Great question. To put it simply Responsibid is revolutionary bidding software for field-service companies. What makes this software unique (or legit) is that it can be integrated into your website to give real-time quotes to visitors. It can also be used by office and field staff to ensure consistent quotes are provided to potential customers. These quotes are emailed to the customer and stored in the cloud.
On their website, Responsibid says you will "win more jobs, at a higher rate with less effort" using their software. Before you start throwing your money at the screen, there are things to consider. For many service business owners, this claim may sound too good to be true. So understandably, you might have a few questions, such as:
1. Can I trust it to price my complicated jobs accurately?
2. Won't I lose customers who I don't talk to personally (i.e., I am a great salesman)
3. Does it bother my customers with annoying emails?
4. How much does it this cost?
5. Is it too late to eat this burrito I forgot in the microwave last night?
These and other questions (mostly other) will be addressed in this review. We will also discuss what problems the software solves and how useful it is for your particular service business. To prepare for this review, I have tested the software at length, gathered information from Responsibid users (we have a number who are UpEngine clients) and even interviewed Responsibid's founder himself, Curt Kempton. So now let us get right into the review.
Below you will find the major advantages Responsibid claims to have over your current sales process.
If you own a field-service business, (techs out in the field) you know how vital bidding on jobs accurately and quickly is to securing new work. And, of course, responding to all inquiries from potential customers is a top priority. Whether you are a one-man-show or you have a team of people watching the phones, there are likely to be incoming calls that go unanswered after business hours. If your business is popular than you also know how frustrating it can be just to handle all the calls coming in during the day while providing accurate and consistent estimates. Not to mention following up with customers who didn't book right away. If you are a small business, answering calls in the field may be near impossible if you want to get anything done at all. Plus taking calls while your customer is staring at you can be uncomfortable,
Having bidding software on your site allows your customers to get bids even when you cannot answer the phone. Responsibid bills itself as a member of your team that will work 24-7 to turn your website's visitors into higher paying customers by providing accurate estimates, offering 'add-on' services and following up on bids for you automatically. To keep your callers from going elsewhere when you can't pickup make sure your company voicemail includes directions on getting an "instant estimate" on your website.
Quoting patterns will vary by company, but this indeed is one of the best things reported about the software. Getting an email saying "A customer is ready to book" is very satisfying, especially after hours. I can confirm that this does happen for our clients and it happens often. One cleaning company claims that simply having an "Instant Quote" button inspires more of their website's visitors to request a quote than would otherwise. Users also reported that having the form on their site keeps their phone lines clear of price-shoppers who have no intention of booking as they tend to fill out the online form rather than call.
Responsibid encourages you to take your time to set up the pricing points and test your form to make sure it is giving correct and consistent estimates. Making a mistake here can cost you a lot of money. In my testing, I found that it is easier to make a mistake than you may think. Especially if you have multiple services to set-up. But once you've set up everything and thoroughly tested your form, the software may be more accurate and consistent than your human staff (and animal staff too). But remember that quotes should be confirmed once your crew is on-site, just as any traditional off-site estimate needs to be verified on-site (a customizable disclaimer is included in the final quote). The software does calculations based on the information you tell it to gather. So if the pricing is not accurate, it is likely due to a rushed setup or a customer's false entries.
As you can imagine, each company has its own set of unique services and pricing. For a service like Responsibid to be successful there must be a lot of customization parameters available to set. Responsibid delivers on this, allowing you to change everything at any time. It allows for a variety of pricing conditions including trip charges (gas fees) and pricing minimums based on chosen services, travel distance or property sizes if desired. The software is refreshingly customizable as it was built by a former service business owner who proves to be familiar with bidding intricacies. Unfortunately, however, it will not up-charge for rude or demanding customers. And, just as any human, the software does not know if a customer is accurate in their property descriptions.
As you may expect there will be times where an accurate quote cannot be given without first seeing the job site. This is especially true for commercial clients. For simple estimates, the software can provide accurate quotes. We found that more than 80% of bids fall into the category. For customers with more complicated projects, Responsibid can still be useful in setting up appointments. The software can be set up to automatically offer an on-site estimate to for those who enter certain project specifications such as home size, service, or location. But, this 'on-site estimate' notification will only trigger after you have gathered their contact information, allowing you to contact them if they don't contact you.
