What’s good for customers and employees can only be good for business. Getting out of the liquid termiticide business has been good all around for EMCO Termite and Pest Control, of Tulsa, Okla., says owner Larry White.
“Our 4,000-plus termite customers are all Sentricon®,” White says. “For them, Sentricon eliminates the termite problem. For us, it means we don’t have to drill houses and risk liabilities like hitting a water line.”
EMCO exited the liquid business in two steps. In 2005, it stopped selling liquids. Four years later, it converted 1,100 remaining liquid contracts to Sentricon. Dennis Reavis, general manager and sales manager, says the upgrade process was straightforward. Customers were mailed a one-page letter from the salesperson stating that EMCO was now using a better method of termite protection. A follow-up call one week later arranged for a home inspection and sales call.
“A good number of people converted right over the phone,” Reavis says. “Others converted during the home visit where we could talk to them about the benefits of Sentricon. Most customers in our area are familiar with Sentricon and were ready to make the change.”
EMCO accomplished the conversion during the off season when salespeople had spare time, Reavis says. Each salesman mailed 10 letters per day for a workable schedule of home visits. EMCO pays on a commission basis, so salesmen loved having a list of 1,100 customers to call. Customers who chose not to convert were told that their contract protection would expire.
The move to Sentricon is progress through better technology, White says. In 1995, EMCO tested Sentricon on two houses and became authorized in 1996. The decision to move to offering only Sentricon in 2005 made business sense. EMCO no longer needs termite rigs and doesn’t have to hire extra people for the termite season. Customer retention with Sentricon was higher, too, averaging 92 percent.
“Prior to our conversion to Sentricon, we had to have a full-time person just to take care of liquid problems,” White says. “Now, if a termite customer calls, it’s usually some other pest. We sell a lot of pest control that way.”
The progression to Sentricon with Always Active™ technology represents another shift. In 2011, EMCO began offering customers an Always Active technology upgrade for a small one-time charge. If a customer has any kind of termite complaint, EMCO converts them to Always Active at no charge. And all new termite customers are offered only Always Active.
“Sentricon is a superior product,” White says. “If it is the best for everyone, it only makes sense to be committed to it.”