Answering service

Brad Kessler

New Member
Location
Ohio
Speaking of a web contact form, I had a roofing client have me embedded some code into their website for booking estimates - just an FYI to those that may want to explore this as an option. Here is the link to the website that has the code - https://www.setmore.com/ and here is a link to my roofing client that has it on the top of their homepage (button is on the top right named "Book Appointment" - https://www.hhrdayton.com/
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
Location
South East, PA
Speaking of a web contact form, I had a roofing client have me embedded some code into their website for booking estimates - just an FYI to those that may want to explore this as an option. Here is the link to the website that has the code - https://www.setmore.com/ and here is a link to my roofing client that has it on the top of their homepage (button is on the top right named "Book Appointment" - https://www.hhrdayton.com/

Letting clients book appointments with out discussing times and days with you is a terrible idea. HomeAdvisor does that and when I was using the service I had to turn it off. It takes all of the customer contact out of the interaction and inevitability they schedule a time that you couldn’t possibly be available. It also get a huge host of “price shoppers” that in our industry we do not care to deal with because it’s easy for them to book with out talking to someone. At least with a contact us form someone from our company has to call back and set up the appointment, while looking at our schedule.
 

Brad Kessler

New Member
Location
Ohio
How many jobs do you sell over the phone? You have to get in front of people. If you think you are saving yourself time screening them on the phone, you are missing out on a ton of opportunities. You aren't selling tree services, you are selling yourself; and, to do that, you need to get in front of them.

80% of your "price shoppers" aren't price shopping - people buy on emotion not price. If you think they aren't buying from your because of price then you need to improve your sales techniques.
 
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climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Location
Lebanon, Pa USA
How many jobs do you sell over the phone? You have to get in front of people. If you think you are saving yourself time screening them on the phone, you are missing out on a ton of opportunities. You aren't selling tree services, you are selling yourself; and, to do that, you need to get in front of them.

80% of your "price shoppers" aren't price shopping - people buy on emotion not price. If you think they aren't buying from your because of price then you need to improve your sales techniques.
you would love our voice mail. Pretty much says if you are not a current customer or referred, sorry we aren't taking new clients right now.

We return all voice mails within 24 hours, so not really a screening process. Once on the phone we screen the job...dont top, bushes, time frame etc. If they still want to meet for a proposal, we will.

We hardly ever answer the phone. Most times initial contact is voicemail, email, or web contact.

BTW we are booked out for 4-6 months and have been for last 2 years.

I hear what you are saying, and it does have merit depending on how one wants their business and why they are in business.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
 
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adaycj

Member
Location
Michigan
How many jobs do you sell over the phone? You have to get in front of people. If you think you are saving yourself time screening them on the phone, you are missing out on a ton of opportunities. You aren't selling tree services, you are selling yourself; and, to do that, you need to get in front of them.

80% of your "price shoppers" aren't price shopping - people buy on emotion not price. If you think they aren't buying from your because of price then you need to improve your sales techniques.


I decided to skip doing my own window replacements in my house. I had a local company come and do them instead. The web signup was nice. It popped up with a calendar. I could see a bunch of future open dates. In 5 minutes I knew when they were coming for an estimate and how long they would be at my home. I had picked a time that I knew worked for me and them. The web page said they would call about 24 hours before they were to show up, and they did. I'm sure part of that is just to make sure I hadn't flaked out after I scheduled. They guy had a itemized estimate done for me in under an hour. They used a very similar system to schedule the install. Barring a weather related reschedule I knew when the work could be done. That is also a pretty awesome sales tactic, you can see almost exactly how long you will be delaying your job if you wait for another bid.

I had a pretty hard time getting a competitive estimate. Three calls each to even get a person to call back. They were also $10K more, so there is that.

I hear ya about the tire kickers, but getting in front of them with the least amount of lost resources is one way to limit the drain on a business. Plus the web page made it very clear that the only way I was getting this process started was to schedule and estimate. Half of my problem with tire kickers is the attempts to get an estimate over the phone. If I have 10 people to call at 5pm and they all tell me a 15 minute story ...

I'm sure that web scheduling system isn't cheap, and someone has to maintain the front end with acceptable dates and scheduling slots. And you can't avoid all phone calls.
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
Location
South East, PA
How many jobs do you sell over the phone? You have to get in front of people. If you think you are saving yourself time screening them on the phone, you are missing out on a ton of opportunities. You aren't selling tree services, you are selling yourself; and, to do that, you need to get in front of them.

80% of your "price shoppers" aren't price shopping - people buy on emotion not price. If you think they aren't buying from your because of price then you need to improve your sales techniques.

