Managing customer relationships is a massive undertaking. It gets even trickier as your business grows.
How can you ensure every customer has a positive interaction at every touchpoint? How can you anticipate their needs? How can you deliver marketing that will resonate with their pain points?
With customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can do all this and more. A CRM system brings all of your customer data together in a meaningful way.
However, choosing the best CRM software can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.
Let’s dive into the what, why, and how of customer relationship management software. When you understand how this technology improves business processes and customer relationships—and what the top CRM systems are today—you can choose the best solution for your company.
What Is CRM Software, and Why Do You Need It for Your Home Services Business?
In the home services industry, nothing’s more important than your customers. With loyal, satisfied customers, the sky’s the limit.
This is particularly true for service-based businesses, including:
- Landscaping companies
- General contractors
- Cleaning services providers
- Pest control
- HVAC companies
Your customers aren’t buying a product and walking out of the store (or navigating from your ecommerce page).
They’re interacting with you or your staff. So how they feel about the relationship has a bigger impact on your brand reputation and future sales.
If people don’t trust your business and have a good experience, they’re not going to contact you the next time they need your services. According to research by PwC, 71% of consumers say they’re unlikely to make a purchase if they lose trust in a company.
Nor will they recommend your services. That means you’re not going to have the positive online reviews required to encourage new sales.
Most people look at online reviews when searching for local services. In 2021, 77% of consumers were always or regularly reading reviews when browsing local businesses.
Customer relationship management software enables your business to get a 360-view of the customer experience. It helps you see, understand, and manage interactions with your current and potential customers, letting you ensure the trust factor and wow factor are always at play.
With a CRM, you have the insights your business needs to make sure customers are having the right experience at every stage of their journey, from prospect to lead to loyal customer.
The Benefits of Using CRM Software to Manage Your Customers
Businesses use CRM software to improve their marketing, sales process, and relationships.
Because it brings together all your data, you have a lot to gain:
- You have the visibility you need to understand the customer experience (CX).
- You can respond to trends in real-time.
- You’re able to deliver personalized experiences with automation.
Let’s dig deeper into these benefits.
Enhanced Visibility into the Customer Experience
Customer relationship management software enables your business to learn more about the customer experience through advanced reporting. If your system includes AI-powered data analysis, you’ll get even more useful results.
For example, you can track which customers offer a higher customer lifetime value. Armed with that information, you know which customer relationships are worth investing extra effort in.
You can also see details. For example:
- Which ads are bringing in leads
- Where customers are clicking on email messages
- How many times they’re opening an email
Ability to Pivot Quickly in Response to Real-Time Trends
If you implement a cloud-based system, your CRM will generate a real-time snapshot of performance metrics, sales activity, and other goals on customizable dashboards. The best CRM solutions will let you configure your dashboards based on the metrics that matter to your teams.
Instead of scratching your head when revenue slumps or wondering about your conversion rate, you can see all your metrics in one place. That makes it easier to identify where there are growth opportunities.
Having this live data enables your business to pivot quickly to ensure you’re meeting your customer experience goals.
Better Personalization with Software Automation
Another benefit of using a CRM system to manage customer relationships is the power of automation. Automation lets your teams save time on repetitive tasks while creating more personalized experiences. In other words, you can do more with fewer resources.
For example, you can create parameters that automatically segment prospects that were frustrated before becoming a lead.
Once they’re segmented, use automation to send a personalized email nurturing campaign to win these leads over. In this scenario, your company delivers an impactful lead-nurturing experience to multiple prospects with minimal manpower.
Ultimately, with a good CRM—one that offers the insights your home services business needs without being too hard to use—you can continually improve your customer experience. As a result, you’ll always be able to knock customer service out of the park.
6 Best CRM Software Solutions to Manage Your Customer Relationships
If you’ve started looking at CRM platforms, you know there are a ton of options on the market. But not all of them are a good choice for small to mid-sized local businesses.
Here’s a list of the ones that are.
1. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot is one of the most accessible options for small businesses because you can start using it for free. Also, with an intuitive interface, you can avoid a steep learning curve.
HubSpot offers all the essentials in one fluid cloud-based system:
- Up-to-the-minute pipeline management
- Automatic tracking of all customer interactions
- A single source of truth for every lead
It also comes with a massive library of integrations.
The main downside to be aware of: accessing upper-tier plans can be expensive for small businesses.
Explore HubSpot CRM.
Salesforce is another powerful option for small businesses. It has all the customer relationship and sales pipeline management features a home services business could ask for. You’ll get lead scoring, AI-powered forecasting, and more.
With several pricing tiers, this is a system that can grow with you.
The main downside: because it is so feature-rich, there is a steep learning curve.
3. Zoho CRM
You’ll have all the fundamental CRM tools with Zoho, including segmentation, predictive intelligence, and in-depth reporting.
Zoho comes with excellent mobile features. It’s worth considering if you have remote or hybrid employees.
The main downside with Zoho: the two entry-level tiers—Standard and Professional—have limited features. For example, most of the AI-powered tools are only available with an Enterprise subscription.
Looking for lower pricing? Freshsales offers time-saving automation and makes managing customer data a breeze. It also comes with built-in AI, making it easier to understand customers and leads, and a chatbot feature.
Like HubSpot, you can try Freshsales for free. The first paying tier comes with AI features, including AI Contact Scoring and up to 2,000 AI chat sessions a month.
The main drawback: the user interface isn’t as natural as other platforms. Also, there are some manual processes that can take extra time.
