When Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators first learned about the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ technology, it liked the features and benefits of the product but were unsure of what effect it might have on customer retention.
“One of the keys to our success with Sentricon has been our customer retention rate,” says XXXX XXXXXX, chief operating officer at Arrow Exterminators. “We have been so successful in keeping our customers since the launch of Sentricon in 1995 that we were concerned about doing anything that may negatively impact this core competency.”
Deciding how to integrate Sentricon with Always Active technology into its business, Arrow assembled its strategy team, led by chief executive officer and president Emily Thomas Kendrick.
“After months of discussion, a review of market research and meeting with select leaders of our company, we made the decision to upgrade our customers to the new technology,” Thomas Kendrick says. “We did things the old-fashioned way, listing the pros and cons on a whiteboard and debating them late into the night. We made sure we took whatever time was necessary to make a sound business decision.”
Arrow made the decision to upgrade its customers of the Sentricon System as soon as the technology became available. To work out operational issues, Arrow selected their Americus, Ga., office as the pilot location. Arrow began converting its 135,000 customers in January 2011, and by April 15, all of its customers of the Sentricon® System had been upgraded to Always Active technology.
“We didn’t want to make this a year-long process with some customers using Recruit IV termite bait and others using Recruit HD termite bait,” says Kevin Burns, corporate development officer at Arrow Exterminators. “We ultimately decided that the significant investment we were making in this technology would help us in various areas of our business.
“We were confident that our customers would respond positively to our offer to upgrade them to the best technology available, and they have proven us right.”
Always Active technology helps retain customers
To ensure success, the Arrow strategy team generated a comprehensive plan, complete with tactics and deadlines for each of their internal departments. Leaders of the operations, marketing, sales, training and customer care functions were engaged to execute a plan to train Arrow’s 1,000 employees on the features and benefits of this new technology.
One of the items on the customer care department’s list was to identify those customers who were slow to pay or were in danger of canceling their account due to nonpayment. Each of Arrow’s service centers received a list of those accounts, and they were placed in a red notebook. These accounts, which received special attention, were given the moniker “redbook” accounts inside the company. Customer care team members in each of Arrow’s service centers contacted these redbook accounts to introduce them to Always Active™ technology and remind them of the importance of termite protection.
When a customer renews an account, it’s recorded in the redbook and in PestPac, the company’s operating software. The redbook is a visible reminder for employees to follow up with customers.
“Some customers may have forgotten why they purchased the Sentricon System in the first place,” says Cindy Mannes, chief marketing and strategy officer. “We felt that it was important to have a conversation to resell them on the importance of protecting their home from the threat of subterranean termites.”
Mannes cites Sustainability Through Environmental Practices and Solutions (STEPS®) as an important part of her business.
“As an integral piece of our STEPS Total Protection System, we stress the importance of taking care of the environment while protecting homes and families from pests and the destruction and diseases they may carry. The Sentricon System with Always Active technology is the ideal termite control product and the perfect fit for our business model.”
Burns and his team credit multiple factors resulting in the company’s positive retention rate.
“Our Arrow University staff played a major role in educating our internal team by conducting Always Active technology road shows,” Burns says. “Educating our internal team about this new technology ultimately resulted in stronger communication with our customers.”
“We are very pleased with the efforts of our internal Customer Care Department and the boost we received from Always Active technology,” Burns says. “You never know how well a program will do. By combining the efforts of our well-trained staff and Always Active technology, we have experienced a higher degree of success than was originally established for this program.”
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