How to improve your pest control customer retention

We are in a unique moment in history. Consumers have more control in the purchasing relationship than ever before. It has never been easier for customers to find all of your competitors and do a direct comparison.

Not only are customers doing this during the initial purchase process, they are often going through this same process every time they buy with you. The switching economy has led to upwards of $6 TRILLION of opportunity in play globally every year.

While this does indicate a huge opportunity for customer acquisition, it also shines a light on how important it is to focus on how effectively you are retaining your existing customers.

What is customer retention and why does it matter?

Customer retention is a company's ability to maintain their customer base when comparing periods of time. Here are some stats to highlight the importance of keeping a healthy retention rate:

  • Customer retention is faster and, on average, costs up to 7X less than customer acquisition
  • Loyal customers are worth up to 10X as much as the value of their first purchase
  • It is more effective to sell to customers you already have a relationship with
  • Increasing customer retention by 5% could lead to an increase in profits of 25-95%
  • The likelihood of converting a new lead into a customer is 5-20%
  • The likelihood of converting an existing customer into a repeat customer is 60-70%

So how do you calculate how effectively you are retaining your customers? The most straight-forward method is by tracking and reporting regularly on your Customer Retention Rate (CRR).

How to calculate CRR

In order to calculate CRR, you will need to track a few metrics that will be used in the formula.

  • Initial customer count (C)
  • Final customer count (F)
  • New customers acquired during the period of time (N)

Once you have this information, you will be able to calculate your retention over that period of time through the following formula:

CRR = ((F-N)/C) X 100

By subtracting out the number of new customers you acquired over a given period, you gain insight into how effectively you are keeping the customers you started with.

CRR example

As an example, let's take ABC Pest Control. ABC started 2019 with 239 (C) customers. Throughout the year they gained 33 (N) new customers, but they had 12 customers cancel.

ABC Pest Control ended 2019 with 260 (F) customers in their book of business. So what was their CRR?

CRR = ((260-33)/239) X 100
CRR = 94.98%

CRR Goals and Benchmarking

CRR is going to vary widely from company to company, which is why it is so important to start keeping a record of how your company is performing.

It goes without saying, but ideally this rate would be 100%. That is highly unlikely, so getting a good idea of how you perform will give you a starting point to optimize from.

What negatively impacts customer retention?

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but the number 1 reason people will stop doing business with you is because of negative experiences.

It may surprise you, however, to hear that 32% of consumers (that's 1 out of every 3!) will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.

This isn't just a brand they happen to have done business with once and then moved on. This is moving on from a brand that they love after just ONE bad experience.

Here are 6 of the biggest service failures that pest control customers are experiencing every day:

  1. Having to contact the company multiple times for the same reason
  2. Being on hold for a long time when contacting the company (2 minutes or more)
  3. Having to repeat the same information to multiple employees of the company or going through multiple channels
  4. Dealing with employees, or self-help sites, that cannot answer their questions
  5. Having a company deliver something different from what it promised up front
  6. Dealing with employees who are unfriendly or impolite

Given that 73% of consumers see their experience as one of the most important factors in their purchase decisions, it should be concerning that only 49% of those surveyed think companies are providing the right experience today.

One thing to highlight is that the right pest control software can have a hugely positive impact on all 6 of these failures.

What can you do to improve your retention?

More than 70% of consumers said that speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service are what matter most. Companies that are providing the right kinds of experiences are leveraging technology to ensure that their customers always have what they want, when they want it.

So let's take a look at how software can impact each of those 6 failures previously mentioned:

Having to contact the company multiple times for the same reason and having to repeat the same information to multiple employees of the company or going through multiple channels

Using your CRM to track and take note of all customer interactions helps to mitigate situations like this. If a customer calls in to request that your tech spray under the trampoline, but your office staff wrote the request on a sticky note and forgot to tell the tech, this will be a really negative interaction for the customer.

Not only will the customer have to call back in later to repeat their request, but your tech will have to be sent back out on a costly retreat.

Being on hold for a long time when contacting the company

Did you know that more than 25% of calls into a pest control office is made by the company's own technicians? That means that customers and new leads are being put on hold so your techs can communicate with your office staff.

Some of the primary reasons for these calls are due to techs being unable to do their jobs effectively in the field. If your software does not allow techs to see appointment history, upsell, reschedule appointments, etc. from the field, then your phone lines are going to be endlessly tied up by your own team.

Dealing with employees, or self-help sites, that cannot answer their questions and dealing with employees who are unfriendly or impolite

In both cases, this is more a training issue than a software issue. That said, software can help to streamline processes and can provide simplified resources for your staff to have on hand to answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

Ultimately, hire the right kind of people with characteristics that resonate with your customers. Having an easy-to-use solution will make their jobs easier and more enjoyable, which will improve their demeanor when communicating with your customers.

Having a company deliver something different from what it promised up front

If you are using paper invoices, job routes, and task assignments, then there are some pretty major gaps left open to human error.

Your staff needs to be able to quickly look up customers and see upcoming appointments, job history, and any notes in order to serve your customers effectively.

Conclusion

These are just several of the potential issues that are driving your customers to shop around with your competitors. You need to be constantly improving, training your staff, and arming them with the right solutions.

Click here to see how Briostack can immediately start improving your customer retention rate.