Chris Mills, Territory Business Development Manager for Bayer, outlines the steps required to ensure success with termite treatments.
Regardless of the product you use, setting and managing your customers’ expectations will either make or break your termite management treatments. Many times in the field I have seen pest managers carrying out re-treatments or follow-up treatments that are necessary to achieve control but are usually being done at their own cost.
I will also see homeowners pressuring pest managers to ‘speed up’ the treatment process or becoming disgruntled about how long the process is taking (usually associated with termite baiting). Some pest managers will respond to the homeowner’s requests or demands by attempting to ‘short cut’ the treatment, often leading to further problems down the track, such as re-infestations.
When assisting pest managers who find themselves in this position, the conversation usually starts with something along the lines of “I was only trying to help out the customer” or “I was doing them a favour by doing it cheaper or quicker”. In most cases, it ends up coming back to bite the pest manager.
Once we consult with the homeowner and work through the treatment, it is usually the case that if the pest manager had given clear treatment recommendation options, associated timelines, realistic outcomes and pricing, each instance could have resulted in a successful treatment and an informed and satisfied customer.
The AEPMA Industry Code of Best Practice for Termite Management is an excellent reference tool to help incorporate such structures into your termite management plan for your business if they are not already included.
A critical factor in the in the initial costing process is knowing how long each treatment option will take and how much each one will cost. This, along with the comprehensive termite management plan, may seem like a lot of time and effort to add on top of the pretty straightforward process you may have in place at the moment. But the more you do it and the more accurate you are with your costing, the easier and quicker the process will be with each subsequent customer.
In a perfect world, your customer will go for the premium option you provide with all the associated recommendations, but we all know this doesn’t happen on every job; customers will often take the lower, cheaper option that has a lower chance of long-term success.
It is critical that the likelihood of success of a lower, cheaper option is made clear to the customer along with any associated risks of re-infestation and potential for re-treatment. Again, this may seem like a lot of work to do when you have just finished crawling through a roof void and are covered in sweat and insulation, but the more you can refine this process and know your costs, the quicker and easier it will be for the homeowner to make an informed decision. One based on all factors involved including building construction, degree of risk, associated timeframes, likelihood of treatment success, and of course cost.
If you can set and manage your customers’ expectations early on in the process, it will demonstrate that you are a professional operator worthy of their business. When they know they can trust you, there is greater potential for customers taking your preferred treatment option as well as recommending your business to family and friends – meaning more business for you!
Chris Mills, Territory Business Development Manager, QLD/NT/NZ, Professional Pest Management, Bayer