This post goes out to the hardw0rking wildlife control operators (WCO) who have entered the digital age. While many of you prefer sloshing through a beaver pond to staring at a computer screen, I want to commend you for getting out of your comfort zone and embracing technology. Unfortunately, with every technological advance there are negative side effects.
Failure to Respond to E-mails
Wildlife control is a time intensive business. Unlike pest control, many activities in wildlife control can’t rely on toxicants which kill the animal and allow it to die out of site. Return visits and extended stops at customer locations are the norm, not the exception for wildlife control. Frequently, 12 hour days reach 15 and there is simply no time to boot up the computer, let alone answer e-mail.
If this sort of time constraint affects your business from time to time, then relax it’s normal. it is acceptable to wait a couple of days to respond to e-mails. After all, if the customer really needs you, he/she should call your cell phone.
If you know that you will be out straight or on vacation for several days, then it is absolutely necessary to let your customers know that you are unavailable. An auto-responder e-mail, is acceptable provided it explains when you might be able to respond. I would also place a notice of your situation on the contact page of your site.
Otherwise, if you have regular difficulty responding to e-mails, do yourself a favor, don’t make it available.
In addition, if people e-mail you, get the auto-respond message, wait a few days and still don’t hear from you, then your business is losing credibility. I bring this issue up because I know of a company that I have e-mailed from time to time in regards to a project and I regularly get the auto-responder blithely telling me how my e-mail is important and he will get back in touch. I would have thought the e-mail was great if the person really followed up in a couple of days. But I have waited weeks, even following up with phone calls, all to no avail. As they say in Hollywood, when the phone don’t ring you know it was me. Well that is how I feel with this unnamed company.
Bottom Line Business Tip
1. Announce ways for people to get in touch with you that you actually follow up with.
2. E-mail can wait up to 24 hours. If the person really needs you quickly, then he/she could call.
3. Auto-responders only help your business if you actually follow what you say in the auto-response message. Otherwise, they simply annoy your callers.
Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACP has written dozens of articles on wildlife damage management topics and advises clients on wildlife damage management issues.