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hile increases in sales or profits can be eas- ily measured, they are usually the result of how we are being judged by our custom-

ers. An increase in sales is usually an economic vote on behalf of our customers that we are providing quality service. Conversely, a fall in sales may be attributed to a fall in the quality of service. However, in order to measure the quality of our service, there is no readily available report card such as a P/L statement that allows us to draw quick conclusions unless we create one. The problem with measuring qualitative attributes

such as quality of service is that it can be very subjec- tive. So, we need a method to turn these qualitative attributes into numbers that we can measure against past, present and future results. We have to think about what really matters to the customer regarding our service. Having said that, let’s create a definition of Quality Service as it pertains to pest control services:

Definition: Quality Service Quality service can be defined as the customer’s per- ception that the pest management firm’s performance meets or exceeds his or her expectations in addition to solving his or her problem. Important elements of quality service include:

■ Knowing what customer wants ■ Understanding customer expectations ■ Designing services to meet the customers’ needs ■ Setting service standards ■ Setting performance measurement indicators ■ Measuring performance

Indicators of Quality Service In the field include:

■ The technician being on time ■ The problem being taken care of with the appropriate treatment

■ The technician being courteous ■ Call backs are held to a minimum ■ Customer retention

So with respect to the important elements of qual-

ity service as well as the indicators in the field, the most practically measured would be rate of call backs as well as retention of customers.

Measuring Your Rate of Call Backs There are a number of ways to measure call backs. A few I’ve described below: 1. Ratio of call backs to regular service calls under a contract (i.e. call back ratio is 25%—this means that for every 4 regular services, there is one call back)

2. Ratio of call back time taken to regular service time taken under a contract (i.e. The initial work takes two hours and over the next 6 months there were 2 call backs at ½ hour each—call back ratio is 50%)

3. By calculating dollars per hour received for work on a particular customer over a period of time. If the dollars received per hour is below your target, your call back rate is too high. Assumption: That our services are priced properly for profit. Call backs will drive this dollar per hour down.

Measuring Your Rate of Retention For our purposes lets define customer retention as those customers who extend their contract beyond the

initial period of service. They can extend by: ■ Renewal ■ Extension of route work service

Important measurement elements include: First Year Retention—First year retention becomes

extremely important as this demonstrates a customer’s willingness to employ a pest control service beyond solving his initial problem. Whenever looking at retention, measuring first year versus second year and beyond becomes extremely important. For this reason, first year retention is usually less than overall retention Second Year and Beyond Retention—Once first

year retention is stripped out of the equation, we are left with customers who have the propensity to spend

on pest control services. These folks: ■ Know they need it ■ Are willing to spend to get it ■ Are willing to purchase those services from your company


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