The Show Must Go On

For some reason early on in my career I was tagged as the guy new technicians rode with for training. For better or for worse I’ve had a hand in seeing 100’s of techs through their first few hours, days or weeks of hands on service. (it always depended on the companies I worked for & their requirements-or lack there of) Now certain things like how to dust, when to fog and all the insect biology I can squeeze into their brain in our short time together is always a top priority but one thing reigns supreme.

What is this enlightenment I speak of? It’s very simply…

The Show Must Go On

Early on in my students tutelage I’ll make the statement; “You’ve got to put on the show.” This almost invariably is followed by a perplexed gaze and sometimes furrowed brow. It seems their first reaction is that we’re just play acting and somehow my perspective cheats the client in someway. In my way of thinking however, your “show” reinforces your service and cements the importance of why you’re there. If this is true then to me, it’s at least worth thinking it through.

What Goes Into A Good Production?

Looking the part;
There is a company in my town that I think is above all the rest in this regard. When you see their techs on a job you see a long sleeved white shirt with their name embroidered over the pocket, neatly pressed slacks, shiny shoes, clean shaven (a downfall of mine 🙂 and just an over-all professional look. They wear rubber gloves, safety goggles and even -dare I say- a mask when needed. Their equipment looks new and their trucks just ooze with the perception of professionalism and one can’t help but have full confidence for a job well done as this tech steps on the property.

Acting the part; Now this I’m happy to say is what you’ll find with my little company & hopefully I’m not alone. You see, many companies fit the mold of looking the part but far to often, these good looking firms drop the ball when it comes to what in my opinion is more important; acting the part. Now I don’t mean to say their service is poor or incomplete. It’s just that in the same way your good looks instill a subliminal confidence for your customer, a great performance also establishes your service as a job well done.

I realize that we are in a fast paced, get it done business & that most of us can be quite effective in a short amount of time. The problem is, customers can’t normally see your residual, they don’t know the decision making that went into how & what you did and this is especially true if you move to fast or are out of sight. Customers need to see THAT you’re doing service not always so much WHAT. I tell my trainee’s that they need to be visible during their service almost to the point of exhagerating your actions. This is so your clients mind registers that you are dillegently servicing their home.

Your biggest ally is your flashlight of course but that won’t help unless you’re actually looking behind the couch, under the sink, in the pantry etc. When’s the last time you got down on your hands and knees to look under a book case? Got up on a step stool to peak over the cabinets. Your client knows.

Now I’m not saying you have to dance and flit around the home doing a bunch of useless things, but make sure your homeowner knows (by seeing you) take that extra measure to pull out the refrigerator, move the easy chair or pick up some toys that might be in your line of treatment. And don’t stop just because you go outside. Lift up that splash block under the gutter, that bag of mulch that’s been sitting there for 2 years. Pick up the dog dishes before you spray the area and maybe, put fresh water in it when you put it back. (dogs love that) Believe me, customers watch and even though they may not know WHAT you did–they always know THAT you did and they’ll echo all your steps when they gladly refer you to a neighbor or friend.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • Dshughes63

    That is exactly how u handle/train the greenhorn..great article Jerry

  • Mel

    It’s funny you mentioned squeezing in as much biology into their brains. I remember when Ifirst trained. I really focussed on teaching them as much as the technical as possible so they could be the better techs. That’s how I learned. It tooks years for me to figure out. The technical is overwhelming for most so the last time I trained people I taught the basics with the equiptment, cookie cutter treatments, and I highly stressed customer service. Eventually they learn they learn the other stuff through trial and error.

  • Great point– It’s the sign of a good teacher who knows when to back down and let the information soak in at its own pace.

  • Thank you– I have to laugh though- cus
    I’m pretty sure I drove my trainers nuts at times.

  •  “Pick up the dog dishes before you spray the area and maybe, put fresh
    water in it when you put it back. (dogs love that) Believe me, customers
    watch and even though they may not know WHAT you did–they always know
    THAT you did and they’ll echo all your steps when they gladly refer you
    to a neighbor or friend.”

    Funny story – I always do that and one day a lady saw that I was filling the dish and she accused me of spraying the dish. I politely informed her that I always picked up the dish and the door mat to spray around not on. She would have no part, she called in and complained but my manager actually had seen me do this plenty of times. Remember its the perception of the customer that counts and by the way I still pick up the dog dish and refill the water. OK so maybe at least the dogs like me, lol

    Great story Jerry as always. Thanks

  • Boy oh boy, no good deed goes unpunished. That lady missed a great opportunity to have a professional service memory etched in her mind. I’m willing to bet though, there’s 1000’s more that you’ve served who didn’t.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Great article, Its funny you call it a show.  But the reality is building relationships with our customers and putting the extra effort goes a long way!

    Karl the BugMan
    Columbus Ohio Bed Bug Exterminator

  • Thanks Karl,
    I tend to be a bit melodramatic I know–but sometimes using terms and tactics like that makes for the best training for new techs. — or makes me look like a goof ball ‘) You are 100% right and I like the fact you said “building relationships.” What I described is not a one time thing but I don’t think I got that point across in my article–but, you did in a very succinct way. Thank you.