Platinum Pest Solutions customers are sleeping soundly, assured that their beds are bed bug free. With a simple two-minute bed bug check each time a technician visits a customer, the Illinois pest control company has not only been able to offer customers peace of mind, but they’ve also been able to grow their bed bug services by 15 percent.
“We’re already in there, and people don’t always know they have the bugs,” said Vice President Michael Panichi. “Let’s take a minute to two minutes and look. If you find one unit with bed bugs each day, that really helps the customer and our revenue.”
During the check, the technician will inspect the corners and perimeter of the customer’s bed and couch for signs of bed bugs. If they do see evidence of bed bugs, the technician takes pictures, sends them to the office and the office will contact the building management to schedule service.
“There’s an art to asking the customer if they want the check,” said Panichi. “If you just say, ‘I’m going in your bedroom,’ they typically say no.”
So, Platinum Pest Solutions technicians take the time to let the customer know the check is part of their service and what it consists of. After that, about 70 percent of customers opt-in for the check.
The majority of Platinum’s customer base is multi-unit housing and senior centers, which has contributed to the success of the quick checks. With Platinum technicians doing the quick checks at an average of 8,000 units each week, it’s not uncommon to find a customer unaware they had a bed bug problem.
Panichi noted the results are variable.
Some weeks technicians will find multiple bed bug infestations, other weeks they’ll find nothing. On average, however, Panichi said they find bugs in .5 percent of the units inspected. “We find them,” he said. “There’s so many people that don’t know they have them.”
Platinum first started performing the checks two years ago when the director of sales introduced the idea. The rest of the sales team quickly hopped on board, offering the checks to their clients as well. The checks have remained a popular selling point ever since.
“Not only does it separate us from other companies, it’s great point-of-sale material,” said Panichi. “We won’t just inspect when you think you have bed bugs, we’ll do preventive inspections during your general pest control that would keep bed bugs from spreading within a building. It’s just another service to help our customer.”
MAKING IT WORK.
Although the program has been successful, Panichi said there was a learning curve to getting it off the ground.
The checks are short, but an extra two minutes per unit at a 60-unit facility adds up. Panichi said it’s important for route managers to allow enough time for technicians to complete the checks. He also recommends giving the team an incentive when it comes to the checks. A competition of who can find the most is an easy way to make it worth their while.
And of course, it’s important to provide thorough training for why and how to do the checks.
Once the bed bug quick checks are up and running, however, they’re a tool to help a pest control company grow.
“It’s a great way to drive revenue up as much as we can,” said Panichi. “And of course it’s great for our customers. We don’t want our customers sleeping with bed bugs.”The author is an Ohio-based writer.