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Strategizing Effective Pest Communication

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An important aspect of enduring partnerships between clients and pest control service providers is effective communication. The customer knows his facilities and processes best and the service provider is the expert on pest behaviour and prevention. And when the twain meet, with clear expectations from one end and a comprehension of those requirements from the other, pests beware! K Anand, Founder & MD, Oneland Global Solutions and Premkumar S, Director of Sales, Unique Pest Management enlighten us on the effectiveness and impact of good communication strategies in professional pest management.

Education & Training

Communication strategies at Oneland Global Solutions is three-prong — educating customers on pest management, meeting their expectations, and feedback mechanisms for course correction and improved services, explains K Anand.

As a certified pest management service provider, Anand takes on the onus of educating his customers using conventional and new age communication tools.

During site inspection, customers, while being recommended the required service, are advised about the chemical to be used and safety precautions to be followed. They are briefed about the process and the dos and don’ts to be adhered to after a service. A pre-service audit is conducted, which focuses on the present status, pest entry points and harbourages. Based on the audit, the customer is briefed about the approach and methods the service provider follows.

Customers are given regular training, and the focus is on seasonal pests. Posters are designed to create awareness on pests and directions to be followed, including rodent-bait station maps, first aid procedures, pesticide-spill management, and emergency preparedness.

New-age communication methods include WhatsApp groups for pest sighting and control measures taken, email communication for information sharing with the client, personalised cloud data pages where customers can find documents related to their service, seasonal email campaigns and enhanced awareness on special occasions like World Pest Day, National Dengue Day and Malaria Day.

Managing customer expectations is part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which includes steps on on-boarding and follow-up. The pre-service auditing process serves to discuss expectations with the customer and based on his inputs, service frequency, methodology and chemicals to be used are firmed up.

The various quality standards adopted by the customer, including ISO 22000. FSSC 22000, and GMP also forms the basis for tailoring the service. Pre- and post-service feedback serves to measure the effectiveness of services delivered. Other tools include site challenge report and pest-sighting log sheet based on which root causes of specific pest issues are arrived at.

To monitor the effectiveness of their pest management service, customers are given a report at the end of every service, and this forms the basis of regular feedback and analysis of pests captured during the month, their details, and a decreasing trend in the curve of pest activities during the period. Audits are another method to monitor effectiveness. Follow-up communication in the form of calls, feedback forms using third party applications, 24×7 helpline and scheduled visits ensure the service provider always stays in continuous touch with the customer.

Maintaining Records & Accuracy

Effective communication is essential for providing high-quality pest management services and ensuring client satisfaction and retention. It involves listening to the customer’s needs, providing clear information, addressing concerns, and maintaining open lines of communication throughout the entire process, says Premkumar.

Pest management professionals must effectively communicate the services they offer, including the methods they use, the potential outcomes, timeline for pest eradication, potential for re-infestation and any associated costs. This helps clients manage expectations and builds trust in the service provider. He cites informing customers about pest behaviour, preventive measures, and information on maintaining a pest-free environment as helping them take proactive steps to prevent future infestations.

Regular communication with clients throughout the pest management process is essential, he opines. Providing updates on the progress of treatment, any changes in the situation, and addressing issues promptly helps reassure clients and demonstrates professionalism. While customers may have concerns about the safety of pest control methods, the impact on their health or the environment, or the effectiveness of the treatment, the pest management professionals must address them with accurate information and reassure clients about the safety and efficacy of their services.

Maintaining clear and accurate records of communication with clients, including service agreements, treatment plans, and any follow-up recommendations, is essential for accountability and ensuring that both parties are on the same page. A regular feedback mechanism must also be in place to improve service delivery, he said.

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