What is something that we don't often think about, but has a dramatic impact on long-term customer retention? Customer onboarding.
Bringing in, and serving, new customers is something that pest control companies do all the time. You know the process so well that you could probably do it blindfolded. It's so much of your business-as-usual that these days you don't even see it.
Customer onboarding is the process of bringing new customers 'on board' to your business. First impressions count. Great customer onboarding can dramatically increase the profitability of every client.
A great customer onboarding experience builds trust
Your pest control company is being trusted by your clients to help them live and work in pest-free environments. But you won't know whether their need is short term or long-term unless you ask.
This is where customer onboarding begins. When your clients first come to you, finding out out what their desired outcome is will help you deliver a great service. It will also help you to design a customer flow through your business.
For example, restaurant owner Julie might want a pest treatment prior to moving into her new premises, but her ideal outcome is continuous control so she doesn't put her clients at risk. But Ben, who lives by himself, might only care about timber pests that put the value of his most significant asset at risk.
Asking your clients at the beginning of your relationship what their level of success looks like will help you to meet their expectations, provide a service that fits, and shows that you care.
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The principles of great onboarding
So, how do we get the onboarding right, beyond this question?
1. Ask the right questions
We have already covered one of the most important questions above: What is your desired outcome?
Some other great questions that you can ask include:
- Have you used a pest service before?
- What have your past experiences with pest control companies been like?
- How do you prefer to be contacted?
- What is the best time of day to reach you if I need to?
Meet your new customer's preferences wherever you can. It will help them to see your service as being engaging, simple to work with, and trouble-free.
2. Make the process simple and repeatable.
Great onboarding processes are known by everyone in your business. They are written and built into your systems. To learn more about how to do this, read this article about standardising your process.
3. Keep your CRM up to date
If you have a Customer Relationship Management system or workflow management system of some kind, remember to keep it up to date!
Being able to see the buying patterns of your customers helps you to refine your onboarding process over time. You may find that with great onboarding that the standard service you provide needs to change; or perhaps that good onboarding helps you to up-sell your customers earlier than before.
A great CRM helps you to set milestones for your customer's relationship with you, and to set tasks that need to be completed to help them stay engaged and connected.
4. Educate, but don't overload
Your customers may not have much knowledge about the things that they can do to prevent pests. Simple things like keeping firewood away from the house, regular cleaning and rubbish removal, can do a lot to help prevent problems down the track.
As you talk to your customers about their issues and desires, you have an opportunity to educate them. Great onboarding provides just enough information for the customer to take action, but not enough to overwhelm them.
This is where it can be useful to have resources that your customers can access later, after their first interaction with you.
5. Set expectations as early as possible
Setting expectations about your service during the onboarding phase helps your customers to understand what it will be like to work with you.
It is particularly important to address anything that conflicts with your customer's idea of success. For example, if your customer believes that one pest treatment will be enough to stop termites migrating from the big old tree in the yard into their house, you will want to address it.
If your new client has come to you for eradication, this is a good time to establish the idea of continuous control, if you provide it. Being pest free right now is good; being pest free forever is fantastic.
6. Find a way to make them feel welcome
While you can add your new customers to your email list, you might find that doing something a little bit different improves your customer loyalty, retention or referral rates.
You don't have to do anything remarkable to stand out. A great example is sending a hand-written card wishing them well in their newly pest-free home 30 days after their last service. It's unexpected, unusual, and means a lot more than getting generic emails.
Turn your customer onboarding into a core part of your business with myFLO.
myFLO is the best pest control workflow management solution on the market. When your customer onboarding is built into your software, then you can rest assured that your field service team will do what they need to do to create good experiences every single day.
To learn more about how myFLO can help you, please contact us