Selling and setting appointments is one of the major parts of running a home inspection business. There are three main options for answering calls: do it yourself, hire someone in house, and a home inspection scheduling service.
Think about this simple question: If you’re out in the field, how are you going to answer your calls?
Imagine being a home buyer (or maybe you’ve experienced this yourself recently). You just put in an offer on a house and now you have only 10 days to get a home inspection. Your Realtor gave you a list of 3 recommended home inspectors. You’ve done some research on these guys online and have decided that a few of them look better than the others. You call your number one pick, but get an answering machine. You really want to get this thing scheduled so you can have your questions about the house answered. Plus, you don’t want the timeline to get messed up. Do you leave a message? Probably not. You think, if I call the next guy and he doesn’t answer, Ill come back to this one. But guess what, you call the next guy and he answers. He sounds legit and has good answers to the questions you ask so you book an appointment.
Just like that, the business that should have been yours has gone to the competition. After all the work it took to create a relationship with the agent and get on the list. After all the time and money it took to make your website look professional. The other guy gets the business!! And you know why?
Because he answered the phone.
Answering the call
You can’t get anywhere without answering the phone. How can you tell the customer how knowledgeable you are? How can you answer their questions and make the sale? The answer is you can’t.
That’s how important it is to answer the phone when a potential customer calls.
Some inspectors do answer calls during inspections and return calls afterwards. And they do some business that way. Sure, there are people out there who only want to work with you. But you can believe the situation outlined above happens all the time. If the client has never worked with you, they don’t know that much about you or your competition. So it doesn’t matter that much to them who they choose. You and I know that it does matter and it should matter to them who they choose. But they don’t know that. In this business you have to stand out from the pack, and being there when they call is one way that you can do that.
In order to make sure every call is answered, you either need to hire someone in house our hire a call center. Outsourcing to a call center is much cheaper than hiring someone in house, but you have less control over how they sell your services. Hiring someone in house means you truly have someone who is going to be on your team. Their full livelihood depends on how well they do for you. You can set sales goals and train them to sell the way you sell. While the phones aren’t busy you can give them other tasks to do. It’s more likely that someone on your own team will be able to build relationships with your agents who repeatedly call. You’ll know that anytime an agent calls they’re going to get the same person on the other end of the line.
There are a few call centers who cater specifically to home inspectors. Knowing the ins and outs of the industry is a huge benefit when selling your services. So you definitely want to go with a scheduling service that is only for home inspectors. Luckily there are a few to choose from.
Scheduling Centers to choose from
America’s Call Center
Though the name sounds broad, America’s Call Center is just for home inspectors. They call themselves a “strategic partner” with the goal of feeling like an extension of your business. They will take your sales pitch and use that when people call your business. So you can tailor what they say when speaking with your clients. Plus, they promise to sell more add-on services on top of booking your inspections.
Inspector Call Center
Inspector Call Center was started by an inspector who couldn’t find a call center that he felt good about using. They advertise an average closing rate of 85%. Coordinating with third party vendors and entering appointments into ISN is also included.
Inspector Services Group Call Center
ISG will book your appointments through their online software 24/7. They charge per inspection, so the amount you pay is based on how much the do for you. As they book an appointment for you, they will enter it into your schedule. So you know right away when a new job comes in. Plus you can always see how full your schedule is.
CMS is a large call center company that caters to many industries, of which home inspection is one. They operate on a per-minute pricing plan for calls, but will schedule appointments too. This may be a good option to consider if you just need a little help. If you only have one inspection per day, so you only need a few hours covered, you might consider this.
Thinks to keep in mind
Something to keep in mind is the level of service you are looking for. You need to find out how much time each company will spend with your clients. And then ask yourself what level of service you want to provide for your clients. Some companies are not going to spend time selling your services, they’re just going to fill out the appointment form. Some may say they will sell your services, but they might not do it to the level you are looking for. Do a few test calls to see what they’re like. Be sure to track your sales conversion numbers before you sign up with a service. That way you’ll have something to measure the call center’s success against.
I would suggest upping your other marketing efforts if you choose to use a call center. Your conversion rate will probably go down. To account for that, you need to get more people calling. Know your marketing budget before you look into the scheduling service.
Of course, you need to consider what is right for your business. If it’s just you and you are getting a lot of calls while you’re inspecting, someone filling out a scheduling form would seem amazing. It’s all about what you need and what you can afford. But of course, there are always things to think about when making any decision. Deciding whether or not to use a home inspection scheduling service is something you’ll have to decide for your business.