Life as an electrical contractor isn’t all flashing lights and fun. What would you give to lose the pains in your daily job list? How many hours do you spend on each customer’s paperwork?
Your Customer’s Journey
Mot customer journeys are pretty rough, and there are many obstacles in the way of you getting the work. If you can make things easier for customers, you are likely to convert more inquiries into paying jobs.
Typically, a customer’s first contact with you is by phone:
- You take the call on your mobile, even if you are busy, because you can never afford to miss a possible job
Alternative– Use a virtual office service. Yes, it has a cost, but so does your time.
- You scribble details down in a notebook you always keep in your pocket and promise to ring back with an estimate that evening
Alternative– Have a list of standard prices for standard jobs and have a family member answer the phone professionally. Your list of standard prices means the customer gets a ball-park figure instantly.
- You spend 30 minutes trying to read your notes, looking up the costs of materials for the job, adding your margin and your labour charges
Alternative– Check out electrician apps that use your supplies costs and the labour charge you input to work out an estimate. Remember, it’s only an estimate, and its purpose is to get you an on-site appointment so that you can give an accurate quotation.
- You spend 20 minutes on the phone with the customer, knowing that at least two local competitors are going through the same process
Alternative– Train a relative or friend to talk knowledgeably to the customer.
- Next day the customer rings you back, andyou explain that you need to look at the job before you can give a firm quote
Alternative– Your relative or virtual office employee looks up your online diary and books an appointment.
- You make an appointment to call in the evening
No Alternative Possible– This is the only part of the quote process that needs your expert knowledge and personal contact with the customer.
- You make notes and say you will call back next day. You go home and look up the costs of materials and calculate how long the work will take. You ring next day and hopefully get through on the first attempt. Hopefullythe customer hasn’t had second thoughts or been persuaded to use a competitor’s services.
Alternative– You have a mobile app on your tablet that uses costs you have previously entered to generate a quote while you are with the customer. You send the quote as a PDF to the customer’s email address and print it out. Your enthusiasm is contagious, andthe customer says, “Yes.”
- The customer next asks, “When can you do it?” You pull out your paper diary and hope nobody has booked you any jobs while you have been out.
Alternative– Your electrician app links to your online diary, you check, and agreea date to do the work.
- You or your employee carries out the agreed work. You check the materials used and the hours, transfer everything to your accounts and type out an invoice.
Alternative– The employee uses an app on his or her phone to confirm everything has been completedand that the customer is happy. You generate an invoice on the same app and email it to the customer. Your app automatically updates your accounts receivable in your accounting software.
- The customer sends the due payment to your bank account. You update your accounts.
Alternative– You useStripe or PayPal to accept credit, anddebit card payments and your https://www.fieldpulse.com/electrician/all-purpose electricians’ app is connected to your bank account and accounting software, updating your accountsimmediately the payment clears.
- Two weeks later you check your accounts and realisethe customer still hasn’t paid. You ring and checkthey are stillhappy with the work and to offer a gentle reminder that payment is overdue. The customer promises to pay immediately you are off the phone.
Alternative– Your electrician’s app alerts you when payments are overdue, preventing poor cash flow from strangling your business.
The Short Version
If you aren’t using specialist electrician’s app, then you are losing business and running yourself ragged unnecessarily. Apps help you give better service to customersand save you time, all while automating your accounts to a degree you could only dream of up to now.