More Referrals for Bodhi Installers
Developed and executed research plan to determine how Bodhi can help installers receive more referrals and reviews to lower their customer acquisition costs.
Solar installers and solar homeowners
Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) for installers can be as much as 30% of a total sale.
How can Bodhi help installers lower their CAC?
Competitive & Comparative Analysis
Bodhi provides solar installers with a platform to manage customer projects—from multi-channel messaging and automated project updates to post-installation monitoring. Homeowners can use the web-app to track their journey, store important documents and communicate with their project manager.
How are Bodhi homeowners using Referrals?
The homeowner web-app offers a variety of ways to provide a referral, but there is room for improvement on the usability front.
Many referral opportunities.
Bulk share is efficient.
Unique referral link is only available on the initial login flow.
Language used is unclear.
A lot of friction to share a referral.
What is homeowner sentiment and behavior around referrals?
Installers understandably hold their customers very close to their chest. This makes it challenging to get direct feedback from real homeowners. I was lucky to speak with 2 Bodhi homeowners who had their systems installed by a Bodhi client, Lighthouse Solar. I also interviewed 2 homeowners who didn't use Bodhi. This diversity helped me get a holistic view of what factors influence a homeowner to refer their solar company or not.
"It came down to price and reputation. If adding more panels, I'd vet companies again."
— Tad Clark / Arizona Southwest Solar Customer
Superior service is a must-have
Your referrals are only as good as your service and how well you meet a customer’s expectations.
Awareness is critical
Customers must be aware of the referral program.
Fit with the natural flow
Make it easy to fit into the conversation — easy access, fluidly fit into what they’re already doing.
Generally, people want to vet the performance of the system and service before referring friends.
Appeal to the warm-fuzzies
Intrinsic rewards can be even-more incentivizing than extrinsic, monetary reward.
So what can Bodhi do to increase referrals from homeowners?
After presenting my research with the Sales and Customer Success teams, I conducted a workshop to brainstorm feature ideas to increase referrals. The features focused around improving the existing UX to be more intuitive, informative and to have referral info easy to access.
Outcome: Can we increase homeowner referrals?
For homeowners, it was clear that word-of-mouth referrals will almost always win out over any in-app feature or strategically planned referral program. The only thing we can control is the UX of the Bodhi app. By focusing on increasing awareness of referral rewards and making things like a homeowner's unique referral code easy to access the hypothesis is that referrals will increase.
# of referrals per homeowner
# of referrals per company
Click rates on referral links
Social engagement (intrinsic reward focused campaigns)
What about the Installer side?
The goal of improving the homeowner's experience is really to help our installers earn more referrals — aka warmer leads that reduce acquisition costs. We needed to analyze how installers were using the referral features on their end and learn about other tools and strategies they might be using to earn referrals.
How are Bodhi installers using referrals?
Only 5 out of 112 companies have more than 14 total referrals. These 5 have an average of 34 total referrals with most homeowners providing 1-2 referrals.
Why aren't these other companies getting any referrals through Bodhi?
Are they using other tools?
What's the industry standard for getting and managing referrals?
Turns out there are a handful of companies that specialize in helping solar installers earn more referrals by integrating with tools they're already using like Google and Facebook and even texting.
I also learned all about best-practices for driving user engagement and lifetime value through a robust referral strategy.
Competitive Analysis Takeaways
Integrate with core tools installers and their customers are already using—texting, google reviews.
Automatically build segments based on customer behavior — high survey scores and engagement, install phases.
Ability to create campaigns for target segments.
Offer insights to track performance.
Comparative Analysis Takeaways
Always offer a double-sided reward (give one, get one).
Reward program should be clear and easy to access.
Drive repeat referrals by offering tiered reward system (give more, get more).
Drive FOMO with limited time offers and/or capping the number of referrals someone can add.
Keep referrers and referees updated on the status: reminders, timing of payout.
What did installers have to say?
Working with Customer Success, I interviewed marketing-focused project managers from 2 of Bodhi's biggest accounts. The conversations allowed me to understand how they are currently using our tool, functionality they were (and weren't) aware of and other tools in their tech stack they they use for referrals.
Perceived Value: Bodhi was doing a lot in the background but the benefits weren't being visually quantified so project managers struggle to prove Bodhi's value to decision makers.
Awareness of steps: Automating a homeowner's journey requires integration with a CRM which includes numerous steps and dependencies. Bodhi's interface and language made it challenging for users to track and troubleshoot steps within each phase of a journey—even when they helped to set up the initial integration.
User confidence: Installers commented on how they didn't know how to use the Insights and Dashboard pages. There was genuine surprise when our CS team would show clients a feature that had always been there—"Oh that's amazing, I wish I had known about that before!"
No time—tell me what to do: Bodhi gives PM's back their time to focus on getting the project done. When they do log in to Bodhi, PM's want a to-do list—"I have 10 minutes, what should my priorities be?"
How can we better serve installers?
After analyzing the findings from installer interviews, I collaborated with CS to brainstorm features we can augment or add so Bodhi can be the one-stop shop for installers when managing referrals!
Outcome: Can we lower installer's CAC through referrals?
Building features that help installers identify key segments of customers that are likely to provide referrals will make getting quality leads more efficient and effective.
Focusing on helping installers provide superior customer experience, Bodhi will inherently help them earn more referrals (and reviews).
# of referral requests sent (manually v. automated)
# of new customers signed from referrals
In-app engagement for Insights and Dashboard
# of reports exported
# of decision makers added to Bodhi
The biggest challenge of this project was getting access to Bodhi homeowners.
Unfortunately I had to leave Bodhi before this project made it to the next phase. Next steps would have been to build out low fidelity prototypes for both the homeowner and installer apps to include the features identified as most impactful. After validating the effect, I would iterate or work with developers to build out the final features.