By Ally Kutz, contributing writer
Research company Software Advice’s 2014 IndustryView report “Customer Preferences for Residential Services Software” found 58 percent of those surveyed say they would be more likely to hire a residential services company if the company used technician-tracking technology. An appealing feature of the technology is providing customers with a more specific arrival time, rather than a vague window of time such as “sometime between noon and 4 p.m.”
Survey respondents also shared customer portal functions they preferred, online bill pay and online scheduling were most popular, cited by 55 and 50 percent of respondents, respectively. Account access, GPS tracking, and document/report access all came in at lower preferences between 25 and 40 percent.
Although 39 percent of respondents suggest that that their service provider does somewhat or very well in using technology in order to improve their experience, 41 percent say that their provider does an average job, while 19 percent cite their provider as somewhat or very poor in use of technology to improve experience. Software Advice’s report states, “If the proper use of software is invisible, it’s probably very apparent when a provider is not using software properly: Processes tend to be slower and more inconvenient for customers.”
Software Advice also looked at perceptions of survey respondents from a generational perspective, splitting the pool further to show consumer satisfaction with the provider’s use of software across six different age categories. Respondents 18-24 and 65+ were more likely to say their providers have performed somewhat or very well at 50 and 46 percent, respectively, while respondents 25-34 were most critical, with 26 percent responding with somewhat or very poor presentation by their providers.
According to Sam Pillar, CEO and co-founder at Jobber, a provider of business management software to mobile service companies, “You’ve got this millennial generation who should be most receptive, but I think the reality is that a lot of the companies have implemented [customer-facing functionality] in a…really poor way.”
Software Advice comments that the results of the survey could be related to the fact that many businesses just now starting the transition to softwares. In many cases, customers may not be aware of the technologies their provider is using, or their provider may be using technologies in the office only and not the field.
The report concludes, “As more residential services businesses switch over to software, customers’ perceptions may change. To encourage a positive change, businesses must ensure they’re offering some sort of technician tracking capabilities, as well as an online customer portal …. With so many mid-level responses amongst our survey-takers, the residential services market is ripe for businesses to adopt technology that pushes average experiences into positive ones.”