Every December when PCT runs its annual Technician of the Year Awards supplement, sponsored by BASF, I marvel at the stories of our three winners, and gain a greater appreciation of what it takes to be a service professional in the pest control industry.

What always strikes me is that in order to be a successful service technician one has to have both technical know-how and outstanding customer communication skills — two traits that do not always go hand in hand. For example, I know that when I take my car to be serviced my expectations are low that my mechanic will clearly explain to me what needs to be done on my car. I accept that he is not a great communicator because he is a good mechanic and I trust him. Service technicians don’t have the luxury of being deficient when it comes to customer communication. In addition to understanding the latest products and technology, service technicians must be able to thoroughly describe pest issues they observe; listen to customer concerns and answer their questions; and work in partnership with their customers to develop a smart, effective treatment strategy. A few examples of how this year’s Technicians of the Year have mastered the customer communication side of pest of control include:

Massey Services’ Alonzo Ferguson, PCT’s Residential Technician of the Year, is loved by customers because he treats them like family. As one of his coworkers noted, “You can always find him providing service to homes with a smile on his face. He is always checking in with his customers, whether it be for service or just to see how they are doing.”

PCT’s Commercial Technician of the Year, Jake Vollnik, Rose Pest Solutions, is fastidious about replacing devices that might be broken or damaged (e.g., rodent bait stations) and observing pest activity — information he not only records but regularly communicates with his on-site contacts. As he noted, “That develops a base for everything we do and then [on-site contacts] are able to track what we’re doing and understand what’s happening.”

For ABC Home & Commercial Services’ Robert Woodson, PCT’s Termite Technician of the Year, communication goes beyond conversing. Whenever possible, he will enlist his customers to help remove garbage, dispose of wood piles, remove soil to grade, seal openings to windows and doors, or pick up dog or cat food left after feeding. In so doing, customers become engaged in the pest control process and better appreciate Woodson’s pest control efforts.

While each of our winners takes slightly different approaches to customer communication, the common thread is that they all take the time and effort required to connect with their customers. We hope you enjoy reading about this year’s winners, and we’re thankful to all of the company owners/managers for taking some time to nominate their company’s standout service technicians as Technicians of the Year.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

PCT always enjoys ending 12 months’ worth of issues with our most feel-good articles of the year: PCT’s annual Technician of the Year Awards. We know there are other great stories out there and we welcome your article ideas, companies to profile, superstar staffers, etc., as we move into 2020. Drop me (bharbison@gie.net) or PCT Editor Jodi Dorsch (jdorsch@gie.net) a line at any time. We would love to hear from you!

In the new year, The PCT Media Group also will have a new book in our technical lineup: The second edition of Stoy Hedges’ popular Field Guide for the Management of Structure-Infesting Flies. It’s jam-packed with information about small, filth, biting and nuisance flies, as well as strategies for managing fly infestations, fly identification tips and full-color photos of the most common fly species encountered by PMPs. Stay tuned for ordering information. (Sorry it wasn’t ready for the holiday giving season!)

As we say goodbye to 2019, PCT wishes you, your family and your company a prosperous New Year!

Contact the author at bharbison@gie.net.