Thirty years ago, most pest management services were monthly. Customers wanted every room inside the house treated as well as the outside. I even inherited a customer who, after I had done both the inside and outside of the home, would look at me and ask, “Are you ready to do my car?” She then would escort me to her 1965 Chrysler, open up all four doors and the trunk, and watch as I treated her car.
Today, most customers only want quarterly or every-other-month service. Some pest management companies are providing an outside-only service, with inside service upon request in some cases. We also see many more latchkey accounts, where the customers simply leave a key hidden or provide other points of access to their home or business to get their pest management services performed. While these trends may be more convenient for the customer, providing service this way leaves a huge void in the all-important communication process.
Keeping communication lines open
To bring the interaction with the customer back to a WOW level, I instituted a “Tech Touch Calls” (TTC) procedure:
⦁ If a service was performed and the customer was present, no TTC is required.
⦁ If the customer was not home and an outside perimeter service or (key stop) inside and outside service was performed, a TTC has to be done on that day. There are no exceptions and no excuses.
We have a TTC logbook that documents every call and records the outcome. We provide a script to assist the tech as to what to say, including thanking the customers for their business. If the customer does not answer, the tech leaves a detailed voicemail and notes in the logbook that a message was left. Managers and/or supervisors check the logbook daily to ensure that techs are doing the TTCs.
The TTC process has had a tremendous effect on our customer service experience. Besides having many two-income households as customers, we also treat a lot of vacation homes. This means that often, our techs may have never met the customer face-to-face. It only takes a few minutes to do, but that voice-to-voice interaction from their friendly technician letting them know about what pest activity he or she found at their home that day has made a huge positive impact on our customers.
Over the years, we have alerted customers to water leaks, broken windows and other issues with their homes. As a result, sometimes a tech may get a nice review or little bonus from a customer he or she has never met, but has talked with dozens of times on the phone.
The bottom line is, Tech Touch Calls are here to stay for our business because they’re a way to keep customers satisfied and technicians in-the-know.
You can reach Ray Johnson, a past president of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), president of Sevierville, Tenn.-based Johnson Pest Control, and founder of ACES for Business, at email@example.com.