If you think having a company website and phone number is still the key to attracting customers, think again. In this day and age, a traditional website simply isn’t enough to keep any service business thriving. (And yes, that includes pest management companies.)
“Everyone has a basic website and phone number. It is no longer a competitive advantage or differentiator in the space,” points out Daniel O’Donnal, chief marketing officer and partner with Edge, a pest control company with headquarters in Orem, Utah.
In today’s ever-evolving digital age, on-the-go customers expect service providers to have more than a simple online presence. Consumers want information at their fingertips, an array of communication options and an elevated experience.
That word “experience” has been thrown around the corporate world a lot lately. By now (unless you’ve been living under a rock), you’ve probably heard the term “customer experience,” or CX for short. While CX may be the latest business buzzword, the concept is not a passing fad. Thanks to groundbreaking advances in technology, customer experience is more important than ever.
In the past, customers typically had only one “touchpoint” with your business—usually your pest control company’s call center or website. But today, customers have the ability to interact with businesses through a variety of mediums, including social media, chat, apps and even artificial intelligence virtual assistants. These technologies are raising the bar for businesses, which means today’s customers expect more options and better service.
Welcome to the modern age of digital sales. In this new era, pest control companies must tap into cutting-edge technologies and offer superior service across all digital mediums if they want to gain a competitive edge. “We live in a CX world and are all in the people business,” says O’Donnal. “Our customers are why we do what we do, and these technologies will enhance their experience, result in higher retention and acquire more customers through word-of-mouth marketing.”
Keep reading to learn how to upgrade your digital sales plan to attract more customers and enhance their experience.
TALLY UP YOUR RESULTS
With all this talk about the digital age and the customer experience, you may be anxious to revise your entire business plan and invest in all the latest and greatest technologies. Not so fast. Before you completely revamp your sales and marketing strategy, O’Donnal says it’s important to take a close look at your current plan and subsequent results.
“Before you think about upgrading your current plan, the first step is to review it and the results you are getting,” he explains. “Most companies don’t have a solid plan and are not getting the results they want. Start here before you make any adjustments or upgrades.”
If you’re not getting the results you want, it may be time for a marketing plan overhaul. As you revamp your digital sales strategy, improving the customer experience should be a top priority. Why? Because an enhanced customer experience leads to better results and higher revenues.
In fact, according to a Bain and Company analysis, companies that excel in the customer experience grow revenues 4 to 8 percent above their market. To top it off, Oracle reports that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better brand experience. By the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, according to a study by Walker.
TAP INTO TECH
In the digital age, one of the most effective ways to improve CX is through the use of technology. According to O’Donnal, pest management companies should incorporate the following three tech tools if they want to boost business:
MUST-HAVE TECH #1: WEBSITE CHAT
Twenty-first century customers expect business websites to include a chat feature. Live chat software connects website visitors to your company’s service and sales teams in real-time. A properly functioning chat feature routes customers to the appropriate agent using built-in tools. Chat is a great feature for customers who want quick answers and personalized service. It all comes together to improve the customer experience and drive sales.
Still not convinced? Just check out the chat stats: According to a study by Customer Think, people prefer live chat over other mediums for a number of reasons—and time is a key element. Out of those who favor live chat, 79 percent of customers said they prefer chat because their inquiries are addressed rapidly and 46 percent say it is the most effective communication means.
Website chat and other artificial intelligence communication features will become increasingly common in the near future. Gartner reports that in the next couple of years, 47 percent of organizations will use chatbots for customer care and 40 percent will deploy virtual assistants.
MUST-HAVE TECH #2: MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEBSITES
Because modern consumers are always on the move, they rely on their smartphones, tablets other mobile devices more than ever. This is why it is critical for pest control businesses to offer websites that are mobile-friendly and smartphone compatible.
Why is the mobile experience so important? Because it is what customers want and expect. In fact, 61 percent of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website, according to a Junto study.
Plus, a substandard mobile customer experience can tarnish your brand image and lead to major business losses. According to WOW Local Marketing, 52 percent of customers are less likely to engage with a company because of a bad mobile experience. This is a concerning statistic, especially when you consider that more than 65 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 use mobile to seek out service more than once a month.
MUST-HAVE TECH #3: MARKETING AUTOMATION PLATFORM (MAP)
Marketing automation is a type of technology that allows companies to automate and measure marketing tasks and workflows. These innovative platforms allow businesses to work more efficiently and grow revenue more quickly.
An effective marketing automation platform (MAP) generally includes three important features:
- A central marketing database with prospective and current customer details, including customer behaviors, preferences and interactions.
- An engagement marketing engine that creates and automates marketing communications, such as emails and texts.
- An analytics engine that allows you to test, measure and optimize your marketing strategies and ROI.
Businesses across all industries are tapping into marketing automation tools to improve customer service. In fact, 48 percent of marketers now use marketing automation, making it one the four most popular methods to create personalized customer experiences, according to a House of Marketing 2019 survey.
Nearly two-thirds of companies surveyed about the State of Digital Marketing said they saw the benefits of their marketing automation software within six months of implementation. These businesses enjoyed some valuable advantages, including increased customer engagement, employee time savings and more opportunities for upselling.
ENHANCING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
If you want to drive success for your pest control business, it’s all about offering a first-class customer experience. Technology can go a long way to improve CX, but it’s not a magic bullet. While you may be tempted to incorporate every new technology that comes your way, it’s important to ensure every investment you make adds value for the customer.
“Regularly ask yourself, ‘Is what I am doing enhancing or diluting my customer’s experience?’” suggests O’Donnal, “Always find more ways to enhance the customer experience and add value.”
BY AMY BELL