My name is Sally Blocksom I'm the co owner of Pondscapes of Charlotte. I own the business with my husband Dave Blocksom. We have been in business for approximately 15 years. Our company installs and maintains water features, and we do monthly and quarterly services on them to help keep them in pristine condition.
On a typical day we might do a VIP service for about 5-10 of our monthly customers. We also would have a crew of about two or three people working on a new installation of a water feature for a homeowner. A new install can take anywhere from a week to a month.
It's always a challenge to get all the accurate information —name, phone number, address—out to the guys in the field so that they can make contact with the customer and get to their jobs in a timely manner. Having LACRM has really helped in that manner. I can put information in here in the office and they have it instantaneously on the field.
Our crew also adds notes to LACRM as to when they arrive and when they leave. This way, if a customer is calling and wants to know if their house has been serviced yet, it's very easy for me to tell them.
We try to motivate our team by having a positive work environment and being open to hearing any questions or suggestions they might have to make their jobs easier or more efficient. Our team also earns extra money by up-selling certain services to our customers.
Each of our trucks is equipped with an iPhone and iPad. We use a computer in the office. Using LACRM across all these different systems has helped us to keep in better contact with our crew and get any pertinent information out into the field in a very timely manner.
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Most valuable piece of advice I would give someone starting a business is to be straight forward and honest with your customer. Let them know what you are going to be doing for them and what you're not going to be doing for them and make sure that there's a clear understanding between the two of you before you start a project. And if anything arises, positive or negative, make sure the customer is aware.
We build customer loyalty by providing quality service and by respecting our customer's time. We make every effort to be on time for all our appointments and if, by chance, we are running late, we make sure to call them BEFORE the appointment time to let them know we are running late. Customers really appreciate being kept up to date. We also try to be very consistent with our service. It should not matter who is doing the service, the customer experience should be the same—high quality.
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For our VIP service, which is our monthly service, we have approximately 80 customers. We used to use books to keep each customer sheet and we had about 18 books. We would write down any pertinent information about their service, but if a book was misplaced or in another truck, it was difficult to do the work. And if a customer called the office to ask for something special, we were not always able to relay the info out to the tech. But with LACRM we are able to do it online and if by chance another employee needs to go out to that customer's home to service it they will have all pertinent information concerning that customer.
Another issue for us was making sure our crew had all the information they needed to do their jobs. Before, there were times when they did not have a correct address and/or phone number when they went to visit a customer. Now with Less Annoying CRM, because we've made some of the fields like Name, Phone, Email, and Address mandatory it has not been an issue anymore.
Probably about 50% of the people in our business use a CRM of some sort. We were actually at a conference and I met a woman who had LACRM and she was able to help guide us through the process of setting it up. We did have to train our guys on how to use the CRM but most of it is intuitive and they picked it up very easily.
We use LACRM in a lot of different ways. We use it to track phone calls and see if they turn into leads and of those leads, which ones turn into sales. We also collect information as to how they heard about us so we can see what type of advertising is working best for us. We also use it with our monthly VIP service and have three pipelines for our VIP customers: Active, Done and Hold. This way we know who has been done for the month and who isn't. If a customer requests to not receive service or they are behind on their payments we can put them in the Hold pipeline until it is resolved. If any of our customers have any special needs for that month or for a future visit, we can put it directly into the CRM so that anyone can follow up with their service and can see what is needed for the customer.
We use our pipelines every day and we have pipelines set up for different things, like I said before, one of them is for the VIP service. Whenever a service technician goes to a VIP customer's home, they log when they arrive and when they leave. The tech will write detailed notes about what they did when they were there.
Another way LACRM helps us is that we are able to keep any pertinent emails attached to the CRM so we can go back and look at them anytime to see what the correspondence was. In our business a lot of times we like to give estimates over the phone but we would need to see a picture of their pond. Using LACRM were able to have them give us a picture of the pond and we actually attach it to their CRM and that way everybody is able to see the picture of their pond before they go to their home.
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We picked LACRM because we had a colleague that highly recommended it to us and said it was so easy to learn and use.
Also as I was setting up the CRM, the support staff was magnificent: they answered my calls or emailed me back almost immediately to help work me through any issues I was having. It made me feel very confident that I was gonna be able to use the CRM to its full potential.
I set the CRM up mostly by myself but I did have a colleague that I also spoke with if I had any questions. Even so, the system is really intuitive so I picked it up very quickly. Also the support staff, like I said, was just phenomenal-- if I had any questions or was wondering if I could do anything, they were right there to help me answer any questions.
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