A good performance-based compensation strategy does three things:
1. Attracts performance-driven employees.
2. Keeps them.
3. Incentivizes them to push beyond their current best.
Meaning, your best employees will consistently improve if you give them the right incentives.
That said, compensation is only a single piece of the puzzle — a big piece — but a piece nonetheless.
Know Your Employee’s Perspective
It’s important to understand your employee’s perspective when you put together your compensation strategy. In some areas of the world, pay is a matter of life or death. Here, it’s not.
For most of us (some might argue all of us), maintaining a competitive compensation is a must.
Now that you know your employee’s perspective, you can plan out the core of your strategy.
Types of Performance-Based Pay
Here’s a few examples of performance-based pay:
-Billable hour bonus structure
-Piece-rate pay for installers
-Commission for sales
-Hourly plus spiff
Your tech gets put in a truck and sent out into the world with your brand and reputation fluctuating with every action he makes.
They’re on their own. You usually won’t see him until the next morning.
Unfortunately, you have very little if any oversight to what they do in someone’s house.
You place an insane amount of trust in your techs, because you have to.
Heroically strong management is what you need, but that’s a challenging role to fill as a growing business.
So it’s vital to teach your people how to represent your company.
Instill your expectations, and hold them to it.
Your manager, heroic or not, will never be omnipresent.
This is why I like performance-based pay.
Why I Love Performance-Based Pay
Performance-based pay gets them to do the things you need them to. Especially the “above and beyond” spiff-worthy things that they should do anyway, but…
…probably won’t, like tagging shut off valves with branded shut-off tags. I’d even give them incentives to take off competitors stickers.
Simply put, it works. So I like it.
Why I Dislike Performance-Based Compensation
If you take it too far, performance-based pay is a nightmare.
If you focus more on performance-based pay than a strong culture of expectations, you’ll develop a “we only do this when we get paid” mentality. That’s an expensive problem.
Here’s something you all know. Techs are hard to find.
So they tend to get away with a lot more.
Here’s something you may not know. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Find the Balance
You have to set certain expectations and ensure they’re adopted by your culture. Tagging shutoff valves with branding material is something they should do on their own. And they won’t.
Unless you create a culture where it’s not just expected but enforced. Not by you. Not by your manager. By everyone.
Because you aren’t in the field every day with every tech, and neither is your manager (although he should be going out with them almost every day).
When your techs see someone leave without planting a tag, they should immediately report the incident.
That’s one example of the many expectations you should set.
More than anything, just remember that there’s a point of balance between performance-based compensation and a culture of positive expectations. It’s not easy to find it, but it’s there, and it’s worth finding.
When it’s all said and done, performance-based pay works, and it usually works very well. But don’t lose sight of developing a culture that gets them to do the things they should already be doing without extra pay.
Defining your target market is the first step to judicious marketing. If you don’t know who you are trying to reach, you will waste tons (and tons) of marketing money!
So how do you determine and define who to target?
There are many different methods for defining your target market. I find that the easiest and most useful way is to use a target market (TM) grid chart. Below, I’ll help you put together your own TM grid chart. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just handwritten and taped to the wall in your office.
If you have never put your target market in writing, do it now. I guarantee you that if you put your target market in writing you will end up wasting less time making marketing decisions and ultimately, waste a LOT less on failed marketing projects.
Identify your ideal decision-maker (this is your TM). Ideally, this is an actual person in your practice that might represent the entire group.
In the top left corner, start by defining the demographic characteristics of your TM.
Family characteristics and ages
What do they admire?
What do they dislike?
Next, in the top right of the chart, detail your TM’s external pressures.
What do they feel pressured by society to do/think?
What do they feel pressured by society to not do/think?
What do they feel pressured by their peers to do/think?
What do they feel pressured by their peers to not do/think?
In the bottom left of the chart, detail your TM’s internal aspirations. Hint: These are likely to be related to the previous two quadrants.
