Homeowners, business owners and real estate agents seeking termite inspectors typically want immediate results. That’s why one family-owned pest management company created and launched TermitePro.us, a website that lets customers schedule termite inspections online.
“We saw this as a basic next step for our industry,” says Isaac Camacho, marketing and sales director for Irvine, Calif.-based Accurate Termite and Pest Control. “We live in a world where we can buy something online and have it on our doorstep in a matter of hours, in some areas.”
The platform allows customers to schedule an appointment with the termite inspector of their choice, as well as directly interact with the inspector and customer service representatives. It provides an overview of each inspector available. Each pest management professional’s (PMP’s) photo, license number, background information about experience and expertise, and additional information is included so customers can get to know the PMPs better.
The website’s differentiation point, notes Camacho, is that it offers complete transparency — customers don’t need to provide personal information to get started, and instead can dig into the process right away from the comfort of their couch.
“We feel ours is a professional industry that owes consumers up-to-date professionalism in every way consumers interact with us,” Camacho says. “We did not see it being offered anywhere with the level of convenience and transparency we felt today’s consumer demands, so we decided to start and build from scratch.”
Attracting new customers
Camacho says the process took approximately 22 months, from concept to the first live version of the website. But after the formal launch, the payoff was nearly immediate.
“On our residential side, about 20 percent of all — new and old — inspections are coming in through the new scheduling tool, without any interaction with our staff until the inspection,” he says. “On the large-scale commercial side, it’s about 85 percent of all inspections.”
Existing customers tend to use the more traditional methods of phone or email, Camacho admits, although he forecasts that to change as new customers settle in to becoming existing customers. As of mid-September, more than 90 percent of TermitePro.us users are new customers, defined as not having been served by Accurate in the past 24 months or longer.
Camacho says the Accurate team is thrilled with the results because it offers convenience to customers and reduces the time and labor spent scheduling by phone. It also has strengthened relationships with newer customers from the start, since the customer gets information on his or her assigned termite inspector immediately.
Hindsight being 20/20, Camacho says, there were a few lessons learned along the way during site development.
“We should have involved more web developers and done more market research,” he says. “Because we were starting from scratch, we knew the effort would be costly. In our efforts to keep costs down, we basically built on our own notions and instincts on how customers wanted the tool to work. We ended up with redundancies and some wasted efforts when our beta version launched in 2017, and we saw how customers actually used the tool.”
The updated version introduced in February has been working so smoothly, Camacho says, that similar projects are in the pipeline for 2019 and beyond for the company. He notes that success is due in large part to the hard work and patience of Accurate employees.
“We are very grateful to those team members at Accurate that were crucial in the process of developing, building and implementing this new tool,” he says. “We have a great team and mix of experienced industry professionals and innovators that made this effort possible, and a success for our company and customers alike.”