Introducing ServiceMonster Pay

I am happy to announce the addition of ServiceMonster Pay to the SM Marketplace.

Though this new payment option has additional benefits to both our clients and ServiceMonster directly, I first and foremost want to be clear that our existing payment providers like Stripe, and gateway providers like Authorize will continue to be available. We will always be committed to offering our clients choices, that’s just how we do business.

The relationship between software companies and payment processing is rarely discussed, but I have always pushed a culture of transparency at ServiceMonster. That is why I am using this post to share not only the details of our new payment option for ServiceMonster, but also why our competitors have been offering their own payment options for years.

All CRM companies that offer their own payment processors get a kickback from charges processed with their internal system; in our case this system is SM Pay. So, let’s talk about why this is so popular among CRMs, and why I think this is a good move for ServiceMonster. Our competitors get up to $12,000 for every $1,000,000 they process through their system. This adds up fast when you consider how many invoices get processed through CRMs every year.  At ServiceMonster, our platform processes $500,000,000 in cleaning invoices each year, so if only a small number of ServiceMonster users choose SM Pay it could mean a big upside for our company.

You might be wondering, where does that upside come from? Let me explain; If you’re not using SM Pay and instead opt to use PayPal, Square, or Authorize, all fees you pay to process a transaction go directly to the merchant you’ve chosen. In short, the percentage you pay with every transaction goes straight to the bank.

With SM Pay, things are different. Because we are now direct partners with a merchant, we can control our rates by cutting out another bank or payment processor. Operating SM Pay has its own complexities and expenses- for example we are responsible for chargebacks, reconciliation, PCI compliance, and fraud. These are all expenses we need to factor into the rates offered through SM Pay, but ServiceMonster makes its money on subscriptions, not ancillary payment charges, so we can keep our payment fees as low as possible.

At launch, our fees will be set up to give you the best rate we can offer. The rates we charge are based on how many payments we process, and as the number of people using SM Pay increases so too will our power to get better rates.

As SM Pay grows, we have three options:

1.    Use the extra cash from SM Pay to continue to improve ServiceMonster with more development resources, more hardware, and more benefits to you.

2.    Reduce the credit card charge rates.

3.    Pocket the cash.

I have no interest in pursuing option 3.  ServiceMonster is doing well, and we don’t need to pocket the extra cash, so we will be implementing a combination of options 1 and 2. Our plan is to use any kickbacks we get to reinvest in our product, to improve the experience for you in your scheduling software, and to offer even lower rates in SM Pay.

From a fellow business owner, the most important character trait I look for around cash, is trust. We take great pride in the relationships we have established with you over these last 20 years. This is one reason it has taken us so long to offer a direct payment solution. Not only do we want to maintain the trust we have earned, but we needed to have some idea that the partner we worked with would help us maintain that level of confidence- and I’m proud to say I have full confidence in ServiceMonster Pay. It is safe to say the wait has paid off.

So yes, ServiceMonster is now offering a direct payment solution.  While the kickbacks we may get are a win for us and our product, that isn’t the only reason I’m excited about ServiceMonster Pay. The team here has been working hard to meet one of my biggest objectives; with SM Pay you will be able process checks in ServiceMonster. This feature is one of the biggest reasons we developed SM Pay, and it is unique to our product. Check processing in SM Pay is another great example of how we are always working hard to make your business easy to operate, and hopefully more fun to operate too.

Get the most current rates and features here, and you can sign-up for ServiceMonster Pay in the SM Marketplace.

Feature Focus
Category:
The Story of CHIIRP

I’m Ryan Fenn, Co-founder & CEO of Chiirp, a ServiceMonster integration that lets you automate text messages, emails, voicemails and so much more… Here’s the story of how CHIIRP came to be:

Determination: In 2010, after having worked for someone else for a while, my brother and I decided that we would start out on our own and become business owners rather than remain employees. We had learned a lot from that employer - just as much about what not to do as what to do. We decided to start our very own windshield repair business.

