Company owners who want to run a sustainable pest business first need to understand the direction in which the industry is moving. Second, they need to formulate a plan to build pest control revenue to improve strategically, financially, and operationally.
Here are four effective strategies to build build a strong foundation for your pest control business.
Create an Effective Model Through Technology
The speed of the growth of computers has doubled every two years since the 1970s. It’s now finally slowing down and set to enter a new phase, although no one is sure exactly how that will look. One thing’s for certain — technology is not going anywhere.
Andrew Barrows, Director of M&A at Environmental Pest Services, says that for the first time, “people are all embracing technology, across all four generations.” In America’s commerce industry, digital ad revenue is projected to reach a 40% share by the end of 2020 — surpassing all other methods of growth.
Information is increasingly found via mobile rather than PC. Mobile internet time continues to grow worldwide, from 43% of total daily internet time in 2014 to 76% in 2018.
There’s also been a rise in the use of credit cards globally, with cash and cheques becoming increasingly outdated forms of payment.
Looking to the Future
Taylor Olson, founder at Slingshot, predicts that moving forward, “when there’s a significant update or advancement in technology, it’s not going to happen over a 25-year period. It’s going to be ten years [or] five years.”
Staying updated with changes in technology over time can prepare business owners with the knowledge to adapt. That will ensure the best long-term return on investment (ROI) from their sustainable pest business.
Build Processes and a Level of Service That Will Maximize Opportunities
These days, people want things on-demand. At Slingshot, we recorded over two million customer interactions — and found that 25% of calls happened after hours. Out of those missed calls fewer than one in five leave voicemails, making it difficult to reach those customers in time.
Companies adapting to this challenge are thriving, whereas those that aren’t have had a tougher time in 2021. Savvy companies recognize the need to offer convenience now, even over competitive pricing.
Finding the Golden Window of Response Time
There are many opinions on this one, but we’ve found some interesting stats that paint a clear picture of the Golden Window of Response Time:
- The first vendor that talks to a lead has a 74% close ratio
- Calling a prospect to follow up within five minutes is 21 times more effective than calling after a half an hour has elapsed
If your business isn’t able to respond within this golden window, you need to look into why. Dig into your data and analyze where you’re already losing leads. Business owners can ask themselves:
- Are customers hanging up the phone after a long hold time during peak hours?
- Are emails going unanswered for more than a day?
- How do response times vary from channel to channel?
Exceeding Customers’ Expectations
Only 37% of businesses respond to their leads within an hour. How can a business show it’s a cut above the competition?
Here’s how companies can exceed what’s expected of them:
- Investing in a fast 24/7 answering service to engage quickly and expertly with customers when they reach out for your services
- Maintaining response times that impress across all methods of communication
- Employing effective omni-channel communications
Know the Key Value Drivers for Pest Control Providers
It’s all about automation, technology investments, and CSR utilization.
Prioritizing the automation of low-value touchpoints
Here’s a relevant quote from Edmund Mackey, CMO & CSO at Aptive Environmental, “Which touchpoints can you automate because they’re low value for the customer? If a customer is calling to pay their bill, that’s a low-value transaction. I can automate that and now have more time to do the actual high-value customer interactions with a live person. These are the things that give operators more of an advantage.”
Not all conversations can be automated. However, many can including the following business functions:
- Billing calls
- IVR to text
- Follow-up and confirmation
- Low-touch customer service and engagement
Billing calls are a great place for a pest business to start its automation journey. Of all current customer pest control interactions, 15% are related to billing.
If wait times are long, customers on a call can be offered the option to press “1” to finish the call and carry on the conversation via text message. Customers prefer text, as it’s often more time-efficient. A business can also handle more texts per hour than calls, immediately improving efficiency. And text messages are currently easier to automate than voice-based services.
The underlying message is to give customers the option to take care of their needs through automation — but also to always provide the opportunity to speak to a human being if they prefer to do so.
Investing in the right technologies
Over 95% of actions taken to build pest control revenue now will yield better enterprise value for the day an owner chooses to sell. Investing in the most appropriate technologies is no exception to this. These are the most popular technologies currently being utilized in pest control:
- Cloud-based operating systems
- Mobile devices
- Remote management
- Rodent traps with sensor technology
- Route optimization
In terms of sales outreach and customer support, many pest control businesses also use these technological benefits s:
- 24/7 sales support
- Automated monthly billing
- Call ahead
- Customer feedback services
- Paperless contracts
- Storing customer email & credit card on file
Of course, most up-to-date business websites today also use SEO/SEM and other website optimization methods.
CSR utilization is defined as a customer service representative’s percentage of available time that’s used for productive work. This impacts costs, profitability, and customer expectations.
With spikes in pest control call demand throughout days, weeks, and seasons, there must be a balance between a CSR having too much downtime and being overworked. Aim for a balance of:
- 70% of inbound calls answered within 30 seconds or 80% answered within 20 seconds
- 30–60 seconds of response time for calls during peak periods
- 5-minute response time for web leads
- 75% CSR utilization
Focus on the ROI
Ultimately, a pest business owner needs to think like an investor as well as an operator. Potential long-term revenue is generated by each decision they make today. To expand their portfolio in the future, pest control acquisition preparation must take place now.
After all, Barrows says, “a company can be worth 50% more than another company with the same cash flow and revenue, just by the intangibles of that business.”
For more insight into building revenue and value for your pest business, check out our webinar presentation on the topic.