Editor’s note: In the following article, Maria Melo, small business advisor at Yahoo Small Business, provides PCOs with advice for how they can pivot their businesses to adhere to new needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed more than just the way we do business; it has also impacted the way we reach and interact with new and existing customers. As a pest management professional (PMP), this means complying with state-mandated rules and regulations and ensuring your customers understand the safety precautions and any new processes your company has implemented to keep employees and customers safe. Technology and online services can play a significant role in helping PMPs meet customer needs while adhering to new requirements stemming from the pandemic.

Launching or building out your online presence 

From a small business management perspective, creating a professional website is a great way to share key information with your customers. At the end of the day, your customers must feel comfortable enough to interact with you in person and to have you enter into their home if necessary. 

An online presence is no longer a “nice to have” for PMPs; it’s become a necessity as customers now rely heavily on online searches to find key information such as business hours and a company’s COVID-19 precautions and prevention tactics. With this, PMPs must maintain, update and strengthen their online presence to increase brand exposure, remain in contact with customers, and attract new clients. Creating a professional website can also help you differentiate your business from competitors.

If you haven’t created a professional business website, now is the time. Consider working with a partner company like Yahoo Small Business, which is currently offering customers a free package of services that includes a professional website. Working with a partner company to develop your website will help ensure it is user-friendly and easy to navigate, and working with a small business advisor can help you reach the right people by maximizing your search engine optimization (SEO).

Meeting customers where they are: online
Over the past few years, more and more people have turned to social sites and online communities to find reliable businesses and services. Sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google allow consumers to read reviews from other customers and find services that fit within their budget and meet their specific needs. Now more than ever it is essential for your business to be where your customers are: online. 

Loyal and new customers expect your company’s local listings to have accurate information such as time of operations and contact details. As an essential business that requires interacting with customers on their property and oftentimes in their homes, your local listing and website must reflect accurate information that will inform customers how you’ve adjusted your business and sanitation practices to meet today’s normal. To keep this information accurate across platforms, you can use tools that update your company’s local listings across online directories.

Adjusting business operations

The right technology can help PMPs implement new work processes that ease business operation costs and limit physical contact. For example, PMPs can use technology services and software to track customer satisfaction, book services online, share service updates and sanitation information, and more. This can ultimately help PMPs streamline work processes and communicate with current and prospective clients in an easy, contactless way.

Taking it one step at a time

Like so many other industries, PMPs must adjust their businesses to adhere to new needs stemming from the pandemic and ultimately to stay afloat during this challenging time.

Establishing a professional online presence can help share key information with existing customers and enable you to reach new clients looking for pest management services. Working with a partner company and a small business advisor can help you navigate establishing an online presence and give you the tools you need to survive – and even thrive – during this difficult time. 

Author info.  As a senior business advisor at Yahoo Small Business, Maria Melo has been working with new and established e-commerce merchants for over 20 years to help them grow their businesses. Maria has also spent over 14 years working with her family in their brick and mortar retail store and is part owner of her own retail wine shop with her brother and sister.