make sure that when you buy your property, you can move in with full peace of mind. To make sure we can offer you only the best advice we spend twice as long inspecting your property as the average surveyor and we carry specialist tools with us that are not used by many others. We do this to ensure we can pin point every issue in a property and its exact cause. This allows us to provide you a report and advice that tells you exactly what you need to know and what you’ll need do… not just a list of potential avenues you’ll need to explore next. Our report will provide you a simple breakdown of all our findings with videos and pictures outlining exactly what we are talking about. We do this to give you confidence in your purchase or the ability to engage with the vendor more easily should there be anything you need to discuss. We include a free consultation once you have our report to answer any questions and help you with your next steps.”

 

OR

 

We are Chartered Surveyors regulated by the RICS. We have carried out many types of survey for over 30 years. Here is a video by RICS about the different survey types you can choose between. Look at this table to see the difference between our surveys

 

The second one is surprisingly common (albeit longer) but tells the customer nothing different to any other surveyor (other than how long you’ve been a surveyor). If every surveyor offers the same generic information about how reports differ and what a RICS survey is, of course they won’t understand why prices differ. If you go to a supermarket shelf and see two similar items, both appear the same and one is much cheaper, which do you choose? So what makes you different to the surveyor charging half the price? If you’re profile or website doesn’t explain that the customer has got no reason to contact you.

To add to this, consider this – a lack of clarity in explaining your proposition provides a subtle suggestion into the lack of clarity that will come in a report (at least from the customers perspective). Knowing how to sell yourself and how to inspect a property are two different skills. But in the customers mind, knowing how to explain something to them is required in both. It’s a subconscious red flag. 

Your Website

Congratulations – you’ve got some web traffic. Here’s what you need to consider next:

  1.  How well does your website load? If it is slow, you’ve just lost some of your traffic before they’ve even seen how it looks. Increase the amount of traffic that even reads your page by making sure it is fast to load on desktop and mobile. Why? Because 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load (Doubleclick). This is similar for desktop. 
  2. How does it look? If you’ve ever walked down the high street, you’ll always be drawn into a new, modern looking shop. Most people will avoid the shop that’s looking tired and outdated. It just suggests you aren’t doing very well. An outdated website says exactly the same thing. More importantly online it also signals the website isn’t very secure resulting in very few people being willing to fill out a contact or quote form. 
  3. How easy is it to find information? Each landing page (the pages you get to after clicking on any of your results on Google) needs to be immediately clear about what you are talking about. If I land on a page about Building Surveys, it should immediately discuss which properties that survey it is suited to, why it is different to other surveys and what makes your Building Survey report better than anyone else’s. If that’s clear, where do I click next to get a quote or enquire further? A clear call to action button (or several) – on the page telling the customer what to do next will increase the chances they take that next step. 
  4. Clear call to action: if the information is clear, easy to find and nicely displayed then how clear is it what next step I should take? Relying on a customer to use your menu bar to go to the contact page is a weak call to action. Your page should have one or several call to action buttons placed strategically on the page enticing a potential customer to take whatever next step you want – get a quote, fill in a form, compare to another survey type and so on.

Summary:

  • Review your online listings (or leaflets in estate agents) and consider how clear they show your unique proposition
  • Make sure your website is simple, jargon free and is easy to navigate
  • Provide clear call to action buttons that encourage potential customers to make that all important enquiry


LinkedIn Hack - How to get your Surveying LinkedIn posts in Front of More People

Before you put your posts out on LinkedIn, how much thought did you put into it? Chances are if you have put some useful content together, you’ll have spent time working out how to make it look most engaging and how to make your post sound more interesting. 

 

Before you press ‘post’ you add in some hashtags. 

 

Researching these is key to how many people see your post. To see why, let’s understand how your LinkedIn feed works. When you setup your account you select which hashtags you want to follow. LinkedIn then populates your feed with posts that have these tags so you don’t find yourself bombarded with posts about human resources when actually you’re interested in big data. 

 

You can see which hashtags you follow in the column on the left hand side of your main feed. Towards the bottom it shows which hashtags you follow. You can then click discover more and tick more you’d like to follow and unfollow those that aren’t of interest anymore. 

