Why Your Pest Control Team Needs Soft Skills and Technical Skills

By Michael Benedict on June 3, 2015

Your Pest Control Business: Create a Better Team in 4 StepsThink about how much your pest control business is in the hands of your technicians.

You trust your employees with more than just handling chemicals and filling out reports correctly. You also trust them to be the face of your company—to interact with your customers.

So even if they’re doing the “pest control” part of their job right, if they’re not also dealing well with the human side of your business, you could get bad ratings on online review sites and fail to get the word-of-mouth referrals that businesses like yours thrive on.

Training and soft skills

That’s why it is absolutely vital that your workers be fully trained and qualified, and that they have the top-notch communication skills that not only affect the reputation of your business, but can be critical in relaying the most important information to customers. Because if left out, or conveyed improperly, that information can cost you thousands of dollars and be a huge liability risk.

Today, consumers are even more knowledgeable and concerned about exposure to anything that might be unnatural or hazardous, and that includes harsh pesticides.

With this in mind, you need to hire staff who have both technical knowledge and the so-called soft skills of customer relationship management. What kinds of skills and attributes are critical for your techs to succeed professionally? According to researchers, the best pest control technicians possess a wide range of competencies including critical thinking, time management, effective speaking and writing skills, and active listening skills.  

Key among those is communication skills. What does your staff need in this area?

The U.S. EPA recommends that consumers only hire a pest control company that has a detailed pest control plan. Your staff should be able to communicate what is in that plan. Those points include:

  • Pests to be controlled
  • Extent of the problem
  • Active ingredient(s) in the pesticide chosen
  • Potential adverse health effects and typical symptoms of poisoning associated with the active ingredients
  • Form of the pesticide and application techniques
  • Non-chemical alternatives available
  • Special instructions to reduce the property owner’s exposure to the pesticide
  • Steps to take to minimize pest problems in the future

In addition to being able to talk to the plan, all of this information should also be provided in writing, and your customer should confirm receipt. And make sure that your techs are able to field any additional questions from your customers. These might include:

  • What’s known about the health effects of exposure to the substance you plan to apply, especially to kids?
  • Will it hurt my pets?
  • Will I have to leave my home?
  • Should I throw away all my food?
  • How long will the substance be active or potent in my home or garden?
  • What natural or non-chemical treatments might be available instead?

Training and communication are key to keeping your staff armed with the answers they need to respond to customers’ questions effectively. Get more details about the best techniques for communicating with your mobile staff, and tips for using mobile apps to make your employees’ jobs easier and your company run more effectively — all in our new FREE eBook, Your Pest Control Business: Create a Better Team in 4 Steps.

You’ll find sections on:

  • Understanding and following regulations
  • Hiring and training staff
  • Deploying effective internal and customer-facing communications
  • Using mobile to more efficiently manage your business

Your Pest Control Business: Create a Better Team in 4 Steps

Your Pest Control Business: Create a Better Team in 4 Steps