Last time in this space, I shared a few tips from a non-service perspective due to my background outside of pest control. When I wrote that post back in April, I don’t think I would have believed Nostradamus himself if he had predicted such a great year for pest management professionals (PMPs), despite the pandemic.

From conversations I’ve had with industry colleagues, many PMPs, particularly in the residential sector, are busier than ever while people stay home for longer periods of time. We have learned a lot during this time as an industry, not only about ourselves, but about our customers.

We were forced to consider how to operate leaner and become more flexible than we had ever entertained as an organization. The biggest lesson we have learned as a company is that we may not be as brick-and-mortar dependent as we had previously assumed.

Prior to this pandemic, our company always operated on the assumption that we needed to meet in person every day. Although there are cultural benefits to the daily exchange, it may not be as necessary because of the way technology continues to progress. Virtual meetings, virtual check-ins, virtual vehicle inspections, contactless sales, and even virtual home inspections are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Although the jury still may be out if operating more remotely is the superior approach, we have proven that it is certainly possible.

There has been obvious cost-saving and efficiencies gained during this time. Travel costs, commuting, office space use, and company meals are reduced when you are functioning remotely. Although we cannot ignore the impact of not having in-person interactions, there is a silver lining to this pandemic. The financial benefits allow us to invest in our people and systems in different ways.

While our customers spend more time at home, we have learned how much they appreciate living pest-free. People are investing in their homes whether it’s a new bathroom project they have been putting off or building the backyard of their dreams. People are taking more pride in their homes simply because they are home more. They are more apt to notice the ghost ants trailing in their kitchen or the scratching noise coming from their attic. Pride, along with the high heat this year, continues to drive the need for pest control.

Providing friendly service — particularly when people cannot see your smile through a mask — is also critical. For some, their PMP might be the only human interaction they receive. Although there are a wide variety of perspectives and feelings surrounding wearing masks, by and large our customers appreciate and expect all interactions to have safety in mind, which we are happy to operate under. Safety has always been our top priority; however, it now takes a front row seat from the customers’ perspective as well.

In short, all the small things TRULY make a difference.

Scarlett Nolen was promoted to president of Truly Nolen of America in March 2019. Nolen has worked for the company since 2012 in multiple roles. Most recently, Nolen was the district manager for the “Growth District,” a district of new service offices throughout Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Prior to joining the company, Nolen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Experimental Psychology and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.