Striking a service frequency and customer satisfaction balance

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April 5, 2017

By

April 5, 2017


One of the most important decisions a pest management professional has to make is what treatment frequencies they’ll offer. Choosing the right service frequency can either “make it or break it” when it comes to customer satisfaction and your company’s reputation. With the new world of online ratings and reviews, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers happy.  This isn’t your dad’s pest control company. Nowadays, one bad review can put a small operation out of business for good.

Arizona bark scorpion

Arizona bark scorpion (Photo: iStock.com/Srabin)

The right service schedule for your company depends on several factors including target pests, climate and customer expectations. Some of the biggest pest management operations in the U.S. schedule quarterly service to be the most profitable. Quarterly pest management service charges are much higher on a per-service basis than their bi-monthly or monthly counterparts. In most conditions, quarterly pest management service has the least effect on the environment but, depending on targeted pests, it may not deliver the highest quality control.

Target pests

Naturally, the first consideration for pest control frequency is target pests. There are several factors to consider when it comes to controlling different pests: What pests are most common in your area? Which products offer the most effective control, and what are those product label guidelines? Remember, there’s not a single professional product that works for all pests.

There are SO many pests, and I can’t talk about them all here. But one example, from our experience, is scorpions in the greater Phoenix Valley. Scorpions are one of our main target pests, and often they’re Arizona bark scorpions (C. sculpturatus). Scorpions are built to survive, and Arizona bark scorpions are the most venomous in the U.S. As you can imagine, most residents have a zero tolerance attitude towards scorpions. On top of that, effective scorpion control products only work for about a month in the hot Phoenix sun. After years of product testing, trial and error, measuring control, and measuring customer satisfaction we’ve nailed down a scorpion control frequency that works best.

Several pests require specialized products applied at different intervals for control, and those variables change when you throw in climate differences and customer expectations.

Climate

Different climates require varied service frequencies for effective pest control because of weather factors. Blistering hot sun, rainy days, and freezing temperatures all have particular effects on pest activity and product longevity. Pest control treatments that work well in Las Vegas, Nev., will most likely not be effective in Shreveport, La., just because of humidity differences.

I grew up in the Palm Springs, Calif., area where crickets, American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana), and camel spiders (solifugae) were all the rage. It was hot all year ’round, and rarely got any precipitation! But 20 years of pest control in the Mojave Desert couldn’t prepare us for what we learned just a few miles down the road in the Sonora Desert!

Customer Expectations

This is a big one… After everything’s said and done, customer expectations are what determine customers satisfaction. It’s that simple, and that complex. Some people’s idea of good pest control is to never see a single bug – even the dead ones. Other folks are more reasonable and don’t mind seeing a few small bugs right before their next service. And if you’re only offering quarterly services, you probably don’t want the first kind of customer.

Don’t wait to get a bad review to make a change in service frequency. You can determine your customer’s expectations and satisfaction by measuring your re-treats. Find the balance between happy customers and effective control by determining the percentage of re-treats based on a service frequency. For example, if your re-treats are high on quarterly services, you may want to tighten up your service frequency.

You’ve probably heard the saying – and it’s some of the best advice my dad ever gave me about customer expectations and satisfaction —  “Under promise and over deliver.” This rings true now more than ever because satisfied customers and high online ratings are often more profitable than less frequent services at higher prices.


Juliea HuffakerJuliea Huffaker is a copywriter for Responsible Pest Control, Mesa, Ariz. She previously worked in collections and as a secretary, customer service representative, technician, and licensed field representative for the company. She works from home and is the mother of five beautiful children.

She grew up in Yucca Valley, Calif. Her father was the son of an Italian “health nut” who had the principles of healthy living ingrained in his soul. This has been a blessing to her and Responsible Pest Control for almost 40 years. “I remember tarantulas on our window screens at night, and my Dad’s response was always the same: ‘That means we have a healthy environment,'” she said. “Dad never used product treatments till it was totally necessary, always doing preventive measures using common sense solutions before product applications.”

Huffaker said over the years, she made the decisions to buy out her parents and is now financing their retirement and growing Responsible Pest Control in the Greater Phoenix Arizona Valley. “Growing a pest control company from scratch in the Phoenix Valley proved to be quite a challenge, but we’ve been blessed along the way, and now service over 4,000 valley residents,” she said.

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About the Author

Juliea Huffaker is a copywriter for Responsible Pest Control, Mesa, Ariz. She previously worked in collections and as a secretary, customer service representative, technician, and licensed field representative for the company. She works from home and is the mother of five beautiful children. She grew up in Yucca Valley, Calif. Her father was the son of an Italian “health nut” who had the principles of healthy living ingrained in his soul. This has been a blessing to her and Responsible Pest Control for almost 40 years. “I remember tarantulas on our window screens at night, and my Dad’s response was always the same: ‘That means we have a healthy environment,'” she said. “Dad never used product treatments till it was totally necessary, always doing preventive measures using common sense solutions before product applications.” Huffaker said over the years, she made the decisions to buy out her parents and is now financing their retirement and growing Responsible Pest Control in the Greater Phoenix Arizona Valley. “Growing a pest control company from scratch in the Phoenix Valley proved to be quite a challenge, but we’ve been blessed along the way, and now service over 4,000 valley residents,” she said.

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