Online Content – PCT – Pest Control Technology
Remote monitoring, artificial intelligence and more computing power than all Apollo space missions combined are what we are working with today. We are experiencing a renaissance in the world of pest control.
But it’s all pointless.
You have to hear me loud and clear. None of the data you have collected has meaning. Your customers don’t care how quickly you can perform a service, how quickly you notice that a pest has penetrated a device, or how much your trap looks like a trailer. They just don’t care.
You’re pausing to flip to the cover of this magazine or check the web address to see if you have the correct publication. Then, after confirming that you are reading Pest Control Technology magazine, wonder how this guy was ever allowed to get an article published in the 21st century. But hopefully you will give me a chance to explain myself. Here it is…
No pest control technology, no matter how great, matters if you can’t control pests.
The only reason you have a job is to serve the people in your community by fighting their pests. The reason accounting has something to consider, the reason IT needs to manage information, the reason HR needs to do interviews, is because you are serving people who have real pests that need to be managed. If we don’t serve the people by controlling pests, the people in the pest control industry will have to do something else to make a living.
You really think I’m a little backward now, and you’d be partly right, but not because I’m against technology. In fact, in the early 2000s, during the pioneering days of data acquisition systems, I ground my teeth in pest management. In addition, my team is entering the third year since piloting remote monitoring programs. So, I’ll say it. I love technology – geo-trending maps, state-of-the-art information and even multi-catch traps with WiFi antennas.
However, there is only one thing, or rather one person, that makes all of this technology work – you!
A human being in charge of pest control is the essential ingredient that makes technology useful. Without you and your expertise to guide the data, pests will not be fought.
Here are three human skills that prove they are essential to making the data useful:
The data does not understand when a sanitary emergency, lack of structural integrity, employee habits, or a combination of issues are causing pest pressure. This is why an old-fashioned flashlight, inspection mirror, and spatula inspection is still required to dig deep and discover pest-causing conditions. This work is done by you using some low-tech equipment.
The numbers don’t lie, but those who interpret them (your customer) can be very wrong. This can easily happen as your client is likely to be buried under huge amounts of data. It is your job to interpret this data. Otherwise, your customer will think the data is worthless or, worse, misinterpret it.
Your human experience and expertise in pest control will help you with this. For example, you can determine when intangible concerns are affecting recorded results. In the Midwest, increased numbers of Asian ladybirds can be expected during harvest. You may see higher counts at a facility you serve when maintenance is making repairs as they tend to hold doors open. Here, too, we find the low-tech solution – your interpretation. You are the one who realizes what certain outcomes mean and what don’t. The data cannot make these distinctions.
3. Influence. You can respond to calls from “Bug Gal”, “Rat Man” or “The Exterminator”. Regardless of whether they are titles you like or not, you are still the most significant pest control influence at this facility. To leverage this influence, your service needs to end with an open conversation between you and your customer. Sit down, look your customer in the eye, and review the results you recorded in the service report so your customer fully understands what is going on at the facility. Tell your customer what you recommend to solve existing problems. Remember, you are the expert. You can have fun with the “pet” names, but you need to have a moment at least once on each ministry to put all that aside and do your best to use your influence. Here’s a little joke that has helped technicians over the years: “If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will.”
We know that Artificial Intelligence will continue to grow, and we will continue to be amazed at what we can learn from the data. In fact, 20 years from now, the data can provide us with insights that only we can currently provide. But that’s not today. Even today we are working hard to not only show our customers piles of numbers, diagrams and colored maps. Today we use our influence to help our customers understand why it is important to follow our example and how to implement best pest control practices. Technology serves us by helping us paint this picture much more vividly.
Look at the night sky like they did on July 20, 1969. But instead of wondering if you can see Neal or Buzz, ask yourself, “Is that a star or our satellite telling the server that another mouse has just come in?” Bait station number four? ”In any case, be proud of our technological achievements and know that you are still the most important advancement in the history of pest control.