Episode 9 | August 29th, 2023

Online Booking Done Right - Introducing Street2Fleet

A2O Digital discusses online booking and how it's transformed the customer experience. We speak to special guests Doug Bencsko and Brandon Falone about their experience with the scheduling software system Street2Fleet. Street2Fleet has been a gamechanger in their business allowing customers to browse appointment availability in real time. The research is clear, booking online is better for your customers and your business. To learn more about this software go to https://street2fleet.com for more information.

Tim 00:17

Hello, my name is Tim Coleman, and I'm your host. Today I am the managing partner of A2O. Digital, a full service digital marketing agency working exclusively with home service businesses. In today's podcast, we will talk about online scheduling, and how it impacts your business and also discuss a new online booking software called Street to fleet. Our guests today are Doug Bencsko and Brandon Falone. Doug is my partner at A2O digital and the founder and is also the business franchise owner for Precision Garage door of the New York metro area. Brandon is the President at Precision Garage door of the New York metro area. Brandon has been with Precision since 2014 and has held various positions in the organization. Welcome, Doug and Brandon, I'm happy to have you both here today.

Doug 01:04

Thank you, Tim.

Brandon 01:05

Yes, thank you for having me.

Tim 01:07

Thanks, guys. So we know online scheduling industries, like the taxi and nail salons and restaurants and golf has, has just transformed those industries in the way those businesses acquire customers. Brandon, I'll kind of start with you like how do you feel like the customer experience for folks who are using the online booking has differed from ways that you've used in the past?

Brandon 01:33

Yeah, I mean, it's been a game changer for us. The whole experience of booking a service appointment, it's very stressful for people, they're going through something that they've never experienced before. So being able just to have the peace of mind, knowing that their information is in there, they have scheduled appointment, that they've kind of got a solution to their problem is huge. And with the way the world has gone, speaking to people is not as important to people as it used to be. So going online and finding that schedule, and letting them have the peace of mind of like, alright, I've got this solution to a problem that I've never experienced is huge, and Street2Fleet has just been this game changer for us because it's something that we start to see on all of our sites, we put it on our various locations, and when the availability is not there, we just kind of take it off, or we kind of help you know, we know when when we're booking up so it's been great for us.

Tim 02:36

Cool. Doug, how do you feel about the customer experience?

Doug 02:43

Well, so the experience with someone on the telephone can be good, or it can be really, it can be bad, right? You get consistency with Street2Fleet, right? When a customer wants to book something, and they go online, and they realize they can book it online. Using Street2Fleet, they're gonna get something that's consistent. And it's been thought through about like, how do we make this experience good, consistently good. Right. And I know that making it kindergarten simple as it was really important. We want to make sure that the customer knows that it's booked when it's done, that it was easy to use, and didn't take a long time to do it. So when you give those kinds of things in your experience, and you can make it easy and simple and quick and know that it's done I think it's a great experience for a customer. Whereas when you're doing on a telephone call, it could be great. It could also be really, really horrible.

Tim 04:05

It's a good poiint, it's certainly a lot more consistent, right?

Doug 04:09

Yep. You know what you're doing all the time, which is good.

Tim 04:13

Yeah, and Brandon, you kind of said it's a game changer. How important is it that Street2Fleet booked the job right into the CRM, which in this case is obviously Service Titan for our listeners. How important is it that the job gets booked right and Service Titan?

Brandon 04:31

Oh, it's huge because in the service industry, everything is real time. Right and to have to then transfer something in there's human error. So by having a seamlessly booked right in there, we know in real time when something is booked and we can then pivot from there and it's less hands touching it to have to transfer something in like some of the other booking software from other lead sources.

Tim 05:03

Yeah, cool. I am going to read you guys some numbers from analytics and kind of get your reaction to them a little bit. So I'm looking in Google Analytics in June. In that month, you had 664 folks, either call you, email you, chat you, or book online from your website so we kind of lump all those together and call them goals. Of those 664, do you know how many were actually online bookings?

Doug 05:44

I'd be guessing. You want a guess? So I'm going to say 200.

Tim 05:55

So that was a good guess. Brandon, do you know?

Brandon 05:58

I mean, if it was Price is Right, 201 but I'll say three 300.

Tim 06:03

No, it was it's 217 so 201 would have been a good strategy. Brandon.

Doug 06:11

I should have answered second.

Tim 06:15

Does it come as a surprise to you that like it's been about a year and already such a high percentage of your bookings are happening online?

Doug 06:28

Am I surprised today? Or?

Tim 06:31

Yeah. Are you surprised looking back on it?

