I have a saying that I’ve said for years and it’s true for many services but especially pest control because we routinely visit a home many times over the years. “Do a favor for a customer just once and it becomes expected.” It starts with them asking you to treat the shed in the yard just this time for mice or roaches. Maybe they get a new motor home and want you to go over it it just this once. Then the next time you come by for a regular visit and you’re just about to wrap it up you get that quizzical look, followed by the remark in a somewhat puppy dog tone, “did you get the shed?” That’s when you know you’ve fell for it again.
I really don’t mind to be honest and I want my customers to get a little more from me than they would from anybody else but there are times when people take advantage. One of the most common things people want you to continue with once you start using them is glue traps. In fact many people feel that if they don’t get at least the same number of new traps with each service they didn’t get their moneys worth. What’s worse is the most I ever catch is a cricket or a innocent lizard so they’re hardly worth the effort. I like glue traps, I really do but I don’t depend on them much for anything other then monitoring, still I have some clients who believe it is this sticky little piece of cardboard that keeps them from being over run with pests.
Another quite common trap is treating for termites every single year when you arrive for the renewal. Clients, especially new ones speak up quite loudly after you’ve checked the place out and without so much as spraying a drop you hand them $150.00 bill. “You didn’t do anything!” they exclaim as they grip their check book in a clenched fist. It takes some reminding and and perhaps even pointing out in the paper work that ‘renewals are for inspections’ and in the end their grip relaxes but it makes you wonder if they were even listening last year. Attic treatments, walking the yard for ant mounds or even baiting the cabinets for the 12th time often becomes expected and in their mind is part of what they’re paying for.
I draw the line on a whole list of things but try to be very diplomatic. I explain about residuals and over doing a good thing but for some it doesn’t quite register no matter what you say. I guess I’m in a position where I could let someone go but I worked so hard to get that customer I almost never go to that extreme. Besides, that’s kind of arrogant and I usually resolve to figure something else out. Instead of another blow in the attic I might toss some silverfish paks around or shake some Premise granules near a dripping water spigot just to pacify the situation. When I do this however I really take this time to educate the customer and let them know that my treatment barriers were designed to be there 24/7 even after I’m gone. Somewhere along the lines I either didn’t do a good enough job explaining it the first time around or maybe the person heard only what they wanted to hear but in any case there is no doubt when I leave the home on this day.
I’ll admit, for some of the less serious things I reach in my pouch for exactly 7 sticky traps which is what they wanted or trek across the yard to treat that old dilapidated shed. I’d rather do that than have them dissatisfied and it really takes no time at all. Then back at the truck when I’m trying to wash off the glue from my hand I remember how this all started with a few glue boards just to make them feel better and I realize, I got trapped again.