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A look at the number of apps available for download will tell you that our business and personal lifestyles have forever been changed. From getting directions to ordering Starbucks to booking airplane tickets, apps are as ingrained in our daily habits as brushing our teeth.

How much so? According to the digital data collector Statista, there are 1.6 million apps available for download from Google Play and 1.5 million in the Apple App Store.

For ABC Home & Commercial Services in Austin, Texas, a pair of apps has created an effective way to measure both lead generation and connect customers with the company in ways that benefit everyone.

As ABC Home & Commercial expanded its service offerings, the firm found its technicians on the exterior of a customer’s home — for lawn care, landscape services, window washing, pool cleaning — and was concerned that it would lose important face-to-face time with clients.

“As we started doing more outside services the concern was there would be less of a chance to build a relationship with customers,” says Bobby Jenkins, president of ABC Home & Commercial. “This is what drove us to develop and deploy the Go Get Quality app.”

Go Get Quality established a virtual service connection with customers that featured a front-end notification and scheduling component, an on-site component that allowed technicians to deliver information on the service and a back-end, follow-up piece for customer feedback.

“It touched all the bases we need to have covered and is probably the most important technology tool we’ve implemented in the last 10 years,” Jenkins says.

The front-end component allows ABC technicians to email and text customers to confirm their appointment time, what service(s) will be performed and an approximate arrival time. The app also allows technicians to share their photo and professional resume with customers so they know exactly who will be knocking on their door.

The on-site component of the app gives the technicians the ability to take photos and record a voice message summarizing the service(s) performed and point out other potential conditions that ABC’s service offerings may be able to assist with, and send it immediately to the client.

“The nice thing about this component is that it adds a personal touch to the service visit whether or not the client is home,” says Jenkins, who deployed the Go Get Quality app in late 2015.

Jenkins says technicians — regardless of the service they are performing at the home that day — are encouraged to report possible conditions or issues that an ABC service might solve.

“Our pest and lawn care technicians can report on a noisy air conditioning unit or peeling paint on a house that our HVAC and home repair unit can help with and vice versa,” adds Jenkins.

The final feature of the app is the one Jenkins felt was missing most from ABC’s customer service efforts: securing client feedback.

An email is sent to the customer following the service asking them complete a brief survey regarding their service experience. There is also an option given to the customer to post their positive feedback to social media and if they do so and refer ABC, they receive a discount on their next service call.

On the flip side, if there is an issue with the service, any negative feedback is sent directly to the technician’s manager to be reviewed and acted upon.

“We received very little or sporadic feedback from customers on our service previously and since we deployed the app the response has been very solid,” says Jenkins. “Customers have told us the app exceeds their expectations from what they expect from a pest control company.”

When determining how much information to share with customers, Jenkins says two or three images and a brief voice message suffices. With fewer consumers home during the day, this information allows homeowners to see exactly what was done at their home when they weren’t there.

TECHNICIAN CONNECTION. Pest management companies have long looked for ways to improve how to track and compensate technicians for new business lead generation. ABC was no different.

“We always want to do more business with current customers and we needed a more efficient way for our technicians to turn in leads,” says Jenkins. “Under the old system there was no feedback to the technician on where the lead went, if it was sold and if they received credit — the credibility was low.”

ABC introduced the LeadNow app where technicians can track the progress of a lead they submit from start to finish. The process works like this:

While on-site at a customer’s home, technicians can submit photos and a voice file pointing out potential service needs — not just pest control — that ABC’s service lineup might be able to assist with.

The information is sent instantly to a dedicated CSR team who then make an immediate call to the customer while the technician is on the premises to set up a follow-up appointment.

The technician can track the leads they submit and see if the lead is closed and what commission they will receive.

ABC also changed its commission structure on lead generation. Previously technicians and sales split commission but under the new system if a legitimate lead is turned in and an estimate provided, the technician receives $10 per lead — regardless if the customer ends up buying the service or not. If technicians turn in 11 or more legitimate leads they receive $20 per lead.

The company tracks the data and plays up the results of who is generating the most leads, most closed sales, etc., in its monthly company meeting and the response from technicians has been very positive.

“The app has made adoption very easy and simple, and the technicians have a lot of confidence in it,” says Jenkins. “The technicians still have to look for the leads and close the sale but the technology helps facilitate the process.”

The author is a partner of B Communications. Email him at jfenner@giemedia.com.