75-80% of my work is sold by the way we treat our clients, their trees and their property. This is through outstanding referrals from past clients, HOA’s and a great network of businesses that we work with. Once in the last 10 years have we had a call back because we missed something (and that was just a misunderstanding on my part due to a language barrier). Many times the job is sold even before I get to look at the trees. I would contend that I/we am/are selling a service I provided, and if I get in front of them the right way and by the right channels the service sells itself. I’m certainly not selling myself! I’m selling Arboriculture, standards that have been written and provided to us to follow.

You sir obviously have not sold tree work before, or talked to clients about tree work. The difference between web design and trees is not everyone can design a functional web site, any monkey (literally) can do tree work. With web design the cheapest isn’t the best option sometimes. The site may not meet specs, or work properly. With trees chances are some landscaper can effect some sort of treatment that will meet the needs of the client, even if it’s topping. And he will be cheaper than the guy that spends thousands on the correct insurance, proper power equipment and protective equipment.

When I first started with limited work time 4 out of 5 clients didn’t care about price, they just wanted us (had to do with where our referrals were coming from and where I worked full time) and they would wait 6 or 8 months for us. The busier we get the more price shopping we get. Now probably half our calls (as long as I keep the HomeAdvisor leads off) don’t really care about price they want it done right, but they want it done last week. The rest are looking for the best deal on a removal. Lately I’ve had a hard time turning crane removals, because of price and price alone.
 

edbaker12

New Member
Location
Houston, TX
I'm a little late to the conversation, haha. But, we used an answering service and it turned out to be a big help. They essentially were virtual receptionists, so they do everything in house receptionists do but it is significantly cheaper. Really its just a matter of telling them what they need to know as far as the industry and the business goes.
 
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rope-a-dope

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
I love seeing all these comments on the value of trees and properly caring for them standing as the guiding principal of our business. I also work for a company that offers education and service in that order because we prioritize tree preservation. We are large and have an office staff, so my comments dont exactly pertain to the OP about answering services.
Seeing mainstream business values here like selling yourself, translating call volume into sales and making more money faster is a little unusual, because the tree care industry wisdom represented in these forums has some issues with typical business culture. The customer is not always right and some arborists try to convince a lot of people that they dont need to get rid of trees. And if they do cut down trees that people want gone, they dont get to work on those trees again. Some arborists don't try to get bigger and some companies are all about expansion. This variety in strategy and the different types of tree work out there across changing markets and landscapes make it such a dynamic industry and nearly impossible to standardize.
For an example just look at any thread here about how to price tree work...
Do you think those roofers ever get to an estimate appointment and say, "this roof is fine, you dont need to hire us?"
The values in this industry are all over the place!
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I think that a remote office assistant could be a huge help. Even if I just forward VM’s to them, and they call back. They could plug all their info into jobber, explain bid vs consulting, schedule a route on bid day(s), follow up on quotes, invoices, and satisfaction calls.
For my business this would only be 5-10 hrs a week tops. But I could see the right person actually creating a business for themselves, serving the service industry...
 
I think that a remote office assistant could be a huge help. Even if I just forward VM’s to them, and they call back. They could plug all their info into jobber, explain bid vs consulting, schedule a route on bid day(s), follow up on quotes, invoices, and satisfaction calls.
For my business this would only be 5-10 hrs a week tops. But I could see the right person actually creating a business for themselves, serving the service industry...
Hey Evo-my business started in the free industry and now includes many industries-check out our offering: https://www.pinkcallers.com/.
 

Chaplain242

Well-Known Member
Letting clients book appointments with out discussing times and days with you is a terrible idea. HomeAdvisor does that and when I was using the service I had to turn it off. It takes all of the customer contact out of the interaction and inevitability they schedule a time that you couldn’t possibly be available. It also get a huge host of “price shoppers” that in our industry we do not care to deal with because it’s easy for them to book with out talking to someone. At least with a contact us form someone from our company has to call back and set up the appointment, while looking at our schedule.

for some services with small operating areas it could work
 

OasisTree

Well-Known Member
Location
Central Missouri
A good secretary pays for herself in short order with the time she saves the business owner, just make sure she has the tools that she needs and a decent scheduling software to input info. And it doesn't have to be in an office with the tech that is available now!
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
A good secretary pays for herself in short order with the time she saves the business owner, just make sure she has the tools that she needs and a decent scheduling software to input info. And it doesn't have to be in an office with the tech that is available now!
I have a family friend answering for me, and it is a big help, but my communication with clients, aside from face to face, is just awful. Never had a bad review from anyone I've ever actually worked for, but I'm sure there are lots of people that slipped through the cracks that complain about poor communication. I've got to see if I can get this family friend to be more full time answering, then also scheduling, emailing, bookwork/paperwork etc. I haven't made the move yet, but I am sure you are right about this, because the way I'm going about it now is just not good.....Luckily, there is so much work out there I could probably throw my phone in a ditch and still be busy. Won't last forever though
 

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