Customer is King. Without happy, loyal customers on your books and a good flow of new customers you won’t grow the business venture you’ve worked so hard to establish. Having effective customer service strategies in place for your pest control business will not only help you to retain current customers, it will also build awareness of your business and strengthen its positive reputation – meaning more customers at your door!
After all, happy and well-supported customers are far more likely to recommend you to friends or neighbours. Having a good reputation, while bringing in more revenue, will be a source of pride for you and your team too. With job satisfaction and pride comes greater motivation to succeed.
When customers experience excellent service, your business gains trust and you find it easier to both retain and attract customers.
What’s the difference between customer service and customer support?
You’ll often hear people use the terms customer service and customer support interchangeably. In reality though, they mean slightly different things. There’s no industry standard definition, but it does make sense to think of them as somewhat different terms.
Firstly, customer support is usually a department or person you contact when you have a problem. For example, when your login to a website won’t work or you can’t get your mobile phone contract updated properly. It’s typically reactive and is associated with a specific problem or issue. Customer support is usually related to a short-term issue with a goal to resolve that specific issue.
Customer service, on the other hand, is more of a proactive, holistic concept. Customer service is an umbrella term covering a wider variety of interactions between you and your customerss. It’s also longer term, beginning right from the moment a customer expresses interest or contacts you, and can continue long after they’ve made their first purchase.
As a pest control or building inspection professional, you probably do a bit of both. Or should do, anyway! All of this contributes to a better overall customer experience from start to finish when someone interacts with your business.
Why it matters
We all know the old adage ‘the customer is always right’ but how important is good customer service in reality? Here are a few enlightening statistics which drive home the importance of solid customer experience from start to finish:
- For 83% of consumers, good customer service is their most important criteria when deciding to buy something. 83% of people are also more loyal to brands that respond to and resolve their complaints. (Khoros)
- If the company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will do business with them again after a mistake. (Salesforce Research)
- Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95%. (Bain and Company)
- 65% of customers said they have changed to a different brand because of a poor experience. (Khoros)
Those numbers alone should be enough to convince you. Having great products and pricing can help you stand out from the crowd, but delivering consistently good customer service and support will keep people coming back for more.
7 ways you can improve your customer support as a pest controller
So, how can you make sure every customer or potential customer who you interact with feels supported and has a good experience?
Here are some customer service and support tips you can implement.
1. Know your service inside out
Often, customers will want to reach out and ask questions before they commit to pest control or inspection services. Part of good customer service is being knowledgeable about your industry and willing to share that knowledge. That’s why it’s important whoever answers customer calls, questions, and queries knows exactly how to answer common questions and can give the customer all the information they need. Our Rapid Training course provides pest control basics for admin staff, meaning they’ll be able to answer customer questions with ease.
Being helpful and knowledgeable goes a long way towards making your customers feel as if they’re in good hands – which they are, of course!
2. Be reachable
Ensure there’s a way to reach you easily. It might seem like overkill, but in a world where social media and instant messaging are common ways of communicating, people have high expectations of businesses when it comes to being contactable.
In fact, HubSpot Research says that 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as essential or very important when they have a customer service question. Immediate, in this case, means around ten minutes.
To ramp up your customer service performance, you should ideally have a dedicated business phone where people can call, leave messages, and so on. On top of that, ensure your email and social media messages are monitored frequently. It’s good practice to set up auto-responses for people who contact you out of hours. But remember to follow up on those messages first thing next day.
3. Make payment easy
If you went to a shop who would only take cash as their method of payment, and who didn’t have change for you, you’d probably just…go somewhere else, right? Or at least leave the shop feeling annoyed at the lack of options.
Providing payment options for your clients means they can pay in a way which suits them. Not to mention it means you won’t need to spend as much time chasing up missing payments. Try to offer options for payment via card machine, online credit card, or options such as PayPal or Stripe.
Ideally, combine this with an automated invoicing system like MYOB or Xero so you don’t spend ages manually filling out invoices and emailing them to customers. The process is smoother, faster, more professional, and likely to save you time and money. Not to mention it being a much simpler way of creating regular financial progress reports so you can easily see how that element of your business is doing.
Importantly, an easy and efficient payment system is key to good customer service.
4. Set the right expectations
One key part of good customer service is managing expectations. This isn’t to say you should under-promise or talk down your services, but you should be honest and upfront about what customers can expect. For instance, if you know it will take six weeks to see any results, be clear about that. If a second treatment or other service will be needed further down the line, be clear about that too.
Making sure customers know exactly what to expect and when to expect it means that they’re less likely to feel misled or let down with the pest control process or the results.
5. Tackle problems head on
It’s tempting to stick your head in the sand and ignore it if something goes wrong (or has the potential to do so). But even the best businesses in the world have occasional slip ups and have to deal with unhappy existing or potential customers.
Making sure you address these problems or concerns efficiently and authentically helps you to retain customers and protect your reputation, rather than losing them (and people they might know) to a competitor.
Tackling these problems head on is an often-overlooked part of customer service and the overall customer experience. But in fact, it’s one of the most important. According to KPMG, 90% of consumers worldwide consider issue resolution as their most crucial customer service concern.
To take it to the next level, start to predict problems before they occur. Know you’re super busy and might have a longer waiting period to book customers? Tell them in advance. See that one particular customer could be pickier than everyone else? Make sure to actively manage their expectations. Not quite sure on the best approach for a job and need to do some research first? Be honest and open with your customer. They’ll appreciate the candour.
6. Ask for (and use) feedback
Asking for feedback is one of the easiest ways to improve customer support and service. Remember that for every customer who complains, several more likely stay quiet and simply choose another provider next time. It would be a shame to miss out on return customers if there are things you can easily fix!
Asking customers to rate your service via your Google Business profile, for example, or by providing an easy email/online feedback form is an effective way to assess where you can improve. You might even want to offer customers a discount on their next purchase if they leave you honest and constructive feedback.
7. Make sure you’re adequately covered by insurance
It might seem like an afterthought to some, but proper insurance is a key part of providing quality end-to-end customer service. Plus, it means significant peace of mind for you, obviously. Like we mentioned above, loyal customers are often those who have had a company resolve their problems efficiently.
If something does go wrong during a pest control job, building inspection or similar, you’ll want to be able to put things right quickly and easily, without taking a hit which could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That’s where professional indemnity insurance and general liability insurance are so crucial. If you do make a mistake and are held liable, you’ll have proper protection in place so you don’t have to risk your life savings or your business to pay it. Just make absolutely sure you don’t let your insurance lapse – it could be a costly error.
Contact Rapid Solutions today if you have questions about our insurance cover or training courses to support and protect your business.