As a pest control business owner, manager, president or team leader, you are the one guiding the ship and in charge of setting your company’s direction, including, but not limited to, operations, sales and marketing strategies. But, as you are well aware, it is your employees and team members who are scheduling appointments, providing face-to-face service and visiting homes and businesses every day, who are effectively serving as a company’s brand ambassadors and front line. That’s why it is so important to ensure all employees are fully engaged and singing from the same song sheet when it comes to exactly who your company is and not only what you do, but what you stand for, too. This goes for any company, whether you have a team of five or 500.

Customer service representatives, sales representatives and service technicians are entrusted with your company’s first interactions with consumers, which means it’s critical to make that solid and positive first impression. According to a recent Edelman Trust Barometer, 41 percent of people believe employees are the most credible source of information regarding their company. Ensuring that all employees are in tune with your company messaging and industry knowledge, in addition to being satisfied with and passionate about their work, is essential to your business. Empowering your employees can give them the tools and motivation they need to have impactful interactions with customers, helping to generate organic growth and drive brand awareness.

EMPOWERMENT STRATEGIES. PMPs should consider implementing the following empowerment methods throughout their company’s ranks:

Share the Company Mission and Core Values. One of the most important things you can do is ensure that your employees know the goals, values and direction of the company. If you don’t have a mission statement, it’s worth the investment of your time to develop one. Your employees will follow you if they know where you’re going! A recent Gallup poll found that only 41 percent of workers agreed with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand different from our competitors.” Sharing your company’s overall vision with employees can help them feel that they are part of something bigger than their job description, that they are more than just a cog in the machine and that their work is important and vital to the success of the company.

Encourage Employees to Be Social. Increasingly engaged and passionate about their work, empower your employees to advocate for your company and its services among their own social networks, in conjunction and cooperation with any social media policies you may already have in place. Word of mouth marketing is still king and the most trusted source for referrals, so why not encourage employees to be your brand ambassadors in their local communities and social networks as well?

Build Trust. Developing trust between yourself and your team is another essential step. When an employee goes out to conduct an on-site visit or inspection, there should be a sense of mutual trust between management and the rest of the team that they are working together to ensure success. It’s important that they have meaningful interactions with customers and properly represent your company, and that you have properly equipped and trained them to do so. Enable your employees to be successful and impactful brand ambassadors by giving them the necessary information and tools, such as collateral or digital assets for on-site interactions with customers. For example, there is a variety of professionally designed assets available to pest control companies that subscribe to PPMA Mainframe.

Foster Job Satisfaction. Cultivating job satisfaction is a must when developing new employee relationships and for retaining valued members of the team. Closely engage with employees about what they are experiencing on the phones or while in the field, ask questions and actively listen to them, taking their opinions and feedback into account when making decisions.

Rewards for Going the Extra Mile. Recognizing and rewarding employee achievements and hard work, whether it’s a formal acknowledgement or casual commendation, really does go a long way in boosting an employee’s morale. Consider a formal recognition program such as offering gift cards to employees who go above and beyond in making your company look good to customers and prospects. Even consider establishing an employee referral reward program to attract strong, new talent to your door.

BENEFITS OF EMPOWERMENT. Employee empowerment yields several benefits to help ensure customer satisfaction. Employees who understand their company’s vision and goals will be more passionate about their work and able to better communicate the capabilities and necessity of the services being offered. By building trust, you can improve accountability and increase efficiency.

Perhaps most important of all, the increased job satisfaction resulting from employee empowerment has been shown in Gallup studies to boost productivity, cultivate better customer experiences and encourage employee retention. Another study from the Society of Human Resource Management also found that the greater an employee’s empowerment, the more likely they are to go the extra mile and deliver superb on-the-job performance. So, whether it is educating a customer about the various services your company can deliver or just simply providing a positive and enjoyable customer service experience, a well-informed and driven employee can have a huge benefit to your company’s bottom line.

Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. For more information about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/PPMA.