Smart companies of all sizes and in all industries understand the importance of gathering and acting on customer feedback. In this interview, Sean Radvansky of Insight Pest Solutions, a small pest control company with locations in several states, explains how gathering customer insights has helped the company to identify unmet customer needs, improve the customer experience and attract new customers.

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Tell us a bit about when you first started using Qualtrics and why you felt it was a good research platform for Insight Pest Solutions?

I heard about Qualtrics as an undergrad at BYU. The user interface is simple enough that anyone can dive in and start building basic surveys right away. Looking back, I had no idea about the advanced capabilities of the software. I simply liked that it was easy to use and more functional than other programs I had seen.

Qualtrics came in handy for several class projects, most notably a managerial economics course where I surveyed over 300 alums from my program. I became more impressed with Qualtrics as I viewed advanced reports with responses drilled-down by several variables. I also took it as a sign of exceptional quality when each of my troubleshooting calls to Qualtrics support were answered by cheerful, intelligent representatives who walked me through solutions and provided valuable education—all while I had a free student account!

After graduation, I accepted a job for Insight Pest Solutions, a small business that I had worked for during college. I saw a need for a survey software solution and convinced the owners to give it a try.

 

What are some of the biggest research challenges your business faces?

In the pest control industry, face-to-face interaction with customers is usually quite limited. From an operations and customer service perspective, I want to know if a customer likes their technician. Did they have a good experience when they had to call the office and reschedule? From a marketing perspective, I want to know how they found our company and what they are most interested in. Which phrases do they search when looking for a pest control company?  Why did they select and why do they keep Insight Pest Solutions as their pest control company?

 

How has Qualtrics Research Suite helped you better serve your customers?

Identify Unmet Customer Needs

Proactively asking for feedback from customers has been huge for us. If you don’t ask for feedback, you’ll most likely only hear from unrepresentative outliers.

As a new hire, I eagerly sent thousands of surveys via email to our customers to gauge satisfaction levels. It was mid-summer, and requests for free re-treatments jumped to unprecedented levels.  With thousands of customers in each market, we typically get a few phone calls per day asking for retreatments.  My surveys opened a new channel of communication that led to quite a few requests for retreatment via email.  Some of the established branch managers were frustrated and began to ask, “Don’t people know they can call our number if they need help?  Who are all these people electronically asking for re-treatments?”

It turns out that there is a sizable portion of our customer base that doesn’t have a big enough problem to make a phone call, but they will reply to an email or take a survey.

Yes, it was extra effort for us to alleviate the temporary almost-worthy-of-a-phone-call ant problems, but our response allowed us to keep more people happy. Previously, we were totally in the dark! I’ve heard that a customer who has had a problem and had the problem fixed is 30% more loyal than a customer who never had a problem at all. Fixing these small problems is an added value for our business.

Improve customer experience

As responses have rolled in, we’ve adapted the surveys substantially. We started asking several specific questions about each customer’s technician, interaction with office staff, and overall experience with Insight Pest Solutions. Automatic reports are emailed to display weekly evaluations. We can see how one technician compares to others in the office, or how one branch compares to others across the country. We provide training and follow up with rewards for the technicians and managers who consistently score above average. In short, Qualtrics helps us gather the information we want so we can better operate our business.

 

How are you using technology to improve both the quantity and quality of customer feedback?

With Qualtrics, we get exponentially more feedback than ever before! To entice customers to provide feedback, we enter them in our quarterly drawing for an iPad mini. We try to keep it simple and explain that we are a small business that needs their candid feedback, good or bad.

In addition, we set up automated email triggers to send immediate messages to our team members when a survey response warrants follow-up. For example, if a customer indicates that they’re not as happy as we aim for them to be, they will receive a message at the end of the survey asking if they would like a call from the branch manager. If yes, the branch manager immediately receives a high-priority email with a summary of the survey response. In like manner, if someone requests more information on an additional program such as wildlife or termites, our sales team automatically receives an email regarding the upsell opportunity.

 

How is Qualtrics helping you to attract new customers?

By helping us to understand what our customers are actually interested in, rather than relying on intuition. We learned that many people have had trouble contacting us (that was a huge surprise!); they are interested in a mobile app; they actually like our slogan compared to others; and that our current website is not very helpful. Much of this information was shocking. Ultimately, these survey results have shaped many of our top initiatives for the next 1-2 years. We are working to excel at communication and convenience for our customers, and have made this a part of our new marketing campaigns.

Also, within our surveys, our most satisfied customers are asked to click a Facebook Like button or Google +1 button. Social recommendations are big when it comes to finding a trusted company to kill ants and spiders.  Ideally, someone browsing our site six months from now would see a Facebook plugin that shows that a friend likes us.

 

How is Qualtrics making a difference to your organization? Any results to share? (NPS scores, bottom line impacts, etc.)

Qualtrics has helped us quite a bit! We know more about our customers and their interests. We know what impresses them most. We know which employees are providing exceptional service. Qualtrics has not only impacted our marketing strategy, but also helped us incorporate survey results into the compensation plans for our employees. Qualtrics helps us gather real-time, actionable data that helps us adapt to the needs and wants of our customers.