Real Green Systems holds annual user conference, Solutions 2019

|  January 8, 2019

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Real Green Systems held its Solutions 2019 user conference Jan. 6-9 in St. Pete Beach, Fla. More than 750 pest management and lawn care professionals who use the business management software gathered for the annual networking and educational event.

A midday golf outing got the event off to a great start. Later in the day, attendees gathered for a welcome reception in the exhibit hall. Attendees mingled with about 30 vendors and enjoyed light appetizers and drinks.

Early on day two, Real Green Systems Founder and CEO Joe Kucik addressed attendees, reminding them the conference is an opportunity to share ideas and help each other be successful.

The company got its start 35 years ago. Kucik explained his success is due to his father, who had a “rough” upbringing. His father’s parents died, leaving him an orphan at an early age. Although his father never had a mentor, he became a police officer, launched a successful lawn care business and owned five hotels.

“He was just a hardworking guy who believed in what he was doing,” Kucik said of his father. Real Green, he added, “started with my dad teaching me to be a risk taker.”

Although starting a company didn’t come easy, he told the crowd it is a “wonderful community of companies. My best friends are in this room right now.”

Most of the new developments with the software are on the digital side, Kucik said. Mobile Live is now available on iOS, and the team consists of three developers and 10 technical support staff members. He also mentioned the Automated Marketing Assistant, calling it “one of the best products we’ve ever rolled out.”

Inspirational speaker Marcus Sheridan gave the Keynote Address. The author of the content marketing book “They ask, You Answer” shared how attracted customers and saved his swimming pool installation company despite an economic downturn.

Sheridan explained the five things people want to know before they make a major purchase and how to provide them. He also explained the value of using video on company websites.

“Eighty-five percent of all content consumed online will be video by the end of 2019,” he said. “The good news is you have 12 months to ramp up.”

Video is an effective sales tool when embedded in email messages, Sheridan said. It gets your message out because recipients are compelled to watch the video you made especially for them. It also effectively addresses prospective customer’s questions, and leaves a lasting impression.

“We are in a battle for attention,” he said. “But we are also in a battle for trust.”

A peer discussion session moderated by Real Green Systems’ Kucik, President Don Brown and Vice President of Business Solutions Beth Berry, explored “How to successfully plan and manage growth.”

Kucik made a case for sticking with what you do best by telling attendees he decided, in 1996, to get rid of his lawn care company’s alternative service offerings. Focusing on the core of the business that was recurring revenue enabled him to build the business to more than $3 million and then sell it in 2001.

He then asked attendees to share how they grow their businesses. Many said they now offer mosquito control and other pest management services.

Berry advised attendees to collect data from customers to track their needs and wants. Business management software definitely makes that easy for technicians to note.

Brown suggested owners share their company plans with employees. This is especially important when a company is growing.

“The more you share with your employees, the more they are going to be engaged with your objectives,” he said.

Those who attended the session made their own recommendations. One said owners should make sure their company culture can sustain an expansion. Another said more locations don’t mean more success.

Later, Berry hosted a well-attended session titled, “Code Red: How to save a customer before they cancel.”

Retaining customers begins with training your company’s customer service people on how to handle your toughest customers.

“It starts in the recruiting process, and knowing you have the people to help you save your customers,” she said.

The ability to listen to your customers and solve their problems is imperative.

“I used to tell our employees, ‘One of your most important jobs is going to be how to save our customers,’” Berry said of her days at a lawn care company.

Berry stressed the key to satisfaction and customer retention is effective communication.

Role-playing exercises will give your employees the confidence they need to communicate with customers effectively. Everyone in the organization should participate, and scripts should vary from week to week.

“My silver bullet for success is: ‘Answer the damn phone!’” she said, acknowledging that most employees don’t want to talk to angry customers.

Berry also suggested ways to pre-empt a Code Red situation. Including in the business management software you use detailed notes about customer concerns or issues that could lead to unhappy customers provide an opportunity to head off any problems. Conducting follow-up service calls will allow customers to express their concerns before a problem escalates.

Real Green Systems will hold its 20th user conference next Jan. 5-8 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center in Nashville.

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