Hashtag

LinkedIn Followers

#surveyors4.6K followers
#surveyor6K followers
#surveying15,450 followers
#buildingsurveying601 followers
#lovesurveying679 followers
#charteredsurveyors106 followers
#charteredsurveyor122 followers
#helptobuy135 followers
#buildingsurveyor162 followers
#propertyindustry163 followers
#residentialproperty304 followers
#ukproperty3.9K followers
#rics4,501 followers
#propertymarket4,908 followers
#propertymarket4.9K followers
#newbuild6.9K followers
#cpd7,666 followers
#residential15.3K followers
#proptech20.2K followers
#propertymanagement55.8K followers
#customerexperience59.7K followers
#property74,403 followers
#affordablehousing8.4K followers
#housebuilding9.2K followers
#commercialproperty9.5K followers
#management36.1M followers
#buildingsurveyorsNo data
#residentialsurveyingNo data
#helptobuyvaluationNo data

What has this got to do with which hashtags you choose? 

 

You want to be adding hashtags to your posts that are both relevant to your content and have the largest following. Guessing whether one hashtag or the other is best to use can make a big difference in the size of the audience that could potentially see your post.

 

Looking at this table of example hashtags (correct at 22.04.20) you can see some examples where it makes a big difference to either the relevance of the audience that sees your post or the number of people.

 

Number of people:

Using #surveyor you would have an audience of 6000 followers and using #surveyors you would have an audience of 4600 followers. That is a difference of just 1400 people by using the plural or singular form of the word. Of course not the same 4600 people may in the 6000. But if you’re just guessing and choosing one it can have a big impact. If you decided to be more specific and say #buildingsurveyor you’d only have an audience of 162 people. 

 

That’s a big difference for the sake of a few minutes researching which hashtag to use. 

 

Relevance of the audience:

On the flip side some hashtags could get you a larger following. But you’d be appearing in people’s feed where your post isn’t relevant. LinkedIn would notice your post is being ignored and drop it down the rankings of what should appear in peoples feeds.

For example, you could say ‘we offer #property #management’ or ‘we offer #propertymanagement’. Property has 74403 followers and management 36.1m followers. That is a huge number of people that could see your post. However, management covers all sorts of topics from Operations to IT. On the other hand using #propertymanagement has a smaller audience at 55.8k – one that is still very large and is completely relevant to your post. Your post is more likely to be relevant to your audience and therefore to get engagement. 

You can search for popular hashtags by clicking on discover more in the left hand column of your LinkedIn feed (see image below). You can also type in a hashtag into the LinkedIn search bar (e.g search ‘#surveying’). You will see how many followers it has. By clicking on the result you will see your feed now with a list of posts using that hashtag which you can use to see the relevance to your posts. 

Once you’ve clicked on the result and you’re in the feed, you’ll see the hashtag listed at the top. There is a button that says follow or unfollow but also 3 small dots. If you click on the 3 dots a dropdown will appear with an option of ‘Discover New Hashtags’. Here you’ll see a list of hashtags and the number of followers, choose which ones to follow and make a note for which ones to use in your posts. 

Now you’ve got your hashtags, make sure you are posting at the right time of day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9:30 am – 11am are typically shown by studies as the best days and times to post. This is when most people are active on the site and looking through their feeds. Sundays are the worst!

Similar tools can help you see what customers type into Google the most. Understanding these ‘keywords’ you can ensure your website text uses these phrases and not what you guess customers might type into Google to ensure you are most relevant to customer searches and appear higher in results… but that’s a post for another day. 

 

We’d love to hear how you find posting on LinkedIn and your success with using hashtags. Drop us an email at hello@surveybooker.co.uk or join the conversation on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/survey-booker/


What Consumer Trends Will Still Be Here Post-Coronavirus?

The world has changed dramatically a lot in a few short weeks – more than anyone could have predicted. Of course, this has led to behaviour changes…

  • Working from home, using conference calling
  • Socialising online and meeting in virtual pubs
  • Dogs wagging their tails more as owners are always around
  • Using the word unprecedented an unprecedented amount
  • Taking more photos of cities – just look at the before and after photos of air quality

 

Where such dramatic shifts take place we are learning to adapt. To see friends, to shop and to work in new ways. Where consumers and businesses resisted technology, everyone is now having to embrace it and realising it isn’t as scary or difficult as people thought. Many have gone from refusing to try something different to loving it. For example 20% of grocery shops are currently being done online and demand is continually growing. The fear that the fruit and veg might not be as good if you can’t pick it yourself just simply doesn’t materialise.

