Are Your Home Service Calls Performing Well?

January 02, 2020

Phone calls are an essential component of generating new business. With Google's search engine in all of our mobile phones, the rise of the mobile search, click-to-call advertising is more important than ever. According to BIA/Kelsey, 65% of businesses consider phone calls to be their most valuable, highest quality source of leads. This is crucial for home services! If you think about it, pest control issues, plumbing problems, and electrical emergencies need to be dealt with pretty quickly. So, homeowners naturally turn to their phones and call for help. 

Thanks to Service Direct, the 2019 Home Service Call Performance report has provided a greater insight into this year's overall performance for home service calls. This year's report educates us about how often home service professionals answer their phones, how often customer information is collected on the phone, just how often these calls actually turn into a scheduled appointment and a few recommendations as to how you can keep your business from missing the calls that could make your profit margins climb. First, we'll take a look at some of the key elements that all home service professionals need to know about their call performance.

Key Findings

It was estimated that business owners thought they had a call answer rate of 97%. In truth, only 66% of calls were answered on average. Using only your in-house staff to answer phone calls for your business has proved to be a lot more insufficient for quality call performance than most business owners seem to think. In fact, those businesses that used a third-party answering service had a call answer rate of 99%. Compared to the in-house answer rate of 66%, that's a lot of new potential business those without a third party answering service have missed. 

Another important key factor to remember here is that the majority of those inbound calls are from new potential consumers and not just returning clients. According to this report, of those inbound calls answered, 55% were from new potential customers. And, this answer rate significantly impacts revenue performance. A business could potentially experience a 54% increase in a new business just by answering all of their inbound calls. In other words, it pays to pick up the phone. 

The Perception Gap Is Significant

It was revealed in a Consumer Report survey that 75% of consumers said their biggest issue is not getting a human on the phone. When considering phone call lead generation, it's imperative for businesses to answer the phone if they ever want to see a return on their investment. This report sets out to help us understand the percentage of these phone calls that go unanswered.

Service Direct surveyed home service professionals to ask what percent of inbound calls they estimated their business answers. Most estimated their average answer rate to be 97% or 97 out of every 100 phone calls. After analyzing the data, we find out that the actual answer rate was 66%. A significantly lower rate than that which was perceived.

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Home service providers must wear many hats while they're on the job. Being there to answer every inbound call just isn't feasible. There is a significant "missed call" gap that has meaningful implications on businesses. According to a study conducted by Forbes, 80% of callers don't leave messages because they don't think they will ever be heard by another human. And, according to Message Direct, 85% of consumers whose calls aren't answered will never call back.

Call Answering Services Simply Capture More Customers 

Third-party call answering services had an average answer rate of 99%. This answer rate should make sense since, after all, it's what call answering services were hired to do. But, it's not just their job to pick up the phone. These services have to pull just the right amount of information from each caller in order to turn them into possible leads. This survey reports that call answering services succeeded in collecting that information 86% of the time. Compared to the in-house rate of 66%, that's a 20% greater chance of collecting the caller's information. So, it's been deduced that a call answering service, like Abby Connect Live Receptionist, improves phone habits for business.

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This report emphasizes the importance of considering both the answer rate and the lead capture rate together in order to best understand the impact the answer rate can have on any business. A high lead capture rate is only as good as the rate at which calls are answered. And, the more calls answered, the more leads are captured. 

Out of one hundred calls, a call answering service will on average answer ninety-nine calls and capture eighty-five leads. In-house staff averages sixty-six inbound calls and forty-nine leads. That's about a 70% increase in leads captured when using a call answering service. 

The Majority Of Missed Calls Are New Potential Customers

According to a study by Google, 61% of mobile users call a business when they're ready to buy. After analyzing these calls rate, Service Direct wanted to better understand the intent of these calls. Specifically, just how often an inbound call actually came from a new potential customer that the service provider could do business with. 

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For this section of the analysis, this report breaks down caller intent types into four primary categories:

  • New Potential Customer: Calls from homeowners that were in the right service area, that need a service that the contractor offered, and where the contractor had the potential to schedule an appointment. This excludes any calls where the contractor has previously spoken to the caller. 
  • Existing Customer: Calls from past and current customers or calls about jobs in progress. 
  • Solicitor: Calls from vendors, suppliers or any sales call. 
  • Other: Calls from people in out-if-service areas, calls from people asking for a service that the provider didn't offer, wrong numbers, etc. 

Of the calls answered by in-house staff, this survey discovered that on average 55% were new potential clients. When the new potential customer's called, an appointment was scheduled 63% of the time. This analysis was conducted across 42 home service categories. Something to keep in mind here is that these figures vary according to specific service categories, like appliance repair or fencing, as examples. 

A Few Recommendations 

Home service professionals need to maximize revenue by monitoring and improving their call performance. They must concentrate their efforts on bridging the perception gap. To do this they must accurately and consistently track call performance metrics, including call answer rate, lead capture rate, and appointment booking rate. When these metrics are properly recorded and fully understood companies can make better and more informed marketing and operational decisions. 

This survey estimates that the average home service provider could very well experience a 54% increase in new business by answering ALL phone calls, without any increase to their existing marketing budget. The only way to climb the charts though is by using these metrics and keeping a close eye (and ear) on recording those in-bound calls.

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Overall, the best recommendation to improve any business' service call performance is to hire a third-party call answering service. It's reported in this survey that smaller home service companies could see a significant increase in call performance and revenue by leveraging a call answering service during the growth stages of their business. 

There are several kinds of call answering service out there and they're all very different. With Abby Connect Live Receptionist your callers receive a genuine human experience. Based out of our office in Las Vegas, Abby Connect takes your calls in a supportive working environment, far away from the background noise and distractions that other in-home answering services have. With options for custom calling, extended hours and 24/7 answering services, you'll never miss another opportunity to grow your business again. Call Abby Connect today at 877-303-5757 to start your 14-Day FREE Trial and improve your call performance!

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