What does your TM want out of life?
What are they seeking over the next year?
What are they seeking over the next 5 years?
What are they seeking over the next 20 years?
Also include (in a separate section) specific annoyances of your TM . Likely these will be things impeding them from efficiently and effectively moving toward their aspirations.
Next, in the bottom right of the chart, write down your TM “know and feel” factors.
What does your TM desire to help them with seeking their aspirations?
What does your TM think and feel when mulling over their aspirations and annoyances?
What does your TM want that helps them overcome their annoyances?
What specific statements would they make if they verbalized their wishes in regards to seeking their aspirations?
Bonus: Actually print a picture of your ideal customer. Tape it in the center of your TM grid. This will help make the grid “come to life.”
If you are having trouble finding a picture of the specific person, just search them on Facebook.
Here is an example of TM grids that should help you understand what the final product should look like.
Does your 24-7 live chat service include Facebook and Google Messenger?
Home service company chat should, and I’ll tell you why.
Facebook messenger has 1.3 billion active monthly users, and that’s far from the main reason you should be using it.
Over 2 billion messages are sent each month — between people and businesses.
And yet still, that’s not the primary reason — this is:
Facebook Messenger has 100% deliverability, 80%-90% open rates and click-rates over 50%.*
This shows how readily customers accept and open messages from companies sent via Facebook Messenger, and how receptive they are to the content within the message.
Let’s put that into perspective, starting with Messenger stats, and ending with a case study and snapshot.
It’ll cover the combined power of Messenger, SMS, and 24-7 Live Chat, so you can see what these tools can do for home service companies on an individual level.
Compare Messenger stats to the home service company email open (19.68%) & click-through (7.2%) rates.
So should we dump email as a relic of the past?
Email still boasts a powerful ROI for residential service companies, and to avoid belaboring the point, I’ll leave it at this.
So how much better will Facebook Messaging work — with its 80%+ open rate and 50%+ click-through rate?
And Google Messenger isn’t far behind — the stats are still in the works, but we expect to see impressive results from them too!
Back to the question —
Is your live chat service leveraging the power of these platforms?
Because while it’s true to say that 24-7 live chat is powerful as a standalone service, without SMS, Facebook Messenger and Google Messenger, it’s not nearly as effective as it could be.
Let’s take a look at the numbers from a real life 24-7 Live Chat + Facebook Messenger + Google Messenger case study.
For starters, here’s how Ruby performs for residential service clients on average.
Home Service Industry 24-7 Live Chat Service Stats
With a Ryby Chat Specialist (Digital CSR) added to the team, home service companies are able to convert 35% of their chats into quality leads.
Their average response time is 30 seconds, to deliver what many consider an unmatched online customer service experience.
Customers responded with the highest rating possible.
Why is 24-7 live chat so effective?
It’s not an easy question.
A big part of it is the convenience of getting answers immediately.
Another piece in the puzzle is the quality of the information given, and the way it’s delivered, with a human connection (from people, not automated responses).
This is what it looks like in real life.
Client Spotlight: Hunter Super Techs
The home service market emphasis on speed, efficiency, and a masterful, frictionless customer service is far from a misplaced set of ideas.
Amazon is redefining customer expectations with frictionless sales and customer service.
Customers have been clear in expressing and indicating by their actions what they need in 2018, and companies like Hunter Super Techs recognize the need to meet the rising demand.
Simply put, the challenge is:
To meet the growing need for frictionless speed, above & beyond customer service, and an authentic human connection.
Above & Beyond Customer Service
Ruby Chat Specialists set Hunter Super Techs apart in the digital arena by delivering the above & beyond customer service that goes beyond even the highest demands of the modern customer.
Part of this is simply being there when the customer needs them, regardless of the day or hour.
24/7 customer service makes a real difference for home service companies, as you’ll soon see in our client spotlight.
