If you want to understand how using technology can enhance your pest management company’s operations, you can learn a lot from the experiences of two members of NPMA’s Technology Committee.
Adam Witt, president of Pittsburgh-based Witt Pest Management, says his company uses specialized software to improve customer experience. For example, Witt sends out an appointment confirmation with a photo of the technician who will be performing the service, and notifies the customer via text message once the service is completed.
Technology has also helped Witt become more efficient. It optimizes truck routes using its general software package’s routing capabilities and employs GPS to monitor drivers’ locations and driving practices—checking speed to ensure that they are operating vehicles safely. For sales lead management, it captures signatures and send out proposals electronically.
“These things don’t sound groundbreaking, but I think a lot of pest companies aren’t there yet,” Witt said.
Cleveland Dixon, CEO of Holiday Termite & Pest Control in Northern Virginia, has integrated technology into every aspect of his business, outsourcing all his office operations. When customers call his office number, they are routed via a cloud-based, virtual PBX system to a call center. The call center employees take appointments and enter them into a cloud-based software system. Dixon’s technicians use iPads to get each day’s work schedule from that software and then enter the pertinent information into the system when each job is complete.
Dixon’s virtual assistant then processes the work and forwards it to a company that prints and sends out customer invoices. Customers mail their payments to a UPS store, where managers deposit their checks and send copies back to the virtual assistant. That assistant enters the payments into the software system.
Dixon says that this virtual system will give him an advantage as he grows his business. As a small business, he could only afford to hire one person in his office, but would lack coverage when that person was on another line, at lunch or on vacation. With his virtual office, customers can call anytime—even at 3 a.m.—to make an appointment.
Technology has made Witt and Dixon’s companies more efficient and more effective. If you’d like to gain those benefits for your business, Witt advises starting with good core software to manage routes, billing and customers. “From there, see what you can do to take that mobile into the field, to integrate it with your office,” Witt said. “Then look at other pieces of your business. How can you adopt technology to manage your fleet or to manage your inventory? What about the customer’s experience? How can you leverage technology to enhance their experience, whether it be sending them nicer reports that have pictures and videos or touching them with emails and other innovative marketing to keep them as customers?”
“I think at this point in the game it’s important to have a cloud-based CRM system for operating your business, so you can access it from anywhere,” Dixon said. “At some point in time, no matter the size of your company, if you’re leaving the office space, you want to have access to that information.”
Every company should have a website, a Google account, a local and cloud back-up system, a virtual switchboard/phone system, a smartphone, a laptop and team collaboration space, Dixon said. He uses his team collaboration space to make assignments (outside of regular work orders) to his technicians. Team members also share information about any sales they make.
By Mary Lou Jay