September 29, 2015
Customer Information is Tops
Where does great customer service start? Knowing your customers needs well and using that knowledge effectively. The means of carefully keeping and curating information for customers defines any good software software in our industry. Customer Relationship Management (‘CRM’) pieces are perhaps the most critical component of ANY pest control software package.
Lets see if we can describe 10 CRM components that you should be able to find in any good pest control software. Each of these has an easy to understand value that it provides to your customers. Use this list as a grade card to evaluate whatever software you are currently using or considering. Any grade below 8 out of 10 is deficient for protecting the value that your customers represent.
-Contact details in a portal with the ability to designate their preferred choices in the list. There should be no limit with the number of contact details, and the preferred options should slide to the top. Emails, FAXes, and web sites should all be supported. Ideally, phone numbers should auto-format, and turn red if missing digits.
-A place for ongoing notes summarizing every contact with your customer, and at the very least, every concern or request they make. By formatting these with HTML, they automatically expand or shrink based upon their content. The most recent few show show on the Choose name or Customer Search screen. These notes are really just a log summarizing each time they reached out to you and what their need was. Having them in the database means that any person who answers the phone next will quickly be ‘up to speed’ on that customer’s needs. Can you imagine a doctor who took no notes? I didn’t think so….
-Rapid searching of ‘Choosing’ the customer. No CRM system is of value unless you can rapidly find any customer. You should NOT need to memorize an obscure code or customer number. You should be able to find a customer by any part of their name or names, address, city, phone, or even their balance due. Or, even any combination of these! Choosing a customer should be nearly instantaneous, even if you have 50,000 customers. And you should be able to get to ‘Choose Customer’ screen anytime from anywhere with one click when the phone rings. And after that call, you should be able to get back to where you were with one click!
-Customer History should be visible at a glance. This history should include lifetime totals, breakouts by service, annual service averages, average ticket amount, and count of services used. This ‘History’ area should be designed as a ‘go to’ area that conveys all the critical number on the customer. And good software will let you search and sort based on ANY of the values!
-One click access to any quotes ever offered. Quotes represent your future, and so deserve special mention.
-Ability to create any standard letter or postcard, PLUS the ability to view each of those letters from the past. Or, to turn this around, the ability to quickly send any prepared letter to a customer with only one click. And it should extremely easy to build new ‘form’ letters in advance, and send them to any number of customers at a time, with post card, email, and full letter options. Wow. ‘Letters’ are simply a core need for any Pest Control software system today.
-Glanceable access to all recent record counts for that customer. Payments, WOs, Invoices, Agreements, Quotes, Notes, and any other content directly related to that customer. This means one click access to about 10 categories of related information (with record counts). So the customer information screen is essentially a dashboard, or jumping off place where you can quickly get to any information that relates to the customer.
-Multiple treatment addresses per customer. Multiple treatment locations are critical for your higher value customers. Google maps should be available for each location with only a click.
-Places to put customer specific notes that will always appear on every WO, and confidential notes that never will, but will print on the route sheet.
– Create an email with one click from the customers Info screen.
Think of your customer Info page as where to go to find anything instantly while you are talking to the customer. From the customer perspective, it should be as if you simply already knew everything about their service and history by heart. In other words, you should be able to get any information needed with no pauses in your conversation. The faster your access, the more ‘at ease’ your customer will be. You can also think of the customer Info screen, as a place for tidbits. Tidbits of those critical pieces of information that allow you to know who and what and where the customer is. You could include information, like their preferences, or how long it takes to do a general pest-control, or the names of their kids the names of their pets.
Customer service starts with knowing your customers well. If you do not have a perfect memory, let software help you! And keep score.