Eighty percent of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service, yet only 8% of people think these same companies deliver “superior” customer service.
Based on these numbers, there is probably room for at least some improvement in your business when it comes to delivering better service. We have some customer service tips, statistics and quotes to help you with your pest control business.
A recent review of a large pest control company revealed that most of their customer cancellations were caused in one way or another by unmet expectations. Several of the best companies we’ve worked with ask for permission during the sale to call the customer after their first treatment to follow up.
During that initial call, they ensure the customer is happy, and then re-clarify 1 or 2 key elements of their service and what the customer should expect. We recommend doing this after the first 2-3 services and with each additional call re-clarifying 1 or 2 more key elements of your service.
Help the customer understand that pest control is not pest elimination, how your re-service policy works and what they can expect from you along the way. These additional 2-3 touches or calls during the first several months of a customer’s lifespan are invaluable in helping you earn your customer’s long-term loyalty.
When a customer calls and asks for a re-service, they are essentially not getting the results they want from your service. This is a critical fork in the road for pest control companies.
Most pest control companies we’ve worked with have not created very much incentive for their technicians to be thorough with a re-service. They schedule these re-services when they come up, send the tech out, and hope that takes care of the problem. However, if the technician is hurried and limited efforts didn’t resolve the problem, most customers will now feel like you’ve let them down twice in a row. They will now have even less confidence in your company and be less likely to keep your service.
Studies have shown that the most loyal customers are not those customers who have never had problems with their service. The most loyal customers are those who have had a problem that was effectively handled by their service provider. So, when a customer calls you for a re-service, this is your opportunity to shine and turn your customer into a raving fan.
Some of the best companies we’ve worked with treat re-service just like regular services. This gives your technician the opportunity to go the extra mile and tell the customer that in addition to treating the problem area they went above and beyond and treated the rest of the property just in case. We also recommend a follow-up communication 10-14 days after every re-service to check in with the customer and make sure that they are taken care of.
We have also worked with several companies that will occasionally send out company hats, socks, and other gifts with thank you notes after re-services and at other opportune times. Some of these ideas might seem like a lot, but remember, it’s generally 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, and these are some of the best ways we’ve seen to keep the customers you already have.
We’ve all called different companies and somewhere along the line heard a customer service rep read a long script that felt forced and insincere. We recommend better training and less scripting with a few minor exceptions. Have your customer service reps begin every call with something like this,
“My job is to go the extra mile in taking care of your account. What can I do to help you today Mr. Jones?”
This sets a great expectation for the customer service rep and the customer before the call even begins.
We also recommend having your customer service agents finish all calls with a question like this,
“Mr. Jones, was I able to answer all of your questions today the way you were hoping?”
Remember, according to consumers, customer service agents failed to answer their questions 50% of the time. This question gives the customer a great opportunity to make sure they’re satisfied. If they aren’t getting what they want, they’ll go somewhere else.
It almost always saves money to spend more money on the quality of your service. Make sure you are using the very best products and application rates possible. Companies who try to cut costs by cutting corners often end up paying an even bigger price in the long run. However, the way your customers feel about your company will generally have more to do with your staff than the products you use.
Therefore, it’s important to take really good care of your people so that you can hire and keep high-quality employees. When it comes to your employees, it also pays big dividends to spend more energy and time training your staff. The easiest way to keep your customers is to continually surprise them with great customer service and great results.
While the principles behind good customer service are timeless, customer expectations are not. The internet and social media have changed the landscape of the company-customer relationship. With a quick internet search, you can find the answer to almost any question.
As a result, customers have little patience when companies simply don’t know something. With this wealth of data and good technology options, consumers often feel like there’s no excuse for getting it wrong.
One of the best ways to meet these rising expectations is to make sure that you have great, ongoing training for all your employees. Each of your employees should be a part of regular training meetings that are well prepared and well presented. These meetings should be engaging, informative and they should empower your employees with knowledge to help them continue to improve and provide better service to your customers.
In chapter 16 of Andy Grove’s landmark book High Output Management, he outlines the importance of training by stating the following,
“Training is, quite simply, one of the highest-leverage activities a manager can perform. Consider for a moment the possibility of your putting on a series of four lectures for members of your department. Let’s count on three hours of preparation for each hour of course time—twelve hours of work in total. Say that you have ten students in your class.
Next year they will work a total of about twenty thousand hours for your organization. If your training efforts result in a 1 percent improvement in your subordinates’ performance, your company will gain the equivalent of two hundred hours of work as the result of the expenditure of your twelve hours.”
“Customer Service is the new marketing.” –Derek Sivers, CD Baby
“Always do more than is required of you” –George S. Patton
“Customer Service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.” –Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
“There are many who subscribe to the convention that service is a business cost, but our data demonstrates that superior service is an investment that can help drive business growth.” –Jim Bush, Executive VP at American Express.
When it comes to pest control customer service, little things can make a huge difference. However, business owners often let the whirlwinds of their business crowd everything else out.
Make sure that you set aside regular time to work on your business, your strategy, and your processes. Make the minor adjustments that can lead to big improvements.