How Online Booking Can Change the Pest Control Industry
Biting season is here. The dreaded Zika virus has cities and local authorities eager to spray and pray. Bedbugs are busy conquering homes, movie theaters and hotel rooms across the nation. Meanwhile, warm summer weather is bringing out all the usual suspects, from ants ruining picnics to rodents preying on the pantries of your local restaurants.
Pest control companies increasingly rely on technology to help their customers with these kinds of problems, all year round. They’re using everything in their high-tech arsenal, from eco-friendly sprays to heat treatments. But for innovative pest control companies that want to go beyond killing bugs and squash the competition this summer, there’s another kind of technology helping them do the job: online booking software.
This kind of solution helps customers to schedule their own appointments directly through your website, automating a lot of administration that you don’t need to be doing and capturing a whole new demographic of customers who simply do not want to call or email. Here’s how it can help you.
Automate and Improve Customer Service
“How fast can you get here?” is one of the first questions a customer has when they realize they’ve got an infestation on their hands. Kids have bedbug bites? A city inspector is threatening to close down a family restaurant? There’s no time to lose. You can hear the panic in their voice. Other kinds of service companies would love to have this kind of urgency in their own customers. For a pest control business owner, that urgency should be a good problem to have.
Unfortunately, the typical panicked customer won’t wait for you to contact them particularly if it’s after hours and many won’t even consider calling or filling out a static form and waiting for a callback at some unknown future time. Sometimes, their patience will only last as long as it takes to Google a competing pest control company. They won’t even leave an inquiry or ask for a quote. You’ll never hear from them again and the scary thing is it’s not possible to quantify how much business you’re losing unless you open your doors online, allow your customers to book, and measure the results.
With online booking, the customer has the ability to view the service schedule directly via your website, choose an available booking time and get instant relief, knowing that help is going to be on the way. They can do that and avoid confusing email threads or lengthy phone calls (that tie you up when you could be out on a job). The administrative savings, improved customer experience, and increased sales can be game changers.
Companies have seen results of 30 percent or higher increased bookings after activating online booking – and that’s no surprise. After all, you can see the same link between added convenience and revenue when you’re booking a hotel, an air travel ticket or renting a car. That’s the convenience your customers want from you even if your preference is to have customers call so you can sell all the wonderful benefits of your service.
The reality is your customers are online and they increasingly want to book services 24/7 in real-time with no unnecessary emailing, no voicemails, no static forms, no back-and-forth, and certainly no phone-based sales pitches. Make it easier for customers to book jobs themselves and you’ll gain delighted new customers for life – many of whom would not otherwise become customers if your doors were closed online.
Optimize Your Web Presence
Across the pest control industry, it’s not uncommon to see professional-looking websites that are built to sell. That said, some operators that have built their businesses largely on referral can get complacent when it comes to optimizing their sites for search or a convenient mobile experience.
Whether you’re looking to build on a well-established web presence or turn a dated website into an effective selling tool, online booking can integrate with existing websites to bring in more bookings and boost customer satisfaction. Effective online booking offers an easy-to-use interface for customers to actually engage with your website the way they want.
Cut Administration Costs and Put More Resources into Essential Equipment
That insecticide isn’t going to pay for itself. The specialized equipment, uniforms and safety equipment, vehicles and salaries of the technicians carrying out the work can be very capital-intensive. Running a successful pest control company just requires more resources than many other kinds of businesses. The company can pass the expense on to the customer in higher billings, or look to cut costs.
Pest control companies that see similar results to other service industries already using online booking typically see reductions of admin costs by 20 percent or more. Online booking frees up the time of administrators, so labor costs can be reduced or they can be redeployed to productive activities that perhaps generate additional revenue.
Scale Up More Efficiently
It’s not unusual for successful pest control companies to run multiple trucks and in some cases have operations from multiple locations around a city or even across a country. But the single variable of geography can add intolerable complexity to calendars, work order tracking and more. A Google calendar or similar app can become virtually unusable after dispatchers fill in time slots for a few technicians or in multiple cities; try five, 10, or two dozen different locations or trucks using the same free online calendar, making it a cluttered mess.
Beyond the benefits offered by online booking, having the right cloud-based business management software as a foundation to manage your entire business, from customers requesting quotes, to fleet logistics, and even billing is crucial. With the right system in place, pest control technicians can focus on their work, know where to go, and don’t need to check in with the office about their jobs for the day. With the right system in place, the inefficiencies of dispatching, disconnected desktop software, or paper-based systems (yikes!) can be squeezed out of your business – and that’ll improve your bottom line. Company marketers and salespeople can also quickly run reports on the information they need to make good business decisions and closely track performance metrics. Pest control companies with a few trucks on the road, with multiple locations, or those with plans for growth absolutely need the kind of functionality offered by cloud-based business management software just to compete.
Online booking, with the right cloud-based business management solution as the foundation, is about far more than replacing the traditional approaches with a technical workaround. For pest control companies, it’s about getting the bugs out of the system, so your people can do their job.
Vonigo offers mobile service companies a cloud-based business management solution that streamlines the customer delivery process, from online booking all the way through to CRM, scheduling, invoicing, payments and the next visit.