When a customer or prospective customer visits the website, a residential service expert known as a Chat Specialist greets them within seconds. If the visitor asks a question, whether through Facebook Messenger, Google Messenger, SMS or the Live Chat box on their website, the response is the same — the question is answered in a matter of seconds.
If the visitor asks a question, they don’t get a robotic auto-reply, but instead, are greeted warmly and given a knowledgeable answer from a professional but friendly human. They respond professionally but with empathy, because they understand that relationships are what build companies.
The Impact | 30 Day Stats
While there’s plenty to be said for building an above & beyond reputation with 24-7 live chat, sometimes it’s more telling to dig into the cold, measurable facts.
Over the last 30 days, these are the numbers from Hunter Super Techs’ records.
30-Day Client Snapshot: Hunter Super Techs
Total Chats: 167 chats.
Leads: 49% were leads. As in, interested prospective customers.
Total Leads: 81 leads converted.
Avg length of chat: 7:40 minutes.*
After hours leads: 13 leads converted.**
In the end, it’s not Messenger that matters — it’s not chatting or SMS — it’s the combination of these tools wielded by a professional live chat specialist.
That’s what will make the deepest impact on your new and current customer experience, and ultimately, your company.
*From an SEO perspective, the longer people stay on your site, the higher your site will rank in Google and other search engines. In this case, 180 chats at an average of 7 minutes each translate into approximately 21 hours of visitor on-page time. Not to mention the clicks that many visitors contribute inside the website while they chat. These clicks are valuable because Google tracks clicks to help decide how relevant and valuable your website is. The more the merrier.
**Between the hours of 7 PM to 7 AM, 13 chats were converted into leads. Without a 24-7 Digital CSR, those visitors would have left without a conversation.
Most practices do not have an efficient and effective way to follow-up with leads (also called “lead conversion strategy”). This is silly. Lead conversion is easy, requires minimal effort, and with a little management, your team can produce significant top line growth.
To schedule consultations in the past, we have relied on potential patients to call us during business hours. When they call, we don’t need to follow-up. We schedule their consultation immediately on the phone. However, more and more, patients are leaving their information on an appointment request or chatting online with our Smile Specialists at night. Because this change has happened rapidly, most practices have been caught without a solid lead conversion strategy.
How do I train my staff to follow-up with these potential patients and convert the lead into a consultation? How many calls should I expect my staff to make? Is there a way to do it without being “pushy”?
In this article, you will learn exactly how to identify leads and effectively turn your leads into new patient appointments. In the end you will come away with a step-by-step guide to implement with your team.
What is a Lead?
An effective lead conversion strategy is nearly free and requires little of the orthodontist’s effort. But what is a lead?
With OrthoChats, a lead is a potential patient who has inquired about financing, insurance, and/or treatment options. In order for their lead to be actionable, they must have contact information. We recommend collecting the patient’s name, cell phone number, and email address. Once you have this information, you have a “hot” lead.
Online chat on your website delivers hot leads. These leads are hot because these patients came directly to your site asking about your practice specifically. These leads are much more likely to schedule a consultation than leads collected from a drawing at a community event for free braces, for instance.
Most people do not see the real value in this information. But at our office, we look at this as a $5,500 new revenue opportunity (or “NRO”). If we can convert this lead into a consultation, there is a high likelihood that they are going to start treatment.
Designing and Implementing a Lead Conversion Strategy
1. Call hot leads immediately
For every minute that we wait to contact a lead, we are decreasing the likelihood that the person is going to schedule a consultation. It is a race against time.
This is usually a team’s #1 error. They simply wait too long to contact the lead.
Think of it like this: You are shopping for a car and you want a reliable car with a low monthly payment. When on Toyota’s website, you request more information about their financing via their online information request. After filling out your name, phone, and email, you wait on a return contact. After you visit the Toyota website, you then visit the Honda website and do the same information request. If Honda contacts you back first, do you think Honda is more or less likely to earn your business? …Way more.
Don’t delay, call today.
