Blog | May 1, 2019
Be a Swarm Superhero
It’s that time of year again! The dreaded swarm season. Let’s face it, it is what pest management companies do - they protect and serve. Protect the customer's homes from those dreaded little insects and serve the customers when it counts the most. And not to mention, a swarm call is the perfect opportunity to cross-sell existing customers or pick up new customers. In short, you are expected to be a superhero during swarm season.
Sometimes you can see it coming from a mile away. But other times, it sneaks up from behind and without much warning. One minute the phones are quiet and the next minute your customers are sending up distress signals from every block. So, how do you show your customers that you are a superhero and still keep your sanity?
It's all about preparation. Just like a superhero, you have to train and be ready to act at a moment's notice.
Preparation Tool 1: Educate Your Team
The biggest key in preparing your team is to train them before each swarm season. From the office to the field, your team should be prepared to answer questions and let the customer know that you are there to help them.
I still remember the first swarm call that I ever took. The customer was frantic! The first 2 minutes of the call was just trying to calm the customer down so that I could get their name. Our company had recently completed swarm training so I was as prepared as I could be. To be honest, though, it was still somewhat of a traumatic experience. While that frantic customer was not a typical call during swarm season, they happen. That is why you need to prepare early, especially with new team members. Don't wait until the phone starts ringing to react. By then, it's too late. The swarm season has already begun.
So, who do you teach and what do you teach them? The pest management company where I worked, Wayne's Environmental Services, held training classes for the entire company. Sure, pest techs and CSR's were expected to attend. But even lawn care techs, billing folks, and upper management went through basic training classes. Why? No matter who is talking to your customer, the customer expects everyone at your company to be an expert. While that is not always a realistic expectation, the better equipped your entire team is for handling a swarm call, the better the customer experience. And the easier it will be to survive swarm season and come out looking like the superhero that you are.
Preparation Tool 2: Create a Process
Back to my first traumatic swarm call. Once I had calmed the customer down, I was able to gather the necessary information that Wayne's had trained me to ask. Now what? For me, it was time to hand off that report of a swarm to the real experts. So, what did I do once that call ended? I pulled out the handy checklist that had been given to me during training and followed the next step.
Without a written process, how the report of a swarm progresses in your company can vary from person to person. At a minimum, your team should have a cheat sheet for responding to and servicing a swarm call. Swarm season can get crazy and even your most experienced team members can miss important steps. Not to mention, you will have team members that are new to the industry like I was. Missing a step can cost you a valuable customer or even problems with state inspectors or auditors.
Preparation Tool 3: Educate Your Customers
While I was not personally an expert on termite swarms at Wayne's, we had team members who were. Their knowledge is powerful both inside the company and in the industry. But most pest companies forget that their knowledge can be powerful to their customers as well. In this day and age, it is easy to share that experience and knowledge. Any of the many social media sites can get information to your customers (and prospective customers) about termite swarms. I have seen many pest companies over the years create blogs on their website or share articles on their Facebook page. Some even create emails to their customers educating them on what a termite swarm is and how they should handle it.
Remember that your customers are expecting you to be a superhero during a swarm season. What better way to do that than to be proactive in your communication with them.
Chief Operating Officer
Key 7 Software
Organize and track your swarm and damage calls using Key 7 Software's pest management software. 7 Software features Swarm and Damage Ticket tracking that helps you monitor the current status of each incident as well as important service information and photos. Schedule a live demo today!