This is a huge feature that makes Responsibid invaluable in your sales process. Never underestimate the power of suggestion in the sales process. Each quote given to a customer is an opportunity to up-sell. Chances are good that your potential customer does not know every service that you provide. We all know from years of going to grocery stores and seeing the candy they place next to the register that people in 'buying mode' are highly suggestible. In the quote process, they will be shown your "candy" - or "other services," and given a chance to add it to their quote. Since there is no harm in adding it to the quote many of your site's visitors are likely to add a service or two "just to see" the price. And who knows, maybe they'll like the price.
What If a potential customer calls your office staff? Can they still be upsold? If you implement Responsibid into your office sales process then yes. Your team will go to the "call screen," and they too will be prompted to upsell on-screen. They will not forget to do so. This obviously WILL make you more money if you have many services and your staff sticks to the process. We have found that Responsibid creates an inspiring process that puts employees in a more comfortable position to upsell.
Never underestimate the power of suggestion!
You may be worried about trusting a software application to sell your services for you. Perhaps you think it will encourage more window-shopping and won't convert well. Maybe you are an award-winning salesman who always books the job and can't risk letting go of the reigns. That's understandable. But before getting into a 'Dwight Schrute vs. The Website' sell-off perhaps you should consider the following: Do you have time to connect with every customer yourself? Is this sustainable? Most of your site's visitors who want to call will call. But those who are hesitant will not hesitate to fill out a form for an "instant estimate." And remember you will always have their contact info if you want to call them. With Responsibid you save time without letting go of the sales process completely. You set the pricing, you set the follow-up schedule, you create the process, and at any time you can step in and contact the lead yourself. Responsibid gathers their info for you.
So, although every market and pool of customers is different, we have found this to be a non-issue. In fact, our research suggests that the software does not decrease the number of sales but often increases the number of quotes given out, making it possible to sell more. There are many potential customers out there who will not pick up the phone to call but will fill out a form on your website. Perhaps they don't want to, aren't ready, or can't talk on the phone but are still interested in a quote. And once they fill out the form, you have their contact info. I would agree with someone who says "you need to make a personal connection with the customer," but Responsibid can create more sales opportunities for you and make the process more organized. The amount of sales is still heavily dependent on your product and customer service.
If you do give the software a try, you may want to consider this statistic about the sales process that Curt shared with me:
About 70% of our users (our most successful users in terms of close rate and ticket price by the way) use ResponsiBid for all company generated quotes. Roughly 30% of our users build quotes in various ways and likely only use it on their website and for marginal in-person quoting.
So, this means that the software is most successful when used on every every sales. How do you do that? This leads us into our next point:
Responsibid's staff will tell you that the software is only as good as you let it be. And they are right. They highly recommend using it throughout the entire bidding process, whether or not you have an office staff picking up the calls. Below we have detailed the 3 different use-cases/scenarios where the software is commonly used.
1. A potential customer finds your website and clicks on the "Instant Quote" button.
2. The customer fills in their project information.
3. The customer gets a real price (or price range) for their project, or they get a "Your project is a little complicated, we will have to contact you" message.
4. If the customer likes the price, they click to book the job.
5. The customer receives a confirmation email with the quote info. You get an email about the quote to schedule the job.
1. A customer calls your office (or you) and asks for a quote.
2. You open the Responsibid 'call screen' and take the info from the call yourself and enter it into the form. The price is computed for you, and the estimate is saved.
4. You detail the different options to the customer then place the caller in a scheduled, pending, or custom status within Responsibid.
5. Responsibid will follow up with the lead for you if desired.
1. You schedule an on-site quote or are asked to give a quote by a neighbor etc.
2. You take your phone or tablet to the potential customer's home or business.
3. You fill in the Responsibid form from your mobile device.
3. Show and/or email the quote to the customer.
The software makes it easier to track your leads and stay organized. Once a bid is given, an email is sent to the potential customer with a link to their quote for future reference if they do not book immediately. The quote is also sent to your email and saved in your Responsibid account. No more losing customers because of misplaced phone numbers or not having time to follow up. If a customer does not book immediately, the software will send follow up emails on a schedule you set. Depending on your CRM, Responsibid can even place jobs on your calendar with a click through its integration with popular field-service CRMs such as Jobber, Zoho or AllClients.