Doug 06:35

Yeah, I would say I am surprised. It's happened rapidly. But I'm going to answer this with a nuance. I'm going to be surprised if it doesn't grow just as fast in the next year, like, I actually believe the world is going to a place where they don't want to talk to people on the phone. You just look at what the way conversations go. Everything's online, it's text messaging, it's you know, social media conversations. And, I just believe that, this is going to continue to grow. I can see the day in the near future, where people will actually laugh at, you booked your appointment via telephone call, and they're gonna laugh at it. And Tim, you know, coming from a yellow page background, like, there was a day when we laughed, you think the internet's going to overcome the yellow pages like get me more leads on on the internet. I laughed at it. I said, that will never happen. And you know, it didn't take very long. And today, you actually sit back and you laugh that there's a thing called the Yellow Pages. And I think that's going to happen with the telephone calls. At some point in time, I believe people will laugh that you actually had to call somebody on the phone to book an appointment.

Tim 08:12

Yeah, I looked at your reviews. And there are a multitude of reviews for Precision Door of Northern New Jersey now that literally mention how easy it is to schedule online. That mentioned I didn't have to talk to anybody to get an appointment. That was literally what one of the reviews said so I mean, the world is heading that way. And it seems as though folks are certainly viewing as a positive thing.

Brandon 08:41

Yeah and Tim, I'll say this, it's it's kind of handing the baton from marketing right as quickly as possible into the sales or the service technicians hands. And that's really important, right? Because the more hands that it touches, the more opportunity maybe there is for something to happen where something is asked you know, sometimes when people are on the phone, they feel a need to ask too many questions. And it can get confusing and this whole situation knowing that we're getting the lead off the street and put right on our schedule right away. It's just like I said game changer is definitely you know, a couple words that I use I've been using all the time. I think humans have been like Doug said, you know, we're kind of conditioned we're doing this more. You started off talking about the restaurants and booking tee times in golf you know, all of these things. If we would have done this five years ago, the market maybe wouldn't have been ready for it and it maybe would have failed and we would say it doesn't work in the service industry. So you know we did try it if it didn't work particularly hasn't worked well but with you guys at from Street2Fleet knowing that you know, what's the objective and taking the data and making sure that it's seamless, and we're booking at these high rates is huge. And, you know, I agree with Doug, I think it's going to be the majority sooner than later. And the more we push it, the more customers learn about it. And when we share links, it's gonna be, it's just huge.

Tim 10:22

Yeah, and let me give you another kind of stat from the website, we've talked about the importance on your website of folks engaging with content in there, not just reading it, but being able to interact with it in some way. I'm gonna read a number another number to you guys, and get your reaction to this number. So we talked about over 600 people booking on your site 438 people completed the job type and put in their zip code. So that means those 438 people engaged with the website in a way that they were able to learn about your availability, they knew the exact appointment, they were able to schedule note, we only had about half of those actually went on the schedule. But just think of the importance of how many people learned about your availability from your website?

Doug 11:23

Yeah, you told me about that Tim recently. And I was like, wow, that's very interesting, right? They're going in, and they're finding out whether they can book an appointment, they might not even book it on the first get go, because they're looking at their calendar there. But they're looking at our calendar, they can see that they can put it in today, if they want it today, or I need it for next Thursday. And there's, there's availability next Thursday, or whatever. So it's very interesting. And the more you get people looking into that, the more committed they are to potentially doing business with you. So website interaction, right, that's, that's what you want, you want that.

Tim 12:08

I looked at analytics and if you dig deep into analytics, it gives you some demographic data. There were, like 12, people who were over the age of 65, who got the availability, but didn't go on to book that you ever heard, they were just, they just weren't of that age where they're going to do that, right. But they got the availability they used, they could figure that out. And then they went ahead and call which they're more comfortable with, right. So I know that it's interesting. So with a third of the calls being booked by the customer, what has that done to the internal dynamics of the customer service team? And Brandon, that's kind of for you that question.

Brandon 12:50

Yeah, I mean, there are a lot of customers that call in, and they want to get right to the point, right? It's just this transaction, here's my problem, this is what I need you to come out. You know, we go over what we have to go over with them. And those customers are the ones that are booking on Street2Fleet now, right. But they used to be taking up a lot of our time, you know, two, three minute, four minute phone calls, having to ask them multiple times to go over a street address, because spelling's are different, you know, America has come up with a lot of funky street names and they have to ask that question multiple times, making sure from an email standpoint, the errors, it's not existing, because the customer is typing, and they're going to make sure that their data is correct, so by leaving the customers that are calling and I started to talk to the team, more about what type of customer is going to call what majority you know, there are personality types, you know, we do some disc training internally and the I type of personality who wants to talk to a human being is still calling and we can spend time talking to them more time talking to them building that relationship, which is actually helping further the trust and likability with the company, which is eventually going to lead to more success for our company. So the customers that want fast and easy, they've got a solution, the other customers that want to call in and have that human interaction, we've got a solution too, because we put a ton of work and we have a really great customer service team, a team that's getting better every day, that knows that they're a part of the the customer experience. So that's still huge but it's taking pressure off of them for sure.

