An owner of a plumbing company once asked me about my thoughts on a dispatch fee. Here is what I told him.
Can we agree that a transactional messaging that communicates deals, lower prices and specials bring people looking for the lowest price? If yes, then are you the lowest price provider? If no then your technicians will say they are wasting a bunch of time going to visit homeowners who are never going to buy from you. It’s a waste of their time. When you get tired of listening to them going to the house and wasting their time, you’ll solve that problem with a dispatch fee.
Now only the serious prospects will bother having you come out to give your free quote. Wait a minute the customer spent forty dollars for a quote unless they decide to go with you.
Yes, dispatch fees filter out the cheap-ass Charlie’s that your marketing message is attracting. Because cheap-ass Charlie’s call around to check prices and get quotes. The same messaging that is providing a high call volume and a low conversion rate. With your dispatch fee added the inbound call volume stays high and your home visits result in more conversions to business. Appears the operational solution fixed the transactional marketing message problem.
What about the relational customers that fear of making the wrong choice? How does the dispatch fee make you a safe choice? It doesn’t. It puts more fear into the relational customer because they might be out forty bucks for a free quote.
At that moment you are not helping them solve their problem you are creating a new one for them.
If your marketing message is a relational offer, we will take care of you. We are the right choice for customer service. Your call volume will dropdown. Why because the cheap-ass Charlie’s are not calling you. You are getting the presold relational customers that just want to have their problem solved. Does it mean relational customers don’t care about price or won’t ask if this is the best price? No, they have been trained by the world to ask for a deal. No, they have the same internal price threshold just like everybody else.
With a relational message, the majority of your callers are relational buyers. They are presold on you. Your call volumes will drop down as you transition from a transactional message to a relational message and your conversion ratios should increase because they become easier sales to make.
If you are in love with high call volumes and low conversion rates and the money you get from dispatch fees then keep running that transactional messaging.
If you like making bigger profits, servicing the customer and making sales easier convert to relational messaging and drop the dispatch fee.
The choice is yours.