Traditionally, rainy days have been the enemy of lawn care and pest control businesses. Because these industries apply most of their treatments outside, rain can quickly wash away any of the progress they’ve made. But we don’t need to tell you that – you already know all about the disappointment of a total washout. Luckily, where there’s a will (and room for improvement) there’s a way: It only takes a little prior planning to turn a rainy day into a trainy day. (Get it?!)
Why Training is Important
How familiar does this sound? You hire a new employee - a technician, a CSR, a sales rep. Once their paperwork is done, they shadow someone else in their role for a week or two, and then they're off on their own. That might be good enough to keep your business afloat, but it does nothing to push your business forward.
Rising above the competition means keeping your team ahead of the curve - not just in industry knowledge, but personal and professional growth. The high morale that comes with that support and the advanced industry knowledge gained in the process equates to better customer experience, lower employee turnover, and easier recruitment. Those may sound like soft metrics, but consider the cost of losing a customer who's unimpressed with your work, or how much training pay you have to dole out every time you have to replace an unhappy tech.
So back to that whole rainy day thing. While it's reasonable and wise to have your techs spend some rainy days deep-cleaning the facility or performing other basic maintenance on their equipment and vehicles, be sure to set a training plan in place that you can whip out on a cloudy day's notice.
Where To Start
Every company has different needs when it comes to training, so the first step is considering the unique needs of your company. Take the time to identify your team's levels of experience, their strengths, and their weaknesses. After that, think about conversations you've had or overheard -- do your techs consistently wonder aloud about the best way to plan their routes, or how to stay current with state regulations? When was the last time they were trained on gear maintenance? Are your CSR's clear on what defines a lead?
Whether your team is a crew of young guns just starting out or a bunch of old-timers with decades under their belts, they can all benefit from guidance on how to perform their jobs better. And remember, just because someone's been in the biz since '83 doesn't mean they can't learn (or re-learn) a thing or two.
What You Should Train On
Only you can determine what training will be most beneficial to your team. But if you’re struggling to get your creative juices flowing, consider this list of some of the most popular training topics among our clients - some of which can be found in our Forgely training library.
Everyone knows how important online reviews are for bringing in new customers. If you didn't know...well...they’re important. Extremely important. If a potential lead visits your website, there’s a good chance that the next step they'll take is to look at reviews for more information. If you have one 5-star review while your competitor has 50 reviews with a 4.8-star rating, that visitor is probably going to go with your competitor. If you have a review generation strategy, train your techs to encourage customers to complete reviews with favorable ratings. (If you don't have a strategy, keep your eye on our blogs - we'll have a great how-to for you in the coming weeks!)
Your technicians may know that a product works, but do they know how long it takes to work, how much to apply before it becomes unsafe around children or pets, or how to properly explain to the client what they can expect after you apply the product? Can you quiz them on a situation and ask them which product they would use and why? Not only do answers to these questions shift with each overhaul of industry regulations, they're all things that customers expect your technicians - and even your CSRs - to know.
Industry Certification Trainings
Having highly certified technicians on your team should be a goal no matter what kind of marketing you're doing, but we'd be lying if we said it didn't have a majorly positive impact on your optics. Prepare your techs for their industry training so they can proudly tout their accomplishment... then make sure you add those official seals on your website (home page, about page, and team bios) as well as your printed marketing materials, trucks, and trailers!
Customer Experience (CX) is one of the top reasons a customer chooses to stay or leave. Today, customers expect to be wowed. This means talking to your customers, listening to your customers, and taking their wants and needs into consideration. You need to keep communication clear, consistent, and proactive, explaining what you’re going to do, why you’re going to do it, and what they can expect from it. For more tips on training your techs for CX, check out our blog post on the subject here.
Fleet Gear Maintenance
A fun, and sometimes messy training is teaching your employees how to quickly and effectively repair gear, either in the field or at the shop. From changing blades on a lawn mower to cleaning out a clogged hose, being able to identify and fix an issue with equipment is critical for keeping your team's efficiency in check. This is a perfect example of a training you may not realize is helpful! Refreshers are always welcome, and give your team the chance to re-learn things they may have been shy about forgetting.
Finally, don’t forget to “train” your employees on your company culture! After a morning of traditional training on any of the topics above, order pizza, go to the movies, or host a ping pong tournament. Especially during your busy season, when your employees are feeling the most zapped, an afternoon of fun can be exactly what they need to break them out of their funk. Remember: the morale of your team directly affects your customers - and your bottom line. Take care of your own, and they'll take care of your company.