Tim 14:35

That's awesome and the chasing down of contact forms and responding properly to live chats, all that's kind of been reduced.

Brandon 14:42

100% right. It's the customer having a solution right there to know. I've got this taken care of. It takes a lot of those those questions out, you know when a customer goes on the website and starts to do research, and oh, I'm going to call tomorrow morning because they perceive maybe that we aren't open, you know, because we answer our phones 24/7, but most customers, it doesn't compute. Our phone calls are at the highest on Mondays, because most people don't think that we're answering them over the weekend but we do. But those people who are going on during the weekend, don't put that thought in their brain. I can't call right now I'll call tomorrow. Oh, um, let me book right now. And it's, it's huge.

Tim 15:26

Yeah, and the analytics show that people use Street2Fleet the most during busy hours, which makes sense. But at some point, they're actually more likely to use Street2Fleet when they don't perceive somebody might be answering the phone, like at night in the evenings and weekends and stuff. Like, it really complements it very well. Let's get into how it's kind of affected the bottom line and booking percentage, and that type of thing. Do you guys, are you guys aware of how it's affected you in that way at all?

Doug 16:01

Yes, I know a little bit about that Tim, which I can speak to. So, you know, we track lead sources and whether we have when they're a good call, or a bad call, like, you know, people that are kicking tires, or shoppers or whatever, typically, might not be your best jobs to go to. But what you do find if they book on street to fleet, our ticket average on the job is significantly higher with that type of customer than it is with maybe the average customer that's coming in on a telephone call. So I wish I could tell you I know 100% sure why that's the case. I don't totally know. But I do know, the quality of the calls that we get on street to fleet are at the very top of our of our calls.

Tim 17:12

So your top tier customer, you're providing a good customer experience for an effect.

Doug 17:16

Yeah, I want to comment one other thing about what Brandon said, you know, that talk about limiting mistakes, wrong email address, wrong telephone number getting typed in. Sometimes, you know, when you're talking on the phone, that you think they said my last name is spelled CFKO, and people cannot get the BENCSKO they cannot get it. They can't get it. And so you're repeating it and then you repeat it and they still type it in or as CKO instead of CSKO. It's like it's crazy. So the the amount of mistakes that that helps is it's it's just exponentially makes the life easier for everybody in our organization. Technicians get to the right address. They have the right telephone numbers, like it's everything works when it's been entered. assertively.

Tim 18:20

Yeah, I think it's having been involved with this industry now for a year. It's really interesting. It reminds me of old photos I've seen of grocers who the customers used to come in. And they'd be behind the counter, and they tell them what their order was. And then the grocer would get all of the groceries for the customer when the customer stood there and did nothing right. And then somebody decided, let me send the customer to go around and get all the items. And I'll just stay here and collect the money. And it turned out that worked better for the customer and their business. And this is this is how I feel about this. The picture that I saw there were five grocers standing around with a single customer in there, you know, one was at the deli counter one was at the cans. One was, you know, with the meat, right? So you have three grocers or five grocers and one customer. And that doesn't work well, for the business so now you're paying people to stand around. Then other times you got 10 people and only five grocers. And that doesn't work, especially if you're answering the phone like in home services, right. So this really is a game changer for the business. I agree with that phrase in that it when your phones are being overwhelmed, which is a quality problem. It helps with that. But you got less people standing around when they're not right. And that is just in providing an awesome customer experience for those who want it. Go ahead, Brandon.

Brandon 19:48

I never heard that grocer. And I did not know that was actually a fact that people used to do grocery shopping for you. And I will say rather than because when somebody's making a phone call this is a kind of a realization that I had the other day I was you. It's like, if you have somebody go pick up your groceries, you're only going to buy what they only Yeah. Right, you don't get to walk around and see what else is available. So there's this whole other aspect to it. And I think it's similar from a standpoint of when somebody is on the website, they have to get off and pick up their phone, to get them back on the site, it's not going to happen all the time, probably most of the time, it's they're done, that's the transaction ends, when they have the call booked, maybe they'll get an email from us. But when they book online, the likelihood that they stay on the website and learn a little bit more about our company, and what our values are, is huge, because then you're starting that customer experience process with the story that you want to tell, rather than letting the customer start to have to keep going down that journey themselves. And that's another big aspect and like I said, comparing that to walking around the store a little bit.

Tim 21:01

When I look at the numbers, and I read the reviews the positive reviews about online scheduling, and I see that a third of your numbers, have you guys seen in the entire now you guys have locations the entire New York metro area, with the exception of just Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, right. So a big donut in there. Connecticut, Westchester, Northern New Jersey. Are you guys aware of a direct competitor that allows your customers to book directly online?