I had been married only a few years and my first son was a newborn. The three of us lived in a tiny apartment and I had zero dollars in my savings account. I didn’t finish high school so I felt that advancement through traditional employment wasn’t an option for me. If we were going to make it, it was entirely up to me. But I wasn’t about to let my wife and son starve so I hit the pavement.

Our First Business: We started selling windshield repair and replacement services door to door. Within only a couple of weeks, I was making more money than I ever had and I felt like I could support my family as an entrepreneur. This was an empowering time for me and I was excited about our future.

As the weeks went by we grew tired of selling door to door and began brainstorming methods to grow our business without knocking on doors every day. It took us a while to figure it out but we ended up providing windshield repair services to customers in auto dealerships when they came in for other services like oil changes and maintenance. Soon we had grown our little startup into 9 dealerships.

The Light Bulb: That’s when it hit me! An idea that changed everything. I wanted to help young entrepreneurs start their own windshield repair businesses. I started putting together training videos and within about 4 months I had created a digital course that taught how to start a windshield repair business from the ground up. I also reached out to windshield repair tool manufacturers who agreed to sell me equipment at wholesale pricing with my company logo.

I taught everything from setting up your business, sourcing glass, repairing chips, dealing with payment and insurance, and getting locations like dealerships.

Success: I first started posting local classifieds and leads started trickling in. I got my first sale - Josh! He bought my equipment and my training course in March of that year and started his own windshield repair business. By August he had made $60,000. I legitimately helped somebody start a successful business. The fulfillment I felt was like nothing else. I loved helping him succeed! I started advertising more heavily. Leads started pouring in. Some days I’d get as many as 300 inquiries. I couldn’t keep up. As the leads came in I’d text them and try to get them to schedule an appointment. We were booked out for days and we were selling a lot of windshield repair equipment.

Automate to Grow: That’s when I started to learn about automation and that’s when it all came together. I would automatically text my leads as they came in and automatically follow up with them to get them to book an appointment. Once I had it dialed in, I didn’t have to do anything manually except SELL to my red hot appointments. Everything else was taken care of with automation.

We were selling our product for between $1500 and $3000 and we’d typically sell 2-3 per day. My brother and I sold windshield repair equipment and training for 3 years and we grossed over $2,000,000. Quite a jump from zero savings and a tiny apartment. We helped over 1000 people start their own windshield repair businesses. We had hundreds of text messages from people thanking us and telling us how awesome their new life as an entrepreneur was.

CHIIRP Was Born: At this point, I knew that the process we were using with text message automation was working extremely well. This would be great for any business. This was the future of sales! So once again, I started over. This time with a much bigger picture goal - to create software that would allow any business to get the same benefits that I was experiencing without piecing together many different applications.

I raised a small amount of investment money through a friend of the family, contacted an old friend who was a software developer (one of the best software engineers in the world in my opinion), and invited a close friend to join us. The three of us started building what became CHIIRP. Our goal was to build an automated lead follow-up and customer nurturing tool that would allow small business owners to grow their companies and still have time for their families. Venture Capital money seemed focused on profits over value, which was not the way we wanted to build a business. We believed that slow growth focused on our customer’s success would build lasting customers and ultimately, friends.

In our first couple of years, we built CHIIRP by introducing it to any and all business types that would use it. We basically sold it to any business we felt would benefit from its automation capabilities. We knew we wanted to focus on a specific niche but we just weren’t sure who could benefit the most from it. That’s when Oscar, a carpet cleaner in Denver found us. He started using CHIIRP to create follow-ups for his carpet cleaning business. He created lead conversion campaigns, estimate follow-up campaigns, appointment reminder campaigns and so many more. Oscar started experiencing huge improvements in his business - just as I had learned from my previous business. More of his leads were converting into jobs, more of his jobs were turning into 5-star reviews and more of his past clients were re-booking with him.

Oscar opened our eyes & minds to the home services industry. We found quickly that CHIIRP was the perfect tool for home services companies. Small businesses where entrepreneurs could grow through automation. CHIIRP's capabilities and automations lined up perfectly with the industry’s needs.

