The Most Important Service Business Technology Trends in 2019
- May 27, 2019
- By: Vonigo
How often do you think about your service business technology? If you own a home services business like a cleaning company, moving business, a mobile dog spa company or something similar, you might feel like yours is mainly an analog trade.
The truth? It’s not. IT (information technology) isn’t just for Silicon Valley specialists. Once again, we take a look at the tech that’s helping to shape the home services industry.
There are some major technology trends developing right now that could revolutionize the way you run your home services business in the future.
In this article, we’ll look at six of the most exciting service business technology trends happening right now. Some may not be brand new, but they continue to emerge and affect the industry.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) simply refers to extending internet connectivity beyond laptops, mobiles, and desktops into everyday objects.
- Smart thermostats
- Home assistants and smart speakers
- Smart appliances
- And the one most relevant to home services businesses: smart doorbells and door locks
In most cases, running a home service business means relying on the homeowner to be around in order to gain access to a property to do your job. The exception, of course, is if you have a regular customer that has given you a key or a client who trusts their neighborhood enough to leave a spare key under the welcome mat or plant pot.
However, smart doorbells door locks – ones that allow the homeowner to open their door remotely from anywhere with their smartphone – have become increasingly popular. Home service operators will be able to operate independently of their clients’ at-home schedules to get their work done. The added convenience and flexibility will have implications for the way service businesses and their customers schedule their time.
Not long ago, the majority of home services businesses took payment in either check or cash or were forced to invoice to be paid at a later date.
Why? Because on-the-spot payments weren’t possible, often due to the lack of availability or prohibitive price of payment platform options.
Today, everyone from plumbers to window cleaners can take instant debit or credit card payments thanks to the recent proliferation and democratization of proximity payment tools. Options include Zettle, Sum Up, Square, PayPal Here, WorldPlay, and Evo Payments.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Hollywood movies like Minority Report and I, Robot have made AI out to be a space-age concept.
In reality, it’s already a part of everyday life and it’s expanding rapidly. AI refers to machines that behave in ways that mimic human intelligence. For example, machines that learn as they go or use rules and reasoning to reach conclusions.
An obvious example of this is with robotic vacuum cleaners. Stats suggest that the average person spends an hour and seven minutes vacuuming their homes every week. If professional cleaning companies are doing the same for their clients, imagine the hours that can be saved by using a robot.
And the same technology can be found in floor polishers, lawnmowers, and more. Who wants to be the first homeowner on the block to hire the robotic lawnmower company to mow their yard? The time for first-mover advantage has already arrived.
Home Services of the Future?
Taking it one step further, robotics company Aeolus is working on developing a full robotic maid that can do tasks such as picking up items from the floor and putting dishes away. They’re also working on a version that can move furniture, which could have implications for moving
companies in the future, too.
In May 2019, Ford starting testing a delivery robot. The company plans for it to partner the technology with a fleet of self-driving cars.
Many home service businesses employ remote workers so they can cater to larger service areas. The sort of interactive technology that allows remote workers to communicate with each other and HQ is having a halcyon year in 2019.
Video chat technology such as Zoom and Skype is improving year on year. Zoom alone is now used by more than 100 million people worldwide. Plus team chat platforms such as Slack are taking off in a big way.
Meanwhile, the hardware that supports these interactive technologies, like interactive displays with touchscreen technology, is becoming increasingly sophisticated.
At a conference at the end of 2018, Google revealed that 46% of searches made through the search engine had local intent. It also reported that ‘near me’ mobile searches, especially those including the word ‘buy’, had gone
up by 500% in the last two years. In other words, increasing numbers of people are searching the internet for local businesses and services in order to solve a problem or address an immediate need.
Now, in order to ensure they’re more visible to local searchers, home services businesses will need to carry out a few SEO (search engine optimization) checks. These include:
- Ensuring you have a Google My Business page
- Being certain that all your local identifiers, such as your address and operating hours, are available on your website
- Allowing customers to review your company through both Google my Business, Facebook, and more — in 2017 Search Engine Journal called online reviews ‘the most prominent local SEO ranking factor’
According to a recent investigation by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, as both large and small-to-medium-sized businesses adopt chatbot tech. Businesses with
smaller budgets can simply enable the chatbot functionality in social media sites such as Facebook and others.
Chatbots look set to become even more important in the near term. Research by Gartner suggests that 60% of millennials already use chatbots on a regular basis and usually report having a positive experience with them.
For home services businesses, they will be most effectively employed for customer service tasks; everything from taking orders to recommending products and services.
Home Services Business Software
Each year, the number of companies using service business management software continues to grow. But so too does the sophistication of the users within those companies.
It often starts as a desire for a more convenient way to manage the booking, scheduling, invoicing, and payments in these companies. But the most ambitious companies start to use the available metrics to find efficiencies throughout their organization, from how many leads they convert, to how many jobs each technician or team completes in a week.
Pippa Edelen is the Global Director of Marketing for Avocor.
With more than 20 years in the B2B display industry, Pippa has been a part of projects for some of the biggest names in collaboration and commercial displays.
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