2. Text your hot leads immediately
Some people do not like speaking on the phone, and even if they do, many people screen their calls. Unless they are receiving a call from a friend or family, they send it to voicemail. By texting the patient, you might engage the person enough to speak on the phone with them to schedule a consultation.
Patients will find it convenient to text with the office and often develop trust with the office before ever speaking on the phone. Also, although many people ignore their calls and emails, most people will not ignore a text. It’s just too easy to respond.
3. Email your hot leads immediately
Though we have already called and texted the patient, an email is important. If the person is in a meeting without access to their phone, or they just simply prefer email, this is an effective way to contact the patients.
If you are using Gmail, you can create easily duplicable emails with canned responses. This will allow you to be ultra efficient with your lead capture emails.
4. Call hot leads every day for 10 days
At my office, we just finished calling a patient every day for 25 days. We only left a message occasionally. When we did leave a message, we used a specific script to build value into the call and avoid the feeling of inconvenience and nagging.
“Hello, Sarah! This is Scott calling from Hansen Orthodontic Specialists. I was calling as a courtesy to follow-up with you about your insurance question. We are here to answer your questions at your convenience. Please call us back on this number and we will gladly help you. Have a great day!”
5. Email/text your hot leads twice more
It’s easiest to use a few different pre-formed emails and texts to send as follow-ups.
Every practice needs a way to follow-up with leads over the long term. At our practice, we call, email and (soon) text the unscheduled recall patients and leads every month. When you break it down per month, it makes the recall system manageable and measurable.
A single truck with a wrap or other form of graphics can, and almost inevitably will generate in the ballpark of 16 million visual impressions in a year.*
Here’s a few stats from possibly the best study on the subject:*
► 97% of survey participants remembered the ad on the truck.
► 96% said fleet graphics made more of an impact than billboards.
► 98% said the ads build a positive image of the advertiser.
Let’s Start With Brand Exposure
Peacocks are nature’s best moving ads. Like you, they want to spread their brand to every corner of the earth.
By attracting attention. They’re big. Bold. Colorful and brilliant.
They stand out.
Like a good ad should.
If you want to be successful, give your vehicles the same strategy.
Those shiny big-birds don’t beg for attention. They just get it. Because of their design.
Not the Better Business Bureau.
Make your graphic Big, Bold and Bright. And if you’re feeling froggy, throw in a Beautiful for a 4-B vehicle graphic.
Outside-the-box in a peacocky, purple cow sort of way. That’s what we’re going for.
The cars surrounding you should be gritty little clumps of mud next to your shiny gold nugget of a moving graphic.
Here’s how to create a winning vehicle graphic.
You’re Designing for Your Customer Not Yourself
Design your wrap for your target customer. It doesn’t matter how cool you think it looks if it doesn’t work for your target customer.
Solidify Your Brand, Then Design
Your brand message should be completely fleshed out before you spend money on any advertising. Vehicle wraps are no exception. If your brand’s focus is muddled, your wrap won’t work. Everything on your vehicle should communicate your brand — your colors, logo, font, and message. What are your colors? Are they bright and different? Do you have a logo you are proud of? Do you have a standard across all print mediums that looks the same?
Don’t Spend More Than You Need To
The best thing about vehicle graphics, is how cost effective it can be.
Here’s some solid advice from Trace George, CEO of VSP Graphics. He says, “3M, MACtac, Arlon, Avery, and Oracal are the best-known fleet graphic manufacturers available to contact through their websites,”* but keep this in mind.
You may have local shops near you who can do a great job despite their limited on-hand materials. Make sure to shop around to keep your costs down. Calendared vinyls, for example, are less expensive than cast vinyls, so you can save some decent cash there. But be warned – there’s trade offs.
Same goes for laminating. You can opt for NOT laminating the vehicle before wrapping, and that’ll help save you some cash, but make sure you’re using specialty materials like matte colors, chrome, or carbon fiber, and you understand both sides of the coin.
