If you saw a pest control van outside of a restaurant, what would you think?
Would you think?
- “I won’t go there because they have a pest problem!”
- “I will go there because they obviously take pest control seriously!”
I bet if you ask most people in this country, they will choose the first one.
This is wrong!
Pest control is mostly about prevention. If you see a pest control vehicle outside a business, the chances are it is a sign that they are taking pest control seriously and that would mean they are also probably taking all the other aspects of hygiene seriously.
If you asked the same question in the US, you would get a very different response. They understand the true link between pest control and hygiene. In fact, I’ve even spoken to people who would positively choose to go to a restaurant that had a pest control van outside.
Somehow, along the way, the UK has developed an issue with the way it sees pest control. Perhaps it stems from our flat-cap and whippet origins when the pest controller was only brought in to deal with a problem. But those days are long gone. Today, every office block, factory, hotel, restaurant, takeaway and pub will have some form of pest control and yet, we still live with these outdated ideas of what pest control means.
Prevention, not cure
These days, pest control is a modern, innovative industry that focuses on prevention over destruction.
Why do we do this? Several reasons. One, it’s better for the environment as by preventing infestations we can use fewer chemicals. Two, it is better for the client. By employing effective preventive pest control solutions, the client can more easily avoid infestations which means they will avoid damage to stock and reputation while also ensuring they stay compliant with H&S legislation.
As an industry, and as a company, we spend a good deal of time trying to switch people’s perceptions of what pest control is. If the general public would accept that pest control is a positive sign, then it would benefit businesses, society and the industry.
What we need is better communication of our role and objectives.
Improving communication isn’t just important when it comes to pest control. 80% of workplace issues are related to poor communication.
We have all worked in companies where there is a lack of proper communication. What happens? Gossip and negativity fill the void.
There needs to be a clear line of communication from the top to the bottom, and it needs to also work in reverse. The top needs to know how the bottom feels, just as much as the bottom needs to know what’s going on at the top. If this doesn’t happen, there will be a decrease in employee morale which will hit productivity and profitability.
Businesses must also be capable of effectively communicating their ethos to clients. Salespeople must be able to describe services and products in a way that is informed, honest and positive. This can only happen if they have the right information and are properly motivated.
Motivation partly comes from financial rewards, but most employees will say the majority of it comes from feeling valued and that means feeling part of the whole. Effective communication is vital for achieving this.
As a company, we face a singular problem in our external communications. When people think of pest control in the UK, they tend to think of one name – our own ‘Sellotape’ or ‘Hoover’. It doesn’t matter that we can honestly say Cleankill is far more highly accredited and cost-effective, with a low staff turnover rate - we are always fighting against this outdated notion. We know this to be true because several of us left that company to start a company that puts the clients first.
Our solution, rather than just sitting and complaining, is to get out there and show the world the value of working with Cleankill.
This approach to positive communication is working. We are able to say that Cleankill is the only pest control company in England to achieve the gold Investors in People accreditation – so, better trained and motivated staff. We can also point to being the main contractor for two international property firms – so, we are trusted to do jobs of all sizes. We are also the ‘go to’ company when the media needs expert comment on a pest problem – from edible dormice (glis glis) to electric ants.
Working in this way, a positive way, we have been able to turn a company with zero turnover in 1995 into one that expects to exceed £4 million in this financial year.