CHIIRP began to focus and started integrating with the leading home service CRMs. We are now just finishing up a very deep integration with ServiceMonster and couldn’t be more excited to introduce our product to the ServiceMonster family.

Sure, CHIIRP provides text messaging, ringless voicemail, email, Facebook Messaging (and soon Google Messaging). But the real-time saving and money-making benefits are in the automation. CHIIRP provides…

  • SiteChat: That bubble in the lower right corner of your website that allows you to start conversations with new customers through text messages (not chat that forces your customer to remain online).
  • QuickPages: Forms that can stand alone or be embedded in your website that can collect information and start one-on-one or automated conversations.
  • Campaigns: This is the magic that ties everything together and allows our clients to spend more time with their families. Campaigns provide for automated lead conversion, automated estimate follow-ups, automated and customized appointment reminders, automated communication during service, automated requests for reviews, periodic service reminders, collection messages, keyword lead captures, really, whatever you can dream up. Campaigns can even ask questions, log responses, and branch into additional campaigns based on those responses. Campaigns are fully customizable with text messages, emails, and ringless voicemail and can be as frequent as you want.
  • Integrations: Our deep integrations allow you to start campaigns at each and every step of the way. This deep integration into ServiceMonster will let you design the perfect flow for your business. We also integrate with many outside softwares, including Zapier. Your imagination is the only limit to the automations you can build.

Our goal with CHIIRP is to give you, the home services industry entrepreneurs, the freedom you need to create the perfect customer journey for your business. By automating your communication from the very beginning you will build deep and lasting relationships with your customers. This process will free up your time while nurturing your leads and maintaining communication with your customer base. It’s literally relationship-building on autopilot.

Come check us out and see how CHIIRP can help you capture more leads, connect more authentically, and close more deals using our newly launched ServiceMonster integration.

Sign-up for CHIIRP here.

Marketplace
Category:
New Year's Eve Hours for ServiceMonster Support

Hello and happy holidays,

ServiceMonster phone support will be available 7am-1pm PST on Thursday, December 30th and will be closed Friday, December 31st. Our support team will be back in the office with regular hours starting Monday, January 3rd.

The same schedule will be followed for support tickets submitted via email.

Thank you for understanding our revised schedule during this joyous time of year, and happy New Year's from the team at ServiceMonster!

ServiceMonster News
Category:
Lead Capture and Automated Marketing

To automate your marketing strategy, two core facets need to be addressed. The first is capturing attention and acquiring leads, the second is the follow-up after you capture them. Before addressing any of the processes involved in automated marketing, you need a place for potential leads to land on the internet. The web presence of your business is crucial to potential customers contacting you. This includes your social media (i.e., Facebook and Instagram) your google business presence, and a strong website.

Social media can be addressed in a wide variety of ways, but it is good to post at least a couple times a week. These posts can be before and after pictures of job sites, “value add” posts that explain the benefits your service offers, or positive reviews of your business (NiceJob offers an excellent product that automatically turns your best reviews into social posts.) While not the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, social media is a great way to build trust with web-based leads.

Google’s business is centered around managing your reviews on google, which is critical to your business being found on the internet. Google functions as the modern phone book and is the first-place people will go when searching for a service. Google geolocates your business and will place it above normal websites if you have strong reviews and manage your presence through the google business suite. Your website is where you capture a lead.

When a potential customer finds your business, the website for your business is where they go to learn more about your company and book an appointment. On your website it is essential to have a lead capture form, where they enter their information for you to follow up with them. The information you collect from leads is essential to automating your marketing strategy.

 

Here is a hypothetical journey of a potential customer. First, they query google, for example they search “HVAC installation.” Google automatically finds their location, and matches them with results in their area, displaying a list of businesses in google maps at the top of the search results. These results include a phone number, links to social media, and a star-based rating. Most importantly they include a link to your website. This is where a potential lead will vet your business, checking your past reviews, social media presence, and the information on your website. From there, they can call you via the number you have listed on google or opt to book a call or appointment from your website. In a best-case scenario, they either call you directly from google, which you can track via the google business suite, or they navigate to your website where they book a call or appointment. This is where the magic happens.

