When Bobby Jenkins realized that the phones were ringing long after employees of ABC Home & Commercial Services in Austin had gone home for the night, he identified an opportunity.

“Today’s consumers — in particular, millennials — want to buy when and where it’s convenient for them,” he says. “Technology is core to this generation, and they don’t necessarily want to talk to anyone before they buy. Companies that want to win these customers over need to be prepared to change the way they do business.”

Deciding to take the leap into e-commerce, Jenkins called Aaron Bramwell at digital strategy agency Monkee-Boy about a year ago. “Bobby wanted to streamline the transaction process, offering online scheduling and payment options, while also cross-selling ABC’s various services,” Bramwell says. It was a challenging process, he adds, given the number of variables that needed to be addressed for each service line. But within a few months, “Click to Buy” became the website’s new call to action.

The toughest part for Jenkins was thinking through the price matrix. “You need to give careful thought to which services you want to offer in this manner. It’s a new experience for us to price a project without having spoken to anyone or going out to take a look at the property. My philosophy is that we’ll win some and we’ll lose some if we price somewhere in the middle. It tends to even out,” he says.

It more than evens out when the customer is so pleased with the service they become a regular customer. As a safeguard from ever taking too big of a hit, Jenkins’ site also includes a disclaimer that ABC reserves the right to adjust the quote in the case of a severe infestation or other unforeseen circumstance. Plus, Bramwell is constantly gathering data on how the buying experience is going for customers; he and Jenkins are able to make adjustments along the way, whether that means refining the pricing or fine-tuning the overall customer experience.

Here’s how it goes:

  • The customer chooses their service and enters their address.
  • If ABC services that location, the system integrates with Google Maps and Zillow to show a street view of the home and calculate the appropriate square footage. If the location falls outside ABC’s service area, a message informs the user.
  • The customer is presented with the price of the service (based on the calculated square footage) and selects a date and time for the appointment.
  • They are then directed to PayPal where they pay and receive a receipt before returning back to the ABC site. Here they receive a thank-you message and confirmation of their service appointment, and the order is sent to the service team for confirmation and routing.

Jenkins is pleased with the level of online buying taking place through his site. He is promoting the “Click to Buy” option in local TV and radio spots, as well as through social media. “I want to paint a picture of how easy it is to do business with us,” he says, noting that his e-commerce initiative differentiates his company in the local marketplace. “We are available anytime customers want to do business with us, and that puts us into a strong competitive position.”

The author is a frequent contributor to PCT.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in a PCT e-newsletter titled “E-Commerce in the Pest Management Industry,” which was sponsored by Univar.