There was a time when calling a professional to clean or repair something in your home was considered a luxury. Compare this to 2022, when home services are no longer about just hiring domestic help and cooks. The pandemic has forced customers to spend more and more time indoors. And so everything, from personal grooming to financial services to pet services, are made available to us at our doorstep.
A trend that is likely to stick
Owing to their sheer convenience, home services are nothing short of a necessity in the post-pandemic era. Home repairs and maintenance, installations, healthcare, diagnostics, beauty services, childcare and elderly services all fall under this category.
The global home services market is expected to grow to $1,133.40 billion by 2026. The industry only promises to grow with the advancement in technology and the ease of mobile bookings.
COVID-19 turned customers’ attention to their homes, with home improvement projects growing steadily popular. According to a report by Businesswire, around 57% of homeowners invested in home improvement in the first few months of the pandemic. At present, more than 70% of Americans have invested in such projects. The trend is likely to continue in the new year.
High demand comes with high expectations
While the demand for home services is on the rise, customers aren’t all that easy to please. They demand a seamless omnichannel experience from the start to the finish. Poor or delayed service is often not entertained by them and they are quick to opt for the next best service available instead.
It is not impossible to gain their loyalty, but good quality, and on-time service is vital for customer delight. According to a report by MediaPost, 82% of consumers say their loyalty depends on a positive experience. They could also reschedule or cancel their appointments last-minute and expect it to be managed accordingly.
Logistical challenges faced by home service businesses
Last-mile operations have different meanings for different sectors. For most industries, it means delivering a packaged good on time, more so if delivery is time and temperature-sensitive. For the home service industry, the last mile varies in that instead of delivering goods, service providers must reach the given address at the right time.
The task is to make sure that the right agents reach the right homes and all activities are carried out on time and professionally. Challenges in the last-mile for home service businesses are often unanticipated due to delays in daily dispatches or on-ground inefficiencies. Some of the logistical challenges faced by home services are:
- Adhering to customer-preferred time windows: Managing time-slots is one of the most common challenges faced by home service providers. It is possible that resources are not available during a particular time window, making dispatch planning a difficult task.
- Scheduling tasks in real-time: As hundreds of orders pour in a day, managers need to first make sure the right executives are available and assign tasks in real-time. This can prove to be a daunting exercise without the right software and tools.
- Handling shortages: Resource availability is dependent on many conditions and shortage is common, especially during peak season or black swan events such as the pandemic. How a business handles order volumes in times of limited availability can make or break the service experience.
- Planning optimal routes: Day-to-day tasks for home service businesses involve planning daily/hourly dispatches and finding the most efficient routes for service providers to help save on extra miles and fuel costs.
Home service businesses can benefit remarkably from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. And, with the help of a dispatch planning software such as Locus DispatchIQ, they can amp up their game considerably.
Dispatch planning can help the customer pick the best possible slot keeping in mind customers’ priority, location, service type and availability of field executives. Live tracking and real-time alerts improve supply chain visibility, helping improve transparency in the last mile.
In the coming years, speed, personalization and responsiveness will determine if businesses will stay in the game. Technology must be embraced with open arms for sustainable, long-term growth. Locus’ automated solutions are backed by data science and cutting edge AI for end-to-end logistics optimization and can power businesses for their future goals.
Do you wish to optimize your home service operations with smart and efficient logistics? Get in touch with our experts for a quick tour of our solutions.