Today was day two of PesTech3.0, a three-day conference dedicated to connecting industry leaders to discuss technology trends in pest control. So far, we've heard from some great speakers on disruptive technology, how the "internet of things" impacts our industry, mobile marketing and using mobile technologies throughout sales and servicing. We've also learned about interesting and innovative ways that pest control operators can start to deploy wearable tech.
I had the honor of presenting on a panel with Bobby Jenkins, owner of ABC Home & Commercial Services in Austin and Cleveland Dixon, owner of Holiday Termite & Pest Control in Virginia. These two gentlemen are well regarded in the industry and it truly was a privilege to present alongside professionals of their caliber.
My presentation centered around new technologies we have deployed in the pursuit of improving communication with our customers. Although that included our contact center solution, chat and e-mail, the interest from the other attendees was clearly about text messaging. More specifically, person-to-person texting on our existing local and toll-free business phone numbers.
We deployed our person-to-person text messaging solution in late 2014. One of the immediate things we learned once we text-enabled our first existing business phone number was that customers had been texting us all along. Without any notification to our customers, and within a day of making that first number textable, we were receiving text messages from customers. Imagine finding out that customers (and potential customers) were calling you but you had no way of answering, or even knowing that they were calling. That's where we were.
With every number we have text-enabled we have experienced the same phenomena: even before being told that text messaging is a viable contact channel, customers are texting us.
That may not be a complete surprise to everyone that reads this, but based on my conversations with business owners and call center operators from all over the country, there are still many people that don't know about person-to-person, business number texting. And based on the number of conversations I had about it today, that includes many of our peers in the pest control industry.
When a customer sends us a text message, it is delivered to a simple site in a web browser where one of my team members can respond to it. To the customer, the experience is just like texting a person - because that's exactly what it is, a customer texting a person.
Having worked in the financial services and health care industries, I am not certain that person-to-person text messaging will work in every industry (person-to-application is much more common in some), but clearly, there are many environments where it can work very well. I believe the pest control industry is. But even if you don't think that your customers would want to contact your company via text message, there may be some that already are without you knowing it.
If you operate a call center, or you have any business where you take phone calls from customers, I think it is a good idea to look into text-enabling your existing business phone numbers. You can keep the voice routing of your calls intact and you don't even need to change your carrier.
Article also posted on LinkedIn - linkedin.com/pulse/your-customers-already-texting-you-matt-beckwith