Building Your Transition Team
You've decided to make the transition to selling your services online and you understand the process. What's next? Now it's time to assemble the internal buy-in and resources to help make the transition a success.
Home service companies vary widely in terms of size, organizational structure, and human resources. Your organization might have clear organizational boundaries that create traditional departments of finance, operations, and marketing OR you could be the lucky person who wears 20 hats and is in charge of getting things done. Regardless of the size and makeup of your company, it is important that everyone who is involved in the “service order-to-fulfillment” workflow is on the same page and rowing in the same direction. Different stakeholders will be responsible for making decisions at different times to ensure the internal mechanics are known and understood. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key organizational departments and responsibilities they might be accountable for.
Your leadership team may bring the concept of e-commerce for service companies to the team OR the concept might be introduced by a team lead. Regardless of who brings the idea to the table, leadership needs to be on board as the transition is a strategic decision that can involve all areas of the organization. We believe that service companies who are willing to innovate and embrace e-commerce will dominate. Moving to e-commerce will take some getting used to within the organization though. Smaller companies might be able to make the transition more quickly and find that the transition Click to Buy Service provides a lot of operational elegance that may not currently exist and solve growth and technology challenges. Larger companies normally have more services, intricacies, and moving parts generally, so a transition might take a little bit more time, buy-in, orchestration, and attention to sanding down any rough edges.
Leadership’s job is clear:
- understand the why;
- set the course;
- establishing goals and velocity;
- clearly articulate priorities;
- remove blockers and appoint a transition lead (aka Transition Champion);
- commit to working through the implementation & empowering staff to resolve issues as they arise.
Your Operations team will be accountable for the inner workflow of how incoming free requests, paid requests, paid one-time service orders and recurring service orders are processed from receipt to fulfillment.
Additional responsibilities could include:
- Setting up credit card payment processing (if not handled by Finance);
- Identifying the email handling – who will receive requests for estimates and paid orders?;
- Who has access to view/manage orders, issue refunds, cancel orders, etc?;
- Developing communication workflows to help staff resolve any issues;
- ensuring all of the fine print associated with each service is approved by service managers and clearly communicated online to protect the business;
- testing the processes end-to-end to ensure leads aren’t lost once your experience goes live.
Finances’ job is fairly straightforward – get up to speed with Stripe (the payment processor), understand how it works, and work closely with the Operations team to ensure the influx of online payments are appropriately handled.
Additional assistance might include working closely with the Service Managers to:
- Ensure pricing strategies, packages, and payment plan models align with expected revenue goals. In most cases, selling online can drastically reduce sales commissions which creates a crossroads – charge the same and make more money OR play with discounting to quickly incentivize homeowners to “convert” – then begin cross-selling other services.
- Think about how to creatively break service payments into monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, and annual payments – allowing homeowners to build long-term relationships with your company and spread the cost of services out into smaller installments.
Service Managers / Directors
Service managers within your organization will have some very unique responsibilities during the transition. The more brave and creative they are, the faster your organization can make the transition.
Responsibilities normally include:
- Reviewing all services their respective departments provide.
- Identifying which services absolutely require a custom estimate.
- Identifying the most commonly requested services.
- Thinking creatively about how to break complex services into smaller “purchasable” touchpoints. Examples:
- what’s the cost of painting a room vs painting an entire house?
- can we offer one-time mosquito fogging, 3-month programs, and annual programs?
- how can we build annual programs out of one-off services like HVAC diagnostics?
- Identify how service pricing is calculated and if it falls into (or can be massaged to fit into) one of the four service buying models.
- Thinking through where add-on services can be utilized to upsell customers to buy correlated services in their department.
- Working through onboarding documents (provided by Click to Buy’s Onboarding Team) to accurately capture all of the service details a homeowner would need to read/understand before purchasing.
- Working with Operations to understand how leads will flow into their department’s work order processing.
- Working with Finance to find ways to creatively give homeowners more options to buy. Examples:
- breaking programs into monthly, quarterly, semi-annual installment plans
- offering discounts when a homeowner adds two (2) or more specific services to their cart that can be handled by the same technician. Example: If power washing and gutter cleaning are both in a user’s cart they get 10% off.
- considering how to handle the savings created by reduced sales commissions – is this extra profit or should service costs be reduced to incentivize the acquisition of new customers?
Your Sales team could be lightly impacted or greatly reduced depending on how much your team commits to transitioning to selling services online.
In lighter cases, you might simply need to adjust expectations with the Sales team that a new e-commerce model is being adopted to accommodate where the industry is going and how homeowners want to buy.
As selling services accelerates within the organization, leadership within the sales team could be responsible for downsizing the number of trucks on the road to those that are only providing estimates for services that simply can’t accurately be calculated online. These types of services normally fall into a category that requires a truly “custom” service like landscaping, bed bug remediation, etc. (even though you could still charge for the upfront consultation!).
Regardless of how a move to online selling impacts your team long term, in the short term, your Sales Director will need:
- to help adjust expectations across the team as potential work and sales commissions change.
- continue to think through other sales incentivization methods for the team to help drive sales.
- work closely with the Marketing team to creatively think through new opportunities and challenges.
If your business is large enough to support a marketing team – congrats! The primary focus during the transition should be protecting the brand and ensuring a consistent experience.
A successful conversion funnel is one with as little friction as possible. As such, ensuring your shopping cart is professional, on-brand (similar logo, colors, icons, photography, etc), is responsive to different devices, and includes content that shares an appropriate tone as your www/marketing site.
Marketing should also take the lead in working with Service Managers to acquire and organize all of their service content required to provide a consistent experience regardless of which service a homeowner might buy. Different department heads might have different writing styles, poor grammar, use different terms/abbreviations, etc. so it’s important to have some oversight into the content quality and tone before pushing the launch button.
Long term, Marketing’s focus will shift to thinking about how to increase online/paid sales, where/when to experiment with coupons and bundled discounts, and how more services can be deployed into your shopping cart.
If your business is not large enough to have Marketing leadership, have no fear. Your Click to Buy Services Onboarding team will do its best to help ensure all of the above is accomplished during your setup.
IT / Web Agencies
It’s fair to say that most service companies rely on outside, expert help to keep things running. In some cases, it makes sense to include these trusted partners in the transition conversation too. Examples of where your IT and digital partners (marketing and/or web team) might assist include:
- Serving as a technical liaison to your Onboarding team to assist with making any necessary updates to your DNS;
- Pointing/linking buttons, links, and call-to-action(s) on your website to your new shopping cart;
- Assisting with setting up cross-domain tracking in your Google Analytics account; and
- considering the new opportunities that come with being able to promote services that are packaged and offered a new and exciting way.