Our clients have seen significant improvement in their lead management processes and credit Responsibid for this.
With Responsibid's reporting functionality you can easily see where your leads are coming from and the percentage of them getting on your schedule. This has obvious benefits. You know what lead sources are profitable and can be better informed when making marketing decisions. Curt hinted at some major feature updates coming soon for Responsibid's reporting functionality in 2019.
If the customer does not book immediately in any one of these scenarios Responsibid's follow up process begins. The lead is sent custom emails with offers or reminders on a schedule you decide. This feature is handy for any size company as it is so easy to drop the ball on warm leads. For many users, this feature alone is worth the monthly cost.
Responsibid has been around for a while now and has partnered with a number of software companies that you may already use. Here are a few:
3. Google Calendar
5. All Clients
7. The Customer Factor
8. Service Monster
9. Paypal (to take deposits)
We have tested the Google Calendar with success. Some users have reported issues with certain integrations. The integrations have to be implemented on a case by case basis to avoid conflicting tasks. That being said, Responsibid has really gone all-out in creating value for their customers by partnering with top-notch software companies that have excellent reputations in the service industry.
Responsibid also made a great leap forward when creating CrewCal. This feature makes it possible for your visitors to book a job on your calendar once they get a price quote. This feature works great for filling in holes on your schedule (based on customized parameters) saving you time on the phone and providing convenience for your new customers.
Setting up the software for your unique business takes time. The more services you have, the more time setup will require. You will need to make sure of your companies pricing and get comfortable with hard numbers as the software does not bargain, negotiate or 'read' the customers. While setting up your services, you may notice that there are a variety of options that you may have never considered such as charging a trip fee or including a video to help you customers fill out the form to get a quote.
Setup Difficulty is the main gripe Responsibid users have communicated to me (that I didn't determine was user error). When I discussed this pain point with Curt Kempton (Responsibid's founder), he told me that the setup process was significantly updated about a year and a half ago to address this. Having recently reviewed the setup process myself (this week), I can say that the current setup process is fairly straightforward. However, I can see how less computer savvy individuals may have a harder time.
It is expected that setup be the most tedious part in integrating any software into your sales process. If you find that the initial set up is a bit harder than it could be, hang in there, it is well worth your time and effort. That being said, since this issue is somewhat subjective I wouldn't call it a problem.
It should be stressed that a rushed setup can easily lead to inaccurate bids being given.
I looked long and hard but could only find one other software service that provides on-screen bidding for service companies. But, to be honest, it looks as though it was abandoned years ago. Looking at its feature set, it's hardly a competitor. So what about fancy pricing calculators? You would be doing yourself a disservice adding one of those to your site in place of Responsibid. Although you may save money on the monthly fee you would, no doubt, lose out on the additional revenue gained by Responsibid's up-selling and follow-up features, lead management, and time-saving features. Indeed no software that can compete with Responsibid, and I don't see any on the horizon. Having this software puts you in the pro category by default.
The standard pricing for Responsibid is as follows (current as of 01/01/19)
The main differences between the packages are training and the CrewCal feature. You may be asking "do I really need training?," and the answer is: you don't. But if you want to get on the ground running the quickest, we definitely recommend it.
What Responsibid can do for your business is significant. If you are just starting out you may not have the budget to pay for anything beyond gas and supplies. Responsibid cannot help you if you don't have leads coming in, but once you do I would highly recommend using this software if all of the following applies to you:
Still not convinced? Let's do a quick recap of the benefits:
Responsibid is one of the first software services (after a CRM and Quickbooks) that any field service company should invest in. Whether it's getting you more sales, helping you stay organized or saving you time, Responsibid is a worthwhile product that will offers significant value to your business and deserves a good long look. Still skeptical? Test it out for yourself with a free trial.
We really believe in Responsibid and the value it brings to the service industry so we've partnered with Responsibid and they have given our clients and readers a special rate. If you think Responsibid may be right for you CLICK HERE to take advantage of the discount. It may not be around for long.