If you rely heavily on reporting to make business decisions, Insightly might be the best CRM software for your company. It comes with sophisticated reporting tools and customizable dashboards where you can see everything you want to know about your sales and marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) in one place.
This CRM system is designed for medium and large businesses, so it’s better suited to mid-sized home services companies.
The downside: the cost. This is one of the more expensive options, even at the first pricing tier.
6. Sage CRM
If your home services business stands out because of exceptional customer support and you want to keep it that way, Sage might be a good choice. It combines sales and lead management with support tools and plenty of marketing features.
With Sage, you can rely on one system to handle everything.
The main drawback: the pricing is unclear—you have to call a sales representative to find out the cost. Also, Sage may not be as user-friendly as other CRM solutions.
Explore Sage CRM.
7. improveit 360
If your team is constantly on the road, improveit 360 is highly mobile capable. Not only can they access job information and GPS navigation, they can also update quotes, process payment and close the job from the jobsite.
You can also track and manage leads and pull custom reports to visualize your data in real time. Their interface is tailored specifically to the home improvement industry.
The main drawback: like Sage CRM, you have to reach out via website form to get pricing.
Explore improveit 360.
8. MarketSharp CRM
One of the most robust in terms of features, MarketSharp streamlines CRM flow from lead to paid project. It allows you to flow leads from other sources into its database, keeping all of that information in one location. It also helps convert those leads into marketing opportunities with automated features like follow-up email, promotional offers and social media invites.
If you’ve recently completed a job, the Jobsite Radius Marketing feature ensures you don’t waste an opportunity to reach the neighbors. Automated direct mail showcases your project to other homes in the area.
The MarketSharp project management board also allows for detailed tracking and automated communication with customers and the team. If you have multiple jobs across widespread sites, this might be the best solution.
The main drawback: the features are impressive, but you pay for what you get. You have access to many of the features at entry level, but some of the most time-saving are reserved for the top level.
Explore MarketSharp CRM
How to Choose the Right CRM Software for Your Business
When comparing CRM systems, think about how each solution will fit within your company’s bigger picture. The reality is that the best CRM software on the market might not be the most suitable solution for your business.
What will fit your needs is software that helps you reach your goals without burdening your team with a complex user interface and a long implementation process. You also want your software to be able to grow with your business.
There’s a lot to consider, so let’s break down what you should think about when choosing a CRM.
Ease of Use
Will your staff need to go through hours of training to start using the technology, or is the design user-friendly and intuitive? Do you need a developer to create custom workflows and reports, or can a non-IT person handle these tasks?
To answer these questions, try different CRM solutions. Most systems offer a free trial period, so take advantage of the opportunity to play around with the technology and let your employees give it a test spin.
Test out different workflows, dashboard options, marketing automation tools, contact management tools, and reporting to find out if the software’s features are intuitive or not.
Alignment with Your Goals
What goals do you want your CRM to help you meet? Here are some possible goals a good system can help with:
- Streamline marketing processes and help you track the impact of marketing campaigns
- Manage relationships with new and existing customers
- Track leads and leads activity
- Better understand your customer base
- Generate custom reports
- Increase sales
- Save time and help your team work more efficiently
- Enable your teams to work remotely
List out what you hope to achieve with the software. Then, when comparing your options, keep the systems that do have the capabilities to help you reach those goals on your shortlist.
As your business grows, your customer relationship management needs may grow as well. As you reach new market segments and increase sales volume, you’ll need more automation to manage your business processes. You also might have to hire more employees.
A lot of the top CRM platforms have different pricing tiers, with the higher tiers giving you access to more advanced features. You should also be able to easily add users without changing your contract.
You can’t predict what your business will need five or 10 years down the road. But by choosing a flexible CRM now—one that integrates easily with other major business applications and that offers different service tiers—you should be able to make your system work for your business as it grows.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your CRM Software
Once you decide on a CRM, implement it, and are ready to start knocking your marketing and sales goals out of the park, you and your team still have a way to go. You’ll want to take a few steps to help your business get the most out of your new tool.
Here are a few things you can do.
Automate Manual Tasks
First things first: task automation. Look at ways to automate steps such as lead scoring, email messaging, and report generation.
This will help free up your sales team’s time and get you started with the software.
Segment Your Customers
Next up: customer segmentation. Guess what? Your customers aren’t all the same. Some offer your company more value. You want to find out who those customers are—and how to recognize leads that are likely to fall into this category.
Once you identify your most profitable customers, you can decide how to divide your resources efficiently.
Set Up Your Dashboards and Reporting
And finally: make sure you’re using your data well. Home in on the most important metrics you want to track and make them visible to your teams with custom dashboards, if possible.
You also want to customize the reporting or use the right reporting templates so you’re getting useful insights about your customers.
Finding the Right CRM for Your Home Services Business Is Worth the Effort
As a local home services business, you have to work extra hard to ensure your customers are happy. Because your small business is part of the community, your success depends on your local reputation.
The best CRM software will help you manage your relationships with prospects and customers. It empowers you to ensure every touchpoint sends out more of those feel-good, happy-customer vibes.
If you’re ready to take your customer relationships to the next level, choosing a CRM is your first step in the right direction. Here are four things you can do to move forward:
- Identify your goals. Is your priority to manage relationships? Increase profitability? Track leads?
- List the CRM platforms that have the tools you need to meet those goals.
- Pick your top three.
- Request a demo and give the software a try!