Plumbing is one of the most actively growing businesses across the US. The modern industry is a far cry from what it was even a few years back. According to IBIS World, there will be about 126,929 plumbing companies in the US in 2023. These numbers have grown by 0.3% compared to the previous year.
With such gargantuan figures, it is no understatement to say that competition is cut-throat among plumbing businesses. Companies in this arena face peculiar problems such as challenges with customer retention, cash flow issues, poor target marketing, etc., and are trying their best to overcome these.
One effective way to stand out in the current market is to leverage the power of advanced technologies. In this article, we will discuss the major technologies that can make a world of difference in your plumbing business in 2023.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Managing customer relationships can be difficult as a plumbing business expands. Many plumbers need to cut down their time to keep track of all back-end tasks. Thankfully, reliable customer relationship management (CRM) software can streamline efforts.
A CRM helps in keeping customers satisfied and improves retention. This is achieved through automating certain (monotonous) tasks –
- Data Entry – Storing data in black and white is long in the past. Plumbing businesses are using CRM systems for data storage, which help them ss the information at the click of a button. They can keep track of customer service history and interactions, thereby gaining valuable insights for targeted marketing, tailored services, and upselling opportunities.
- Sales Process – Some CRM features are focused on streamlining the sales process. For instance – the reporting and analytics tools are useful in determining which sales approaches work and which don’t. This saves time and resources otherwise spent in targeting unqualified leads.
- Job Assignment and Dispatching – The CRM system enables plumbing business managers to assign tasks to specific plumbers based on their experience, skills, location, and availability. Efficient communication between plumbers and dispatchers streamlines the assignment and dispatching process, ensuring customers have their needs addressed on priority.
- Real-Time Updates – With the CRM system, plumbers and other office members receive real-time updates on work progress. This makes it easier to update job statuses, add important notes for future reference, etc., so everyone is on the same page.
- Job Reminders and Notifications – Once the information is fed into the system, it can send automated reminders to customers and plumbers regarding upcoming appointments, routine maintenance, etc. By reducing the incidence of missed appointments and delays, the CRM ensures customer satisfaction.
2. Plumbing Software for a Smoother Workflow
Plumber scheduling software is exclusively designed to enable plumbing businesses to better workflow management. It is often a single-stop solution that can handle aspects of customer relationships, inventory, and more. According to Workiz, robust plumbing software even acts as a total payment solution to give you financial control and your customers better service through flexible payment options.
Listed below are common features of plumbing software –
- Scheduling and Dispatching – Technicians can schedule appointments and dispatch plumbers to job sites through real-time workflow and progress tracking.
- Job Tracking – The plumbing software allows technicians to track progress on a certain task, update statuses, and more.
- Inventory Management – Technicians get a 360-degree view of their current inventory that helps them reorder supplies before the stock runs out.
- Invoice and Payments – The software comes equipped with options to include flexible digi-payment options, create and send invoices, etc.
- Collaboration and Communication – Technicians can collaborate and communicate with their teammates on the platform itself. All data is stored on the cloud and becomes instantly accessible for all team members.
- Service History – Office members can use the software to view a customer’s service history, including their payments, job type, notes, etc.
In a highly technical and digital landscape, plumbing software helps businesses to deliver better customer service. Since most tedious tasks are automated and streamlined, technicians can maintain quality control and reduce delays and missed appointments.
3. Digital Marketing Channels for Customer Engagement and Service
Digital marketing is at the heart of gaining access to a wide pool of potential customers because nearly 5.3 billion people use the Internet as of 2022. However, getting the most out of digital marketing has become synonymous with having a professional plumbing business website.
A study found that over 28% of small businesses still do not have an e-commerce website. Most give the excuse that their operations are currently not large-scale, and hence, they do not feel the need to have a website. But digital marketing efforts supported by a well-designed website are crucial to showcase brand authority, promote services through educational content, and make local SEO efforts to target clients within a specific radius of the company.
Some top channels to promote your plumbing business include email, social media, podcasts and events followed by telecalls. Social media can also help in enhancing customer service by driving interactions and engagement.
For instance – a plumbing company can share social posts on the latest upgrades to their services, allowing social media users to add queries or complaints in the comment section. Using relevant hashtags, customers can even share testimonials on these platforms, tagging the company.
4. Video-Conferencing for Remote Consultations
If your plumbing business does not offer remote consultations yet, it is high time to do so. It may not always be possible for your clients to visit your facility to know more about the services. Video consultations are a way of adding that human touch to the interaction despite the physical distance.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg – your consultations must be combined with GPS fleet tracking systems to optimize routes and monitor work progress. Some of the top benefits include –
- Improving customer experience through efficient and timely services
- Reduction in fuel costs
- Better dispatch of employees for specific tasks
- Vehicle security
- Fleet analysis and management
Let’s understand with the help of a real-world scenario – a customer suddenly faces a plumbing emergency. They get on a call, which is followed by a video-conferencing consultation. Once the call is over, a team of plumbers is dispatched on priority.
The GPS tracking software helps in quickly finding an available plumber and sends them directions to the job site. The office team receives the complete history of the driver in the meantime. The GPS software further improves the route planning process, eliminates double data entry, and tracks employee time. The team reaches the site on time, addresses the issue immediately, and walks out with a job well done and a happy customer.
Plumbing businesses are not often associated with ecommerce services since their clientele and service areas are often niche and local. But, given the rising number of players in the industry, it is crucial to expand business whilst maintaining a smooth workflow.
As the above-mentioned technologies enable the plumbing business to keep customer satisfaction as its priority, an in-house or outsourced content creation team can help highlight the company’s plumbing expertise. Thought leadership content is what provides value to a customer’s browsing experience, lets them know about the brand in detail, and becomes a good conversation starter.
The content does not necessarily have to be in written format. HubSpot found that short-form videos are expected to drive better engagement than other formats in 2023. When relevant content is published, promoted, and advertised, your plumbing business will attract qualified leads.