In field service, your customer storefront is your truck, your appearance, your website, and your phone number. Maintaining a storefront for replacement parts and white good sales makes sense, but field service has to focus on these other areas to reach new customers and re-engage old ones.
While ensuring you have a dynamic website is important, how your business is listed online is just as important. Like in the 20th century, it was important to ensure your business was listed correctly in the phone book. Now in the 21st century, you need to ensure online directories have accurate information as well. We call these online directories, citations, which are any site that has a company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) listed.
Examples of citation sites are Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Merchant Circle, CitySearch, Bing Places, and there are dozens more to consider. Like the phone books of days past, an owner needs to ensure that their listing has accurate and up-to-date info pertaining to their business. The mistake that many company owners make is setting it once and never looking at it again. The internet is not a static entity, it moves and changes like the wind and bad tactics sprout up as fast as the good tactics do.
A simple mistake can occur like it did with Fred’s Appliance Service, where a DSL (internet connection) number ended up being listed by accident to these online directories. The DSL number would ring forever with no answer. An unintended mistake by the DSL company that caused major issues for Fred’s Service. Customers would be calling for hours with no luck assuming the company is closed and taking their business elsewhere. Unlike an appliance, there is no error code for this type of stuff. The damage is hard to calculate since Fred’s has no idea how long the issue was present and how many people tried to call with that number.
A mistake is not the only way this can happen though. Take this recent news story of a customer calling the number on the Google listing only to have a scam artist pretend to be the company mentioned. It wasn’t until she found a different number listed on a different website that she discovered the issue. The company owner was not checking his own company listings online and allowing criminals to siphon customers away while ruining his reputation in the process.
Now ensuring your customers have the right information is important but it’s also important to search engines like Google and Bing. Google My Business and Bing Places are citation websites, not the search engine themselves. Just because you have a Google My Business listing does not mean you will show up when someone types “appliance repair near me”. Search engines pull from all citation sites in an attempt to narrow down the best results to search queries. So having your business listed on as many citation sites as possible will help your exposure online.
So what do you do? Start by taking the time to review your Google My Business, Bing Places, Facebook, and Yelp listings. Make sure you have the correct info, including your hours of operation(Don’t forget to set Holiday hours!). The difficult part is keeping an eye on these listings, but like we mentioned earlier, there are dozens more that need to be maintained and observed. We recommend reaching out to a marketing company like Fluid Services who can help fix these listings while providing weekly reports of the most common directories. This will give peace-of-mind knowing that your customers are going to find the most accurate contact information for your company.