A group of the top contractors in HomeServe’s network of more than 1,600 across the country attended the fourth-annual Contractors Conference Sept. 18-20 in San Antonio, where they discussed continuous improvement of customer service, closing the labor gap and corporate social responsibility. Many ideas to improve customer satisfaction were presented over the course of the conference.
John Kitzie, North American CEO, opened the conference by reviewing the tremendous growth the company has experienced in the 16 years it has been operating in the U.S., noting that 163 municipal and utility partners signed on last year. The company now has more than 4 million customers holding 6.7 million policies and completed 650,000 jobs last year, or one every 43 seconds.
“Before long, I’ll be able to say that it’s every 30 seconds,” he said.
Mr. Kitzie thanked the contractors for providing excellent customer service, noting that they’ve maintained a 4.8 star out of 5 star rating. Their work is crucial to HomeServe’s ability to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Bill Graham, Chief Marketing Officer, spoke about the HomeServe App, which was launched in April 2019, demonstrating that its functionality allows users to make a virtual portfolio of their homes. He also spoke about added features that soon will be available to both contractors and customers.
The App enables customers to inventory home appliances via bar code scanning, allowing instant access to manuals and warranty and tune-up reminders, and can also serve as a push platform for municipalities and utilities to communicate important messages and public service announcements. To date the App has 19,000 downloads and over 16,000 active users.
Graham also spoke about enhancements to our suite of repair plans, based on customer and contractor feedback, including the new TotalHome Warranty plan. He noted that the TotalHome Warranty and the recent purchase of American Home Guardian, which operates in the realty market, will raise product visibility to Millennials, noting that 75 percent of new homes were purchased by those under 45.
Myles Meehan, Senior Vice President of Public Relations, spoke about the recently launched HomeServe Cares Foundation, outlining the four pillars: Caring for Community, Caring for People, Caring for Vets and Caring for Good. The foundation collected all the company’s corporate social responsibility programs under one banner and expanded the offerings to include a grant award program that helps municipalities and nonprofits fund projects that align with the company’s core values. Meehan also gave an overview of the volunteer opportunities of which employees are encouraged to take advantage.
Meehan highlighted the Caring for Vets program, which connects veterans transitioning out of the military or looking for a career change with contractors in need of skilled labor, and Caring for People, which provides pro bono repairs for homeowners who need emergency repairs impacting their safety, health or quality of life. He encouraged contractors to become involved with both programs.
Kelsey Todd, Contractor Operations, led a panel with former This Old House apprentice and current Ask This Old House cast member Nathan Gilbert and current This Old House Generation Next apprentice Kathryn Fulton to discuss the labor gap and why millennials should consider a career in the skilled trades. Nathan and Kathryn offered ideas on how contractors can attract them by, for example, partnering with local schools to raise awareness of the trades as a career; seeking out veterans transitioning from the military through the VA; and using social media to showcase their expertise in the field. Implementing ideas to improve customer satisfaction should include the latest technologies.
Sylvester Criscone, Vice President of Contractor Relationships, spoke about using technology to improve communications between HomeServe and customers, customers and contractors and contractors and HomeServe. New technology soon will enhance these communications, optimizing scheduling and achieving faster service completion. Criscone noted key elements in customer service in the digital age allow for self-service, enabling up-to-the-minute service status updates and making sure pertinent information is available to customer-facing agents. He outlined how new technology would enhance these existing abilities for HomeServe.
“Service excellence isn’t a destination, it’s a journey,” Criscone said. “And it’s a journey we can only navigate with your dedication and assistance.”
A keynote speech by author and motivational speaker Vicki Hitzges, who discussed improving the customer experience, closed the conference.
Utilities are looking for opportunities to connect more deeply with customers. HomeServe helps to improve customer engagement for our utility partners through the integration of complementary home repair programs with utility initiatives such as energy efficiency and safety, offering customers greater access and choice. Partnership allows the utility to leverage HomeServe’s marketing and communications expertise to educate their customers through a variety of channels. For more information, contact us.