 

Now is the time to give yourself permission to start imagining beyond the cloud of Covid-19. With that in mind, here is what we at Survey Booker think the landscape will look like.

 

Number One:

There is still a place for premium prices

In 2014, leading trade magazine The Grocer, explored the legacy of the economic downturn for food and drink. We can learn that there was never a significant trading down during the recession. Consumers still sought quality products and were prepared to pay more for premium, while still controlling overall spend.

This will be no different for surveying post-lockdown. Customers will still pay a premium for a better quality report and a better quality service. At such a crucial time in the buying process, a customer wants peace of mind and a customer will always pay for that where you show them your value.

 

Number Two:

Online services are here to stay

Consumers have significantly increased their online usage during the lock down from streaming on Netflix, to online grocery shopping to video conference calls. It doesn’t matter who you are now, more people than ever are using the internet and seeing the benefits it can bring.

Customers will continue to use the internet to manage the majority of their lives with the ease it brings. If you are building in the opportunity to offer quotes and payments through your website whilst staff are furloughed or you’re taking time off then speak to the Survey Booker team who can advise on important aspects of getting traffic to your website and how to structure your web pages to optimise the number of customers who enquire.

 

Number Three:

The internet is not just for the millennial

Older generations have been encouraged to become way more tech savvy during this period, creating a new audience online. We predict the ‘grey pound’ is an important new target demographic that should be included in future marketing plans.

No longer can we assume that only the younger generations will use your website to find quotes, make payments and check on progress. Older generations have now embraced this way of life through Covid-19 and will continue to shop around online now they are more confident with how it works.

 

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments at hello@surveybooker.co.uk


How to Prepare Your Surveying Customer Journey for Post Covid-19

Are you preparing your surveying business’ customer journey for the post-lockdown world? Or are you planning to go back to business as normal?

 

The world as we know it has changed and so has the customer landscape. Those who weren’t using tech or the internet before are now far more engaged with it. Just look at online grocery shopping – a surge to 20% of all households in the first 4 weeks. Those who would have never considered it have now realised that it is easy and the fruit and veg delivered is as good as what they would have picked themselves. The elderly are using Zoom and Skype to see family – they have moved onto a different kind of tablets. 

 

As customers become even more comfortable with using technology – those in all age groups – you need to become comfortable with it in your business. It isn’t a necessary evil. It is an opportunity. An opportunity to become a successful surveyor who converts more leads, who does their admin work in less time and offers better contact time with their customers. 

We will be releasing a new article each week exploring what makes up your customers’ journey – the full experience a customer has with your company and how you can look at your current setup to boost sales conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

 

Customer service is one part of this and how well you help answer customer queries or concerns. But there are many other touch points where technology can help improve the customer journey and with that your business. All of this is designed to help you save time, boost sales and generate data that helps you analyse your processes. Technology isn’t a replacement for speaking with the customer, far from it. It can be used to help remove pointless contact in the survey process and even increase the opportunities you get to speak to customers you’d otherwise have missed out on ever even knowing. 

We’re here to highlight ways you can focus your time on quality customer contact time and what you set out to do – surveys!

 

Over the next few articles we will look at all of the following touch points to see where you are doing well, and where we can offer food for thought:

 

  1. Learning You Even Exist
  2. Navigating Your Website
  3. Getting a Quote / Making an Enquiry
  4. The call about your service – what makes you different to everyone else?
  5. Instructing You and Making Payment
  6. Terms of Engagement / Compliance
  7. Survey Updates
  8. The Report
  9. Post-Report Customer Care
  10. Getting Feedback

 

Some of these you may not have considered a touch point – the most obvious ones are, of course, when a customer calls or emails. But an interaction that isn’t with you can also affect what a customer thinks about you. It can mean the difference between receiving an enquiry and getting ignored. It can be the difference between a mediocre review and a 5 star one even when you’ve been really helpful on the phone. 

 

All of our articles will be backed up by statistics that help to highlight the benefits you can reap and what your consumer is looking for. So, in our following articles, please consider it from the perspective of you being a customer as well as you being a surveyor.