Unusual tactics to retain a customer

PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/OLM26250

PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/OLM26250

We asked Pest Management Professional’s columnists and editorial board members to share their most unusual tactic to retain a customer. Here are some of the experts’ responses — including a few extra that didn’t make it into our July 2020 print edition. Please share your advice in the comments below or send your comments to [email protected].

PMP’s Regular Contributors

Greg Baumann: One high-end customer who was about to retire thought DIY was really fun. Because his 8,000-square-foot house was pest-free — thanks to our efforts — he was considering doing his own pest control. Our technicians made every effort to get to know this customer, his children’s soccer teams, and even his pets so that we became part of his “family.” We knew the family was from Philadelphia, Pa., originally, and we knew they reminisced frequently about cookies from a bakery in South Philly. We ordered a tin of cookies and had it sent to them as a thank-you for their years as a loyal customer. They hand wrote a thank-you note stating they would stay on as a customer because any company as committed to knowing their customers deserved their business.

Pete Schopen: My second year in business, an elderly lady called me on Christmas Eve. She was crying hysterically and literally calling me from her dining room table. She saw a mouse run across her kitchen floor, jumped up on her table and had been calling companies for 45 minutes. I was the only person to answer. It was 6 o’clock at night and my wife and I were hosting 22 people for Christmas dinner. I turned to my wife and told her I needed to help this little old lady. She’s been a quarterly service client with Schopen Pest Solutions for the past 12 years!

PMP’s Editorial Advisory Board

Michael Broder: We stained a rug with expandable foam in a new property that already was considering cancelling. I knew the time delay in dealing with an insurance claim would further upset the customer and put this account in jeopardy. I went there myself to clean it up, and the customer was just so impressed that the owner of the company was on his hands and knees cleaning her rug, we turned everything around.

Paul Hardy: As many will remember, Orkin’s policy was to continue servicing as a VIP account, meaning no pay if the customer was leaving because of a service issue until he or she was happy with our service. Many know that, as senior technical director of Rollins/Orkin, I, as well as many other senior management employees, have traveled free of charge to wherever to attempt to make unhappy customers happy with Orkin’s services.

Frank Meek, BCE: With only 24-hour notice, I got on a plane and flew to a customer’s location to personally conduct the service with the service technician and branch office.

Dr. Faith Oi: Remember, not every account is worth saving. In general, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension cannot force anyone to take our recommendations. All we can do is “lead the horse to water” and let them know that we will be here when they — or their attorney — needs us.