More than anything, your wrap company needs to work with you to find the best value while respecting your budget.
Call around. Ask for a free quote. You’ll learn a lot.
If they try to push you into high-cost solutions without keeping your budget in mind, drop them like a hat.
Choose the Most Effective Colors
Do people associate certain colors with love, aggression, trust, greed? Sure. But there’s one thing that matters much more than all of that: Does it stand out? Yep. That’s first and foremost.
If your design stands out, you’re halfway there.
Those should be your top priorities, and then the poorly understood element of color psychology.
Realistically, almost any color is going to have some kind of positive connotation attached to it. So as long as you’re not boring people to death with gray or something, you’re probably good. Again, bright and bold is what we’re shooting for. Like a peacock.
Take Bob Hamilton for example. See how easy that van is to see from a distance? The font is simple and clear. The most important pieces of information are big, front and center. Wherever the eye most naturally tracks to first, that’s where the most important info should be.
Cut the Fluff
Reduce your text down to the bare minimum. Just enough to get your message across.
Too much text dilutes your message and it’s visually unappealing to boot. The last generation or two has record-breaking attention spans, and not in your favor.
Try reading your vehicle’s message out loud while timing yourself. If it takes more than 3-4 seconds, consider chopping some text.
Fit Your Wrap Style – Or Don’t
Matching your wrap style with your vehicle is usually a good idea. Matching it with your brand? ALWAYS a good idea. If you’re dressing up a small vehicle, consider a fun, cute style of wrap. A bold, rugged wrap goes good with a big truck or SUV. And then there’s the other option.
Don’t. If you pull it off right, styling your wrap to the opposite of what people expect can attract the most attention. It’s called juxtaposition if you’re into fancy words.
The Ultimate List of Vehicle Wrap Do’s and Don’ts
DON’T – Design your graphic before you know what the vehicle looks like, and have a template.
DO – Take good pictures of the vehicle to be wrapped, and check it against your template.
DON’T – Clutter your vehicle with too much stuff. If creativity trumps clarity, you’ve lost the battle.
Do – Go with your gut for the first draft(s). Let your creative side go nuts, then whip out some good old-fashioned logic and reason to edit away the crazy. Believe me, it’ll make a huge difference.
Don’t– Ignore the roof. When you’re wrapping a vehicle don’t forget the roof. Placing graphics and text on the roof may not produce as many views as the rest of the vehicle but it can still be worth doing. This is particularly effective if you work in areas with a lot of tall buildings where people will be looking down at the vehicle.
DO – Communicate well with your design team to make sure your design will play well with the vehicle.
DON’T – Expect people to see only one or two sides or perspectives of your vehicle.
DO – Plan on people viewing your vehicle from all sides – even consider the top of your vehicle.
DON’T – Put little words or graphics on top of ridges on the vehicle.
DO – Leave plenty of room between text and your logo, and avoid awkward spacing.
DON’T – Choose graphics, text, or font styles just because you like how it looks.
DO – Keep it super simple. Again, clarity should always take the first priority. You only have a few seconds to capture their attention, hold it, and get your message across. Loading your design with too much info is like forcing people to drink from a fire hydrant. Not effective.
DON’T – Ignore the importance of whitespace.
DO – Be okay with being different. Even very different. Think about it this way. It’s not just peacocks — just about any bird you can think of has a boldly colored mate, and a more camouflaged mate. Blood-red Cardinals, sky-blue Bluebirds, pumpkin-Orange Orioles – the male stands out the most and gets all of the attention.
Sounds kind of unfair doesn’t it? Of course, he’s also the first to get eaten by the neighborhood cat too. So there’s that.
There are two major instincts at war with each other here — standing out to get more attention vs blending in to hide from predators.
Standing out wins every time for the male birds, and it should for your vehicle too.
Considering the thousands of eyes that follow your vehicle ad every year, it’s really one of the cheapest and most effective forms of advertisement you can get.