Giving Customers their Space at Terminix

Author comments:  The agent brought a lot of humanity to a sensitive service interaction:  looking for critters while a young family ate breakfast, still in their pajamas.  The trick is to figure out what went right here and replicate it beyond a single, emotionally intelligent employee.

Name of organization: Terminix

Industry: Home services (maintenance, childcare)

Briefly describe the context and reason for the service interaction: This was a routine check of the interior and exterior of the house.

Which parts of the service experience were excellent: It was a really intimate time in the rhythm of the household (pre-breakfast, kids and adults still in PJs, etc.), and we were jarred by the intrusion, even though we knew he was coming. It’s always hard to have a stranger in your home, particularly at that time. But this guy made it OK. He was informed, helpful, efficient. He was super respectful of everyone he interacted with, including the kids and the housekeeper, who struggles with English. We trusted him on a human level, and we trusted him to solve problems we would rather not think about, like the mice in the attic.

How did you feel at the end of the interaction: I felt better about humanity (seriously). I was dreading the interaction, and then suddenly I had someone else on my team, helping me take care of my family.

What did you do after the experience:
Told friends/family

Was the expectation of good service among the top three reasons you chose to interact with this organization: No

How did the price of the product/service compare to its competitors: About the same

What service advice do you have for this organization: Be very thoughtful about the human side of “pest control.” Coming into someone’s house is going to cause them anxiety. How can you reduce it? Some of the guys they’ve sent in the past were scary.

What service advice do you have for other organizations: None.

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