Proper communication will set the tone for the correct expectations for any bed bug treatment.  Customers have high expectations for bed bug professionals now more than ever.  But how can you, as a pest professional, live up to those expectations.  The key is effective communication between the technician and the customer before the treatment even begins.

Communicating on the Job

Each job, customer, and treatment will be different, and effective communication will be essential to making sure that the client knows what expectations are valid.  Bed bugs are extremely resilient to some treatments, and depending on the size of the infestation the problem could take a few follow-up treatments and/or inspections to ensure that the problem is completely solved.    How you relay this information will vary depending on what type of account you’re dealing with.

In a single-family home, the likelihood of an infestation is lower in comparison to a hotel or apartment building.  This means that one heat treatment could be enough to completely eradicate the problem.

When dealing with a multi-family housing situation, you could be facing a chronic bed bug problem or an infestation that is moving from unit to unit after repeated failed treatments.  This can cause the treatment process to be more difficult, and your approach with the client will be different to make sure they have a realistic and informed view of the problem.

Communicating and Dispelling Myths

One of the first things you’ll need to assess and communicate to a new customer is how to react to a bed bug sighting.  Seeing a single bed bug or an unknown insect in your home does not mean that you have an infestation and doesn’t warrant an emergency.

Making a proper identification is the first step.  When possible, encourage customers to place any potential bed bugs in a plastic bag labeled with where and when it was spotted.  When the technician comes to do an initial inspection of this bag of “evidence” will help know where to look and ensure that you’re actually dealing with bed bugs and not another insect type.

Next, when treatment is deemed valid, make sure you are giving your customers realistic expectations for any pre-treatment prep.  Take into account whether the customer is physically able to reduce clutter or move items in preparation.  Also, give the customer clear instructions on what items should be moved, if any.  You may need to adapt your treatment plan for any special requirements of the client or the treatment area.

Give your customers real, proven information.  You would be amazed at the myths people will believe.  It may be a good idea to have a hand-out ready for customers to educate them about bed bugs and the treatment you will be providing.  Clearing up any false info could also help the customer realize where or when they picked up the bed bugs and how to avoid them in the future.

Key Points:

  • Bed bug treatments can be tricky, depending on the severity of the infestation and the location. Be upfront with your clients and provide realistic expectations for your treatment.
  • How you communicate this information will depend on what type of customer you’re working with. Residential and commercial clients have different needs and requirements.  Be aware of these expectations and address them in your initial meeting.
  • Make sure your expectations for prep and post-treatment clean-up are realistic.
  • Provide quality information to your clients and dispel any myths that they may believe.

The IBBRA website is full of useful information regarding bed bugs, treatment options, and more.  Check out our blog for up-to-date bed bug news and info.

If you have a bed bug problem, call one of the IBBRA certified bed bug treatment providers near you.  Search here: https://ibbra.org/service-providers/