Everyone just loves Google! It is like a warm chocolate chip cookie and a cold glass of milk! When you ask someone “why do you love Google” they will typically respond “because it just works” or “because it is simple!” How true; the warm chocolate chip cookie is not nearly as much fun if the glass of milk were to burst on the first dunk! If you ask me why I love Google, the geek in me will agree to that love and append another morsel of thought “they are effectively transparent and, yes, their technology just works!”
The need to be transparent in today’s business atmosphere is now a requirement. We no longer live in a world where we wonder if there is a better price for a widget or product down the street. Today you can grab your iPhone scan the UPC (barcode) and in 10 seconds know how far you have to walk to buy it at a better price. A new car salesman can tell you how much your car is worth and how much the wholesale price is of the car you are going to buy but chances are you know what both numbers are anyway! If not; our friend Google will tell you! Hiding and sneaking is no longer accepted nor easy. We now live in a truly transparent world with non-complacent consumers.
Google shares their technology and their technical notes: any consumer can read about their techology! Want to use Google Maps or Google Charts in your website. Google will show you how on their blog. In fact they support all of their tools in a public forum. At Inspection Support we do the exact same; we desire to be as transparent and publicly available as we can be. Our customers benefit from it as do other consumers of highly communicative products. You will always find our release notes, new builds, features and updates publicly displayed on our web site!
Transparency and informed consumers cause all types of thoughts for property inspections and inspectors. Let us focus on two areas: quoting and scheduling; and the tools we use!
First thought, do you quote early or late in the process of scheduling and what is more transparent? At Inspection Support we are currently developing our new “public schedule” system and although at first glance you might think a scheduling system is simple but it is a giant can of disgruntled worms ready to react!
One might think “if I just give a customer a quote they will check with my competition and take the lowest bid” this is an extremely real fear so do you let your website show your customer a price? “If I do not give them a price am I not being transparent and will I lose the job anyway?” Somewhere hidden in the opinions, minutia and second guessing is the answer and so here we sit working on your tool! It is imperative we make the best decision and there are hundreds of opinions which is the best way; but what is the “best way?” Furthermore, we will get asked that specific question! My team is relied on to make the best decision for everyone but what is the right decision? This is where the stick and friction exists!
Years ago before all of this transparency and information availability the friction was high and the stick was… well… sticky! If you walked into a retail store to buy a widget and the store had the widget in stock you picked it off the shelf but thought to yourself “I wonder if this is less expensive across the street?” In retail the friction wins; chances are you picked the widget off the shelf and paid for it because the pain of getting back in your car and driving across the street only to find it more expensive on the other side of the street provided a massive amount of stick and you handed your credit card over and walked out. Friction wins!
Bye bye sticky, hello Internet. The Internet is the ultimate WD-40 for the consumer. The friction is gone now. If you are in a web store and you find the widget you can look at the other store in 30 seconds before you buy the widget to see if you are getting the best price. The stick and friction are gone and replaced by a subtle array of new challenges. Have you ever been in an online store and either did not like what you saw or what you experienced and just left with a click of the mouse? You bet I have! Have you ever bought something on Amazon.com and thought “that was easy… almost too easy!” Yes, they know that and that is why it works! Amazon has figured out the subtle nuances of the online game. On the Internet you must get the customer right away with no friction or they are out the door with a swift tap of their mouse. We must have web WD-40.
Welcome back to our can of disgruntled worms and our new online ordering system! Our new online ordering system must be frictionless, transparent and just work. And work fast! And it will! Because our common end user and common customer is a Real Estate agent who probably is still using Windows XP with Internet Explorer 6, on a computer they don’t know how to use anyway. (yes, yes, I know they are not the client but they probably did order that inspection) Let us face it, we know your customer well and so do you and the customer’s knowledge pool is vast. We must successfully interact with the above mentioned agent and with the agent with ten great web sites, two blogs and remote connection to MLS! The process needs to handle every edge of the customer spectrum.
So the question becomes are you (and we) being transparent and do you want your web-based order form transparent and low friction? If so we must get the price and availability in front of the client in a rapid and extremely accurate fashion. If not they are going to click on your competitor’s web site and order that inspection. They may never use your competition again but if they chose you from the start you will probably have a client for life!
If you are using the ISN you will love the new order form… why? Because we understand your customer so well and we are a collection of brilliant geeks who understand stick, friction and acting transparent! Our current order form is great but the new version will be outstanding! We will get you that order online because your competition is probably sticky! If your current order form requires passwords, usernames or “stuff I have to remember” you have lost your customer! Let your competition use those tools! If you are using the ISN you do not have to worry about this and the new order form is only going to improve your capture rate! There is more of a science to the process than throwing some forms together and calling it done!
Use great, simple and transparent tools and you’ll have returning consumers! Look how many of us return to Google to search!
When you review your business tools make sure you are using transparent windows and not opaque doors. Doors slam shut and you cannot see through them easily! Make sure your information belongs to your company; ask yourself who owns it? Can you get to it? At Inspection Support it is my job to make sure we, as a company, stay transparent and we will! On the ISN the data is yours and you will always find your information is a few clicks away. If you want to download your clients, your agents, or all of your data… have at it! It is yours!
As we continue to make the ISN even better know we are looking at every aspect of the business and the online experience to bring to you the best possible solutions. I know you provide your customers with great inspections and we will continue to provide you and your clients easy to use solutions! Stay away from those sticky doors!
Bye bye friction and stick, hello ISN!
If you are not using the ISN and want to check it out keep in mind you can try it for free for 60 days!
If you have thoughts you want to share about the process of ordering inspections online please do so by commenting below! We are always interested in feedback and your thoughts!