black branded zipped jacket for customer service

Customer service – building a brand that matters

All companies claim to have a unique selling point (USP), but do they? In our highly competitive market – over 6,000 pest control companies nationwide – there can be only so much genuine ‘uniqueness’.

When LNPS started trading as a company in February 2016, we knew we needed an edge. It had to be something that would make us different from our competitors, but it also had to be something on which we could deliver – for example, claiming to be the biggest would have been ridiculous. We needed something that was exceptional and true.

As Managing Director (MD), I knew from the very start that our edge came in two forms. Firstly, we know our area. We are local, we know the people, the businesses and the problems they face. We know how to help our community stay pest-free in a cost-effective way. Secondly, we deliver a unique customer experience with a recognisable brand.

Unlimited visits

One of my first actions as MD was to introduce unlimited visits. A very common practice in this industry, and one I really dislike, is charging domestic customers for a three-part treatment. In theory, this looks like a cheaper option for the customer because it will initially be cheaper than a competitor. The problem is, and I don’t want to call it a scam, that almost inevitably at the end of the third visit there will still be evidence of pest activity. The customer will then need to pay for further visits (often three) and the total cost has risen considerably.

At LNPS, we act differently. The price we quote is the price you pay. If the pest problem isn’t eradicated after three visits, we will keep coming back until it is – free of charge to you. As I see it, we are the experts and so we should know how long it will take to remove a pest problem and we should be quoting accordingly. If we don’t, that isn’t the fault of the customer and they shouldn’t be forced to pay the extra.

Presentation

So we launched a service offering that could give us an edge. We also had the USP of being truly local, with employees drawn from the local community. You just need to read Michael Marbe’s blog “A Day in the Life of a Pest Control Technician” to understand how important that can be.

What we needed now was a strong image that would represent what we are as a company. This meant smart branded uniforms, vans, stationery, etc. When an LNPS technician turns up at your door, whether it’s your home or business, you know they will be presentable and ready for action.

First impressions matter. Most of the time people will only call us when they have a problem. They may be concerned, embarrassed, frustrated, and what they want is the reassurance that they have done the right thing in calling LNPS. When they see our technicians, they see a professional and they can be assured and comforted.

Spreading the word

We now had a product and we had an image. The next thing was to let the people know about us.

Initially we leafleted our target areas – it was almost a carpet-bombing exercise. We also invested in a smart website and branded stationery. This was all designed to get our name into the minds of residents and businesses.

We recently took the decision to expand our marketing practices by employing the services of Blueberry PR. This company is a perfect fit for LNPS because the owner, Suzi Christie, in addition to be an PR expert, also used to work for the world’s largest pest control company. Her talents combine the two things we need – a knowledge of PR and pest control.

This is important because, unlike with some other service providers, marketing is directly about us. To be really successfully, we needed a personal relationship with a marketing team that really understood us, our needs, and our industry and could come up with creative PR ideas.

There is of course a lot more to creating a brand than these three steps but, as a growing business, we have found this approach has really allowed us to thrive during what could have been a very difficult period.

Looking towards 2022, we know that our brand is ready to take advantage of what the new year holds. Which reminds me, teamwork is another very important part of our company and it’s a topic I plan to return to in the new year.

Until then…

Happy New Year!