Dealer of the Year Awards 2016: Honoring Excellence
|Hansons sold $2 million from its website chat last year, which president Brian Elias is showing here. The chat only launches when visitors move their mouse to leave hansons.com, providing one last chance to get them to take action.|
DETROIT, MICH., HANSONS.COM
Since 1988, owner and founder Brian Elias and the 1-800-Hansons team have become industry leaders and a virtual think tank for new home improvement tech ideas. Hansons incorporates all of the hallmark programs of a digitally fueled, technologically advanced company. It employs digital and interactive sales strategies, including iPad presentations, and electronic paperwork and credit checking. Hansons emails customer surveys and newsletters with its sophisticated customer relationship management software that it developed in-house. The company also has an online referral system and keeps digital records of every job.
But the technology Hansons has in place to manage its more than 500 employees and support more than the estimated $75 million in sales it will do this year* is far beyond what we’ve seen in the fenestration industry. (*Sales estimate includes all Hansons services including windows, roofing, siding, insulation and gutters.)
CHAT, CLICK AND CALL
The most obvious display of the company’s high-tech culture is the DontGo Chat feature on its website. This innovative take on website chat boxes only launches when a visitor moves his mouse to leave the hansons.com site. Using artificial intelligence, Hansons customers get real-time answers to their online questions.
Hansons’ vice president Amy Zimmerman reports that DontGo increases leads and, ultimately, revenue by keeping customers on hansons.com longer and asking them to take action. The company reports that the feature brought in $2 million in net sales in 2015. Hansons also uses the DontGo chat to capture customer questions and uses that information to add content to hansons.com for search engine optimization purposes.
The company’s highly automated call center also integrates with its website. Internet form-fill leads are received in Hansons’ CRM system and are automatically loaded into the Hansons dialer so customers can be called back immediately or emailed and texted as necessary for confirming and setting appointments. Much of Hansons’ electronic communication is automated to reduce delay and increase accuracy.
Part of the “burden of success” is how to manage the volume of business these programs generate. Hansons does so via its Headquarter Command Center, a room that is covered with monitor screens that track all the appointments for the day at each of Hansons’ seven locations. The Command Center monitors and aids its 100-plus sales reps in the field by tracking key information regarding appointments and monitoring daily, monthly and yearly sales for each salesperson and location.
|At 1-800-Hansons, the funnel begins with lead generation and each day, technology helps fill the funnel to ensure customer satisfaction and referrals at the end of the process.|
Hansons supports its team with apps, created and designed in-house, that can be accessed from the field. The Canvasing App allows its sales team to enter information on each door knocked. It incorporates GPS tracking and records whether a flyer was left and information on the particular situation—i.e. whether the homeowner was interested or angry, or if the resident was a renter, etc.
The Sales App integrates with the Command Center to assign leads to sales reps in the field electronically. The company’s CRM delivers an email to a rep’s phone that includes all pertinent information to run the lead. The app then communicates back with the Command Center, tracking that leads were acknowledged. Sales reps also “time in” at the appointment so the Command Center knows they were on time.
Hansons’ IT and operations teams also developed a crew-monitoring algorithm to manage its hundreds of installation crews to ensure the right number of teams is ready and available for work in the future. The program not only tracks the number of available crews in each of its locations, but also notes their area of expertise (windows, siding, roofing, gutters/ gutter protection or insulation). When one geographical area shows too many crews (or not enough), the algorithm knows to redeploy those installation crews as needed.
Zimmerman notes that the algorithm helps to keep installers busy year-round, which keeps them happy working for the company. “Many of the Hansons installation teams have been with the company for years,” she says. “When there’s work, and a lot of it, keeping good installers is easier.”
Hansons maintains a database of almost 200,000 previous customers, sweepstakes entrants and other interested parties; the lists are reportedly meticulously maintained and can be sorted by product purchased, product of interest and by each of the seven Hansons locations.
Thanks to the database and the company’s promotional calendars it organizes in Outlook, an eblast can be quickly dispatched to generate leads in a given area where needed. Hansons reports that its newsletters and eblasts generated more than $1 million in sales so far in 2016.
Every aspect of Hansons involves technology, a practice that’s propelled the business. “We’ve been at the forefront of adapting advancements in technology and using the latest tech tools to grow business and satisfy our growing list of thousands of customers,” Zimmerman says. “At Hansons, technology isn’t just for fun. It’s the engine that drives the business.”