 If they are booking through your website, you can capture their information directly through a form. For example, you could have a form that asks “Interested in our services?” and provides a way for them to schedule a phone consultation. This form can ask for a variety of information, but their name, phone, and email are essential. If you want to go beyond this, we recommend asking for specifics about the type of work they are interested in so that you can address their needs as soon as you contact them.Once they enter information on your site, you need a system in place that notifies you and creates a customer record in a database. While you can use a tool like google sheets to log this data, it is best to create a record in a CRM (customer retention management) database. CRM products offer a suite of tools that let you track interactions with a potential customer and eventually convert them into a paying customer. A CRM also makes it easy to manually add a customer if they come to you organically, in other words through a source that is out of your control, like finding your phone number.

After you have started to build a database of leads, it’s time to market your service to them. It is incredibly important to operate a complete and accurate database, so that you are not wasting time and money marketing to customers that are not truly interested in the service you provide. A preemptive step you can take to help maintain a clean database is to ask more from your customers in the form where the lead is captured. While asking more of potential leads early on will result in some dropping off before submitting their information, it will result in only the most motivated clients making it into your database.

With your database built and cleaned, there are a plethora of ways that you can automate marketing to these leads, but before automating marketing it is critical that you make the initial contact directly. This can be a phone call to discuss their needs, or an email responding to the details they listed in your lead capture form. No matter how you directly follow up, it is important to do so quickly. When a customer reaches out, it is rare that they only reach out to one provider, with most opting to reach out to the top 2-5 companies they find in their initial search. A prompt response increases your chances of winning their business and is a near guarantee that you will beat a competitor that fails to respond within the first 24 hours. 

After initially reaching out, it’s time for automation to take over. The most direct way to automate your marketing is through something called a drip campaign. A drip campaign is a series of emails that are scheduled to go out after a specified period elapses and begin when a customer is added to that email list. As an example, an initial email is sent that thanks the lead for reaching out, a week later an email is sent that outlines/clarifies the services your business offers, and two weeks later a final email promotes a deal or specific service. Through your CRM or customer database, you can automate updates to the drip campaign process. This will allow you to set a rule that removes a lead from the drip campaign if they book an appointment or move them to another drip campaign if they request a quote but do not book an appointment. This sort of automation ensures your marketing stays relevant to a given client and alters the messages you send them based on their interaction with your business.

Automated marketing can work wonders for past clients as well. In fact, you may have a longer list of past clients than new leads, especially if you are new to lead generation. A drip campaign that sends follow up emails after a job is completed can be a great way to leave a positive impression after you have completed work, oreven request that the customer leave a review on google.

Mass email campaigns, on the other hand, work differently than drip campaigns in that they send a single email to a large list all at the same time. Mass emails are a good way to seasonally remind clients of your services or promote specials. If you operate a cleaning business, it is easy to send a spring-cleaning reminder to all your past clients, or if you are struggling to book jobs during the off season you can offer a discount to all your past clients via email. Again, this is a place where a proper CRM has advantages over a simpler database system, because it can facilitate the generation of lists based on advanced qualifiers so that you can separate customers by the type of services they need, or their last date serviced, allowing you to tailor your mass emails to match the needs of customers more accurately. Past clients are some of the best customers to market to because they have already chosen to do business with you, making the sales process easier than if they are simply shopping around for a service.

 

Email marketing is the cornerstone of a marketing automation strategy, so make sure you're doing it right. ServiceMonster offers a suite of tools focused on marketing automation, including a full CRM capable of drip campaigns.




General
Category:
ServiceMonster Podcast Episode 69

In this episode of The ServiceMonster Podcast, Joe, Adam, and Mary discuss what makes for great Customer Support & Service, and why it is so important to your business. Also in this episode, we go over the latest updates to the ServiceMonster software, and break down some posts from SMUG. Be sure to check back every week for new episodes! You can watch the episode below, or listen here.

Podcast
Category: