No matter where you are in your journey of business growth, there is one thing that must be a top priority for you in 2022.
Every single one of us has to work diligently to learn, understand, and apply new technology to our systems of operation and communication.
This is non-negotiable, especially within the home services industry.
Many home services business owners are way behind the curve when it comes to tech. Ours is an industry where entrepreneurs cling to traditional ways of doing business. It’s an in-person service, after all. We work with our hands, we serve clients face-to-face… Who cares how tech savvy we are?
Everyone. Everyone cares, and if you don’t see that reflected in your customers’ priorities now, you will soon.
Let’s talk about why technology should be central to your 2022 business plan and how you can keep up with the changing times…
…even if technology “isn’t really your thing.”
The World is Changing Fast
Think of the headlines you’ve seen just in the last few months.
Facebook is transitioning to Meta, diving into the advanced concepts of virtual reality and augmented reality.
Digital assets like NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are growing in popularity.
Not to mention, the sudden need to work and connect online in 2020 drastically accelerated our collective tech literacy.
We are living increasingly digital lives, from how we socialize to what we own. You may not be meeting with your clients in VR come March, but you do need to realize that these advancements mean your customers’ expectations are shifting.
The Consequences of Falling Behind
Let’s say you place an online order and never receive a shipping notification and tracking order.
You might not consider it the end of the world, but you probably would consider it a little lazy on the part of the vendor. You know they have the tools to automate these things now… to offer you that communication and peace of mind. It’s just sloppy customer service.
Never mind the fact that many of us still remember the days long-distance orders had to be done over the phone… when you just hung up the phone and waited for your item to show up whenever. None of us were irritated by this system. We didn’t expect anything different.
Technology shifts expectations. It changes the way your clients define “service.”
It also creates new opportunities to optimize your internal operations. A tech-savvy restoration company automates more processes, streamlines internal collaboration and is equipped to hire the best candidate no matter where they live.
In other words, a tech-savvy company reduces costs and maximizes profits, which means they have more resources to invest in growth, marketing and innovation. And if you’re not that company, the guy down the street will be.
How You Can Keep Up in 2022 — Even if You’re “Not a Tech Person”
I am passionate about adopting new technology. I talk about it a lot.
And I get a lot of pushback.
Many business owners don’t want to believe tech matters in our industry, and I suspect a lot of that has to do with a sense of hopelessness.
Tradespeople don’t often think of themselves as tech people. If you’re not a tech person, how are you supposed to keep up with innovations?
It’s actually not as hard as you think. Yes, the concepts can be complex. But if you focus on building the knowledge you can and recruiting help for the concepts that are beyond you, you can easily take your business to the next level.
Here are some simple steps that pay off big in the long run.
1. Learn what you can.
Get to know the tools that are already being used in our industry – tools for client communication, project management, marketing… all of it. It’s okay if you don’t understand how it works yet. Just start by understanding what it does. What are the benefits? Which tools could help you scale your business or improve client relationships?
Once you see the possibilities, it’s not that hard to find someone on your team or among your colleagues who can help you learn and apply that technology.
Also, commit to reading up on technological advancements. Again, don’t worry if you can’t make sense of the science. Start by understanding what the technology does and then practice imagining what it could mean for businesses like yours in the future.
2. Lean on tech-savvy colleagues and team members.
There is a reason we build teams and professional networks. We go further when we go together, leaning on one another’s strengths and learning from one another’s insights.
Is there someone on your team who loves and understands this stuff? Give them a special project. Ask them to make recommendations for tech that can help your business. Make them the team expert and let them train you and your staff on new tools.
Or, reach out to a colleague who has already adopted advanced technology. Ask for their guidance.
3. Consider hiring a tech person.
If you plan to expand your team this year, consider making tech expertise a priority.
You don’t have to hire someone with a degree in software engineering. It can just be someone from Generation Y or Z who is tech-intuitive and always eager to learn new tools. The goal is to get someone on your team who is not intimidated by tech-forward concepts.
4. Commit to one action step today.
Pick one of the above and prepare to go all in come January.
That could mean deciding which publications or podcasts you’re going to follow regularly to stay informed. Block out time on your calendar to dedicate to this learning – either a little time each day or a larger block each week.
Or, maybe you want to schedule a meeting with your team tech genius for the first week of the new year. Create your agenda now. How can they help you meet your business goals for 2022?
Whatever path you take, make a plan now so you don’t waste a second pondering these things when the new year rolls around.
And remember: It’s still about customer service.
For the tech-hesitant crowd, these innovations can sometimes seem cold; like technology is coming between us and the people we serve; like it undercuts the feeling that our businesses are part of a close, local community.
The truth is, technology allows you to be more present for your clients than you ever have been before. When you streamline internal processes, your team members have more time to focus on personal interactions with customers. And when you use technology to improve the frequency and quality of client communication, you demonstrate that they are always top of mind.
These innovations are how you keep showing up for the people who need you.
So commit to showing up in 2022. Be true. Be you. Be great.