Doug 21:35

I'm not aware. But I gotta tell you I don't spend tons of time trying to figure out what other people are doing like that. I'm not on people's sites trying to figure that out. But I am, I'm thrilled that we do have this functionality.

Tim 21:52

I'm not aware of anybody. And I think it's I think it's surprising. Like I understood a month, two months, three months, but like, listen, it's a little bit surprising to me.

Doug 22:06

Yeah, I think everybody thinks like, they have contact forms, right? And they think that that's an online scheduler and there's a big difference. Contact Form goes into an email or someplace, then you gotta wait for somebody to respond to it, then they gotta call you back. And then they got to confirm everything they got in it, you know, it's a whole different animal with Street2Fleet you booked that appointment, it goes into the computer and knows there's availability, and knows there's a technician that's going to be able to do the time that is telling you and it's done. It's in your CRM.

Tim 22:50

That's right and they get a confirmation text saying the techs on their way, they'll be there at whatever it is this afternoon tomorrow between, you know, one and four whatever, it's confirmed, it's done. Right. That's, that's off the street. Yeah. And you're right, they think the contact form does that. But what the contact form doesn't do is it doesn't take that customer off the street. What is a person who uses a contact form do next? They use the contact form on a competitor site, because it was just so easy. And then a third, right, it's not off the street. I know. So there's a boat. That is that is being missed and it's really interesting. All right, any last words from you guys today? First of all, let me thank you for spending a little bit of time with me and talking about this. Any last words about Street2Fleet Doug?

Doug 23:45

I think I would say you make lots of business decisions. Right? I obviously I own Precision Door in New Jersey, and metro areas. And, you know, you make good decisions, you make bad ones. Hopefully you making more good ones than your bad ones. What I can tell you is Street2Fleet is an easy decision to make. And it's a good one. It works well. It's not one you have to like wrap your head around, you know, wrap your head around. It works. It works really effectively. And it was one of my better decisions, you know, to get involved with so.

Brandon 24:38

Yeah, I mean, you started off talking about kind of the path had been in this industry now for nine years. And there are a lot of problems in the service industry. You know, we kind of just survive the day. And if you can find solutions to problems or solutions to problems or processes that are maybe broken, like, you know, you got to take advantage of those because they don't come up every single day. This is like, the game changer word is huge because it's taking stress off that little piece and leaving a little bit of pressure allows the team to grow and be better. And it's allowed us to focus on growth in other other areas. And knowing that the team at Street2Fleet is not saying this is our final product that we're working on, on growth as well, is really exciting for us. Because, you know, ultimately, I say this all the time, I don't want to be in the marketing business, I don't want to be in the booking business, I want to be in the garage door business. And I want to focus on fixing, repairing, you know, and you know, selling and installing new garage doors. And this is another component that we are just lucky to have, because it's giving us that advantage. And I hope everybody you know, Doug you made a funny point before about how I don't I don't know about the competitors, I have probably learned that from Doug poking around and looking at what other people are doing. But a lot of people are just surviving the day if you're a company that's looking to kind of take that next step. And you say, where are your perceived problems, and this will solve that part of the solutions. Then this is for you. You know, it makes it a lot easier for people so, but I'm very grateful to the Street2Fleet team because it wasn't, it's not it wasn't a direct line. This is a quick solution. There was a lot of trial and error about not just coming up with a solution. But coming up with a thought out trial and error. Where do we put the where are we putting this part of the call? Where are we putting this part of the call and knowing that you can look at the data and see where there is an optimal spot is big. You know, Tim, you talked about data. And it made me smile, because in the service industry, I think we are very data and data driven. And if you're not making decisions based on data, you're really missing out. So I mean, the data speaks for itself.

Tim 27:04

It's true. Street2Fleet is the beginning of the merger, that will happen between your website and your CRM, and the next five years, and there'll be so much data and machine learning and AI applied to that, that the businesses that understand how to merge their marketing and their CRM will be making so much higher quality decisions than their competitors. That is it really mind boggling. And that is that's the most exciting thing that's going to happen in the service industry, in my opinion in the next five years. You know, last 15 years was getting out of the Yellow Pages and getting into the internet. And the next every wave goes faster the next five years is going to be the merger of that internet marketing and the data in your CRM and the your ability to make just super high quality decision. If you'd like to learn more about the fleet, you can see it live on Doug's site which is pdsnj.com. Which stands for Precision Door Service New Jersey. And you can kind of see it in action there. If you'd like to learn more about Street2Fleet, you can simply go to our website at Street2Fleet.com. So thanks guys. I really appreciate your time today and listeners we'll see you next time.

Doug 28:36

Thanks for having us, Tim. Appreciate it.

Tim 28:38

My pleasure.

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