Selecting a home connections partner for your business may seem like a straightforward choice – after all, commissions, process and even the names are pretty similar!.
When you dig deeper though, there are a lot of differences and picking the wrong provider can damage your brand in the eyes of customers and tenants.
Being able to trust your partner to do what they say they will, do it effectively, and have your business and brand at the front of their mind, are essential attributes to consider when considering a home connections partner.
What to ask
Here are a few other questions you should ask to ensure you’re selecting someone who will contribute to the growth of your business, not the erosion of your brand in market.
What level of service will my customers receive?
What happens once your customer’s application is submitted is critical to how the service is received and valued. An expert partner will have a customer service team of the right scale and with the right skills – preferably technical connection and utility knowledge. The strength of this team will result in a smooth process for your customer and ultimately customer satisfaction for you.
Find out the size of your provider’s customer service team, as well as the location and hours of operation, to ensure that they are able to fully support your customers.
What processes or functions are in place to manage the utility company side of the equation?
It’s great that your service partner can take the application, but the real proof of the service is how they can manage the relationship with their service providers. Things can and do go wrong on the utility service provider side, and your partner should be able to demonstrate how they manage the relationship, fix issues as they arise, communicate with customers and yourself, and even proactively communicate with service providers to reduce issues in the first place. Partners who do this well are also well placed to manage the reputational issues if there is a challenge during the process.
What do you do when something goes wrong with a connection?
Things do sometimes go wrong with utility connections, and in most cases these issues are out of the control of your partner. This doesn’t make your customers feel any better about not having power or gas when they move into their new property though.
Ask your partner what they will do when things go wrong. Is there contingency to provide your customers with compensation, can issues be resolved quickly, and who will take care of the communications and risk? Make sure you know what the process is, and who is going to be involved in sorting it out. If it’s you or your business, question why that is.
What happens to my customer data?
Your customer data and privacy should be key considerations when understanding how your partner provides their connection services. Using customer data for purposes other than those agreed is a breach of privacy. The consequence of this can be significant, so your partner should be able to reassure you that your customer data is only used for the agreed purposes.,
What support can you provide our business and property managers?
Aside from ensuring that your partner is able to deliver a service worthy of having your business name attached to it, you should also be asking what your partner can do for you!
How easy is their application system or technology to use? Do you have support (phone or face-to-face) when you need it or have problems? How responsive is the provider to questions or queries you have? How often are you likely to see a representative – and is it the same person or a different person each time? A partner who understands your business, has a good relationship with your staff, and has industry knowledge, can be an extremely valuable, and a free resource for your business!
Outside commissions, does your reward program provide flexibility?
Although commissions are similar across the home connections industry, providers can offer flexibility in their reward program structures and add value to your business.
Ask your partner what the options are for their rewards program – can it be tailored to suit your business objectives? For example, rewards programs can be a great staff retention tool, or office incentive – how the rewards program is structured, and how accessible it is, and the rewards are, could be key questions for your partner. Offering your staff the option of a rewards card or VISA pay wave card for example could mean a lot more than having points locked away and inaccessible.
The value of a great home connections service partner really can’t be understated. A great partner works to grow your business and its reputation and is an expert and leader at what they do.
Time to start asking questions
Why not ask your partner these six questions and evaluate what you might be missing out on, or what risk you could be running?
Direct Connect have been partnering with over 3,200 real estate agents throughout Australia, to deliver home connections services to their customers for over 10 years. They have connected over 1 million Australians in that time, and are committed to providing a service to movers and agent partners that exceed their expectations.