Putting Your Data To Work: Making data driven decisions in Home Services

Post date :

Apr 26, 2024

Data can be your strategic advantage in growing your home service business. But collecting, organizing, analyzing and actioning all the data you have can be daunting. Let’s break down five key considerations in making your home services business data driven so that you can make more money. 

Customer Intel: What to consider & what can you do?
  • Additional contact information - When you can pull multiple email and phone numbers for a prospect, you can follow up with them in multiple channels. This can be helpful for requesting online reviews or for marketing to past customers down the road. 

  • Income & Credit Range - Understanding general income and credit history can help you prioritize prospects that are going to be able to afford the type of service you offer. This is also useful when considering how you want to structure your payment options (up front vs after service payments). 

  • Payment history - If you see a history of late or short payments, this can be an indication that the prospective customer is going to be an accounts receivable or collections risk. This is where you can adjust your payment terms or require up front payment prior to performing service. GlassHouse offers a payment history view as well as a payment verification tool when risks are present. 

  • Online Review History - “the best indicator of future performance is past behavior”. When you can see how a prospect generally reviews other businesses, you can start to get a picture of how they approach vendor engagement and the likelihood that you are accepting a reputation risk for your business. We call this the ‘social scoring’ data point inside GlassHouse and recommend everyone quickly look at this as part of their project risk assessments. 

  • Recent industry engagements - If you can get feedback from other service providers in the area (or your team) you’ll get a great view of the clients overall behaviors and likelihood to be a good fit for your business. 

Property Intel: What to consider & what can you do?
  • Age of the home - There are a ton of decisions you can make about and information you can infer when you understand home age. A good example is in the roofing industry. If a home is less than 10 years old, the likelihood of it needing a new roof may be low. But if the home is 20-30 years old you could consider doing a door visit with a potentially higher likelihood of a purchase b/c the roof may be ready for a replacement. Home age can lead you to many actions based on your specific service. 

  • Recent events - Recent home purchases or loan events often indicate immediate or potential projects at the property. This is a good indicator of a propensity to make a purchase and can help you target your marketing and outreach efforts. 

  • Location - This is very straight forward but understanding the overall location of your best customers and then where other ‘look a like’ homes are located can let you target your marketing by zip code. 

  • Home size make up (bedrooms, baths, etc..) - We suggest getting an understanding of the home construction if your service is relevant to specific property make up. How many bathrooms, is there a basement or garage? If you offer services to a specific home construction aspect, getting this info will be invaluable when you are looking at who you want to work with. 

  • Property Details - This is a pretty big category but can include things like what type of AC unit or Roofing material is in use, the age of their heating units, whether a pool is on site and other variables that are relevant to your specific service. The more information you have going into an engagement, the faster you can deliver service or assess the value of the opportunity. 

Where can you get data?
  • Your team: Your team is interacting with your prospects and customers all day every day. If you can build quick and easy feedback loops for them to enrich your data, you can use this information to improve services, find new business and become more efficient. The issue that can arise from this collection method is the time it takes to ‘collect’ the data. If your team is spending 50% of their time in non-profit driven activities, thats a big cost center for most home services organizations. 

*Pro Tip: Find the most IMPORTANT thing that only your team get collect and make that their big input. Ditch the rest and find it in an more automated source

  • Your field management system: Your field management system (or CRM) houses a ton of historical data about customers and prospects. What we find is that these tools are very good at collecting and storing information but lack strong views and almost never include data outside of your own data set (so no data from other providers, or sources). We recommend you combine this data with other resources to 'enrich' your customer lists and get more insights than you have on hand.

  • Data brokers: There are lots of companies that can and will sell you data on all sorts of things (consumers, credit info, homes, economic data, traffic volumes, you name it… they’ve got it). Most of the time this is provided as a very large spreadsheet or you can connect to an API (which is just a software to software connector) and pull the data directly into another system. The issue that often comes up with these sources is that the data is very broad so you pay for a lot of stuff you DON’T NEED. You also don’t generally get much help or support in how to organize or handle the data after you buy it. You’re kind of on your own. 

  • Market research firms: For some larger operators you may look at a market research firm. They often have existing data or will do calls to research markets to help you understand the value of a new product or service (or geographic expansion). These reports usually come with a high price tag but will be well organized, easy to digest and give you a relatively ‘hands-off’ approach to understanding big market trends or opportunities. These do not really function on a customer by customer basis (unless you sell incredibly large commercial or government projects) so they are more about business strategy and less about day to day execution or individual job values. 

  • Customer Intelligence Platform: This is where GlassHouse stands as a unique offering in the market. A customer intelligence platform (CIP) combines data from inside your business and from other external sources. Customer data, home/property information, historical financial information and feedback from other services providers gives a view on potential engagements with buyers that you cannot get from mining your own historical CRM or outsourcing to a market research firm.

You’ve got a bunch of data… now what do you do? 
  • Is it accurate? Inaccurate data can lead you down bad paths. It often also erodes the trust of the team in the overall systems you have in place. If the answer to every decision is “well we know the data isn’t very accurate” then people are going to revert to their own gut-deicisons and disregard the data. Having 2-3 internal data points that you control very tightly is better than 20 that you don’t believe. Especially if you can collect the additional points externally with a higher degree of accuracy. 

  • Can you organize it? Once you have the data you want, how can you organize it to make it actionable. Spreadsheets aren’t a great solution for larger teams and they don’t support the field team very well. WE recommend arming your back office and support teams with tools that they can use in conjunction with your field management tools that they can easily share with the field. 

  • What does it tell you to DO? Getting and organizing data is only useful if you can make it actionable. Being able to use your data to make decisions about your business how you turn these insights into benefits. An example would be using customer payment history to set upfront payment terms and/or pricing to reduce risk of A/R or collections issues. We recommend setting thresholds on the data the result in specific actions or look at a tool that can give insights and suggestions out of the box. This is where a customer intelligence platform (that gives proactive suggestions) can help you turn your data into results.

Using data can be a strategic advantage
  • Saving you time and money - When you have more understanding of your customers you can improve the efficiency of your team. Less windshield time, less property inspection time, more jobs per hour and per tech. When you look at driving efficiency from your team, you can squeeze more revenue out of your existing lead flow. Property and buyer intel gives you a huge leg up in finding those efficiencies in the field. 

  • Growing your top line revenue effectively - When you have data on what your good buyers look like (where they are located, their home details, firmographics, etc…) you can target your efforts to attract and advertise to more of the same. This gets you out of a ‘spray and pray’ advertising posture an into a more targeted and focused (and efficient!) approach. 

  • Get more out of your ad and marketing spends - When you are spending significant investment on leads and advertising you are going to generate high value and low value opportunities. How you sift through these and prioritize the ‘gold’ is really important. That way you aren’t wasting time on low value or low win rate leads. Data helps you score your leads by seeing through the volume and into the important details of the jobs. 

Do you have a data strategy - if yes, how is it impacting your results? - If no, consider what the opportunity is to improve your business by starting down the path to utilizing data to grow your business.