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Rock ‘n’ Roll Pest Control featuring Margaret Garcia

Released on APRIL 19, 2024

Seattle is known for grunge rock. But before grunge, the Young Fresh Fellows were pumping out punky power pop. And they’re still going strong today. Rock ‘n’ Roll Pest Control, from their 1984 debut is about how the power of music can help all manner of mental pests.

But when you have pests like insects or rodents invading your home, music won’t make them go away. You’ll need actual pest control. And when actual pest control companies need help connecting with their customers, they use companies like Grit PPO, a home services outsourcer. Margaret Garcia believes that customer service skills are just as critical as pest elimination skills in the industry, so she built a team of experts to provide those skills.

We discuss:

  • The evolving role of women in the home services industry
  • Benefits of outsourcing customer service
  • Navigating starting a business
  • Success in a hybrid and work from home environment
  • A hot take on call scripting
  • The role of AI in the pest control industry

Connect with Margaret on LinkedIn

Grit PPO

Music courtesy of Big Red Horse


Rob Dwyer (00:00.95)
Hey everyone, thanks for joining another episode of Next In Queue. Today, I've got Margaret Garcia next in queue. How are you?

Margaret (00:09.267)
I'm doing good, how are you?

Rob Dwyer (00:11.138)
Welcome to the show. I am fantastic. You are the president of Grit PPO and I need to reinforce it's P P O. Even though you're a B P O and we're going to talk a little bit about why that is in a little bit. But let's start.

before we get into things with just a little bit of your background. You've owned this company for, I don't know, I gather like seven years or so. But this is you. You got into this business a long time ago. So can you tell us kind of how you got to where you are today?

Margaret (01:00.486)
Yeah, so I've been in, I would say, the pest control industry probably for about 20 years now. I think you get to let that number two where maybe you start count stop counting, right? Or you keep counting because it adds accolades to your titles, but it's definitely been about 20 years in the pest control industry. I started out working for, in my area, one of the top 40 pest control companies, privately owned pest control companies in the northeast.

And I started out doing like telemarketing. I did really well, because I talk really fast and I could usually get my pitch out before people would hang up on me. But it was also at a time when tick control services were like a luxury service. So I think that in the world of customer service and telemarketing, it really kind of taught me to have thick skin, because when you're calling people, asking them if they want tick control services, you know.

Rob Dwyer (01:36.302)
Ha ha

Margaret (01:56.494)
20 years ago, there were a lot of no's. You had to kiss a lot of frogs to get a yes. So I just worked my way up in that organization. I was there for about 15 years. So I held lots of different roles, got to see lots of different variances of running a pest control company from sales to customer service to retention, to lots of different things. I really was very fortunate to be in an environment where my ideas were...

welcomed and I was allowed to be very creative in every position that I held. So it really allowed me to kind of explore and try new things and see what works and, and get into lots of different facets of that customer service experience from different angles. So very, very fortunate to be in the industry. And then I moved on and started our company, which is Grit PPO, Grit pest process outsourcing that run on of yes, the, the BPO, the business process outsourcing.

Trying to get that little nudge that were kind of pest specific. And so I just kind of took all of the things that I've learned over the past. 20 plus years. I kind of say I've learned all the right things to say, because I've spent so much of my time saying it wrong. So this is kind of the cliff notes version and I've taught it to my team. And we've got a team of fully trained and knowledgeable reps that can handle the call from start to finish. So it's an amazing kind of journey and experience.

Rob Dwyer (02:55.767)

Rob Dwyer (03:21.674)
Yeah, it's very cool. Now, I mean, you're from New York. I thought all New Yorkers talk fast. That's not true or?

Margaret (03:29.302)
Not necessarily. We don't all talk fast. Some of us are a little bit slower but don't have the patience to listen. So it's a little bit of a mix. Mm-hmm.

Rob Dwyer (03:39.982)
So I want to explore the home services just a little bit. Obviously, your focus on pest control, you handle things other than pest control or just pest control.

Margaret (03:52.939)
It's things that a pest control company as they grow would potentially diversify their offerings. So we're pest control, tree and lawn. I was a certified arborist for many years. So tree and lawn services, wildlife services, for some companies we handle, they expand into HVAC, but pretty much really kind of staying in that lane.

Rob Dwyer (04:15.018)
Is that industry today still as male dominated as I imagine it to be? And if so, what's that like for you?

Margaret (04:21.959)

Margaret (04:27.134)
It is, it's always been a very male dominated industry, but there's so much female leadership. Now there's so much awareness, there's so much focus on trying to get women to be a part of the industry in different roles. I think if we go old school, women have always been a part of the industry in the sense that if you think about that labeling, there's always been the secretary, there's always been the person that answered the phone.

But now it's just completely different in the responsibilities, the titles, the acknowledgments. So it is a very male-dominated industry. I mean, listen, I don't know what little girl says when I grow up, I want to stick my hand in a hole and pull something out. You know what I mean? Like wildlife, you really have to, you know, but there's lots of females doing it, which makes it even more fascinating to kind of watch and kind of see. But I don't think it's, it probably still is, but it doesn't feel that way, I think, for me. I think when I started out being a customer service rep.

a part of being, you know, attending industry events. There wasn't a lot of focus on my area, my core focus, my responsibilities. A lot of it's always, and kind of still even focused on the service, the technicians, hence the guys in the field, you know, doing what they do. So it was kind of hard to relate, but it is kind of changing right now.

Rob Dwyer (05:37.713)

Rob Dwyer (05:43.574)
Yeah, I mean, we work with a lot of pest control companies, and I find that I work with just as many women in leadership roles as I do men today. And I don't know if that's a function of both the evolution and the focus on bringing women into the fold, but I also feel like a lot of these companies are smaller family-owned companies. And when they're family-owned companies,

Margaret (05:53.055)

Rob Dwyer (06:13.39)
I know if I had a family owned company, I would need my wife to run things to make things actually work. Otherwise, it would be a hot mess. And so I imagine that's probably true for a lot of other people.

Margaret (06:20.327)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Rob Dwyer (08:25.32)
You talked about people not necessarily focusing in the industry on roles that you held and those roles being more of the interaction with the customer, not interaction with the actual pests. Can you talk about what you see as some of the...

Maybe the biggest misses in the home services industry when it comes to customer service, to sales, to retention, those kinds of things.

Margaret (08:59.779)

Margaret (09:03.118)
I think that a lot of the industry training, and again, I see the change kind of coming on the horizon now more than I did five years ago even. And I think that a lot of the focus has always been on kind of where it belongs, right? On the service. That's really what the company is about is the service. The training is always about the best materials. The training is always about the best.

coming up with the standard operating procedures and how fast to deliver the service and how to be able to deliver a great service with great results. But there's so much of the home service industry that happens just right here with this tool, with my voice, with this. And so there's not a lot of focus on how do I use this tool to deliver great service? What do I say? How do I say it? How do you say things in a way that create

great results, just like you're teaching with the treatments and the materials. And so I think there's a little bit more focus on it. So I'm super excited about it because in my organization with my team, that's all we focus on. We focus on what we say, how we say it, hot button keywords, right from your introduction to the way that you end the call. And we really focus that when you're sitting in this seat as a customer service rep, call center agent, account manager, whatever title you call it.

that really it's about the interactions, but it's also about perfecting it as a skillset, right? That this is a skillset, just learning to interact with people, right? There's soft skills, but then there's just, this is a skillset. There's the power of persuasion when you're talking about sales. There's call control when you're dealing with an unhappy customer. And I think that in our environment, we don't teach those things as a talent or as a need. You may be...

Rob Dwyer (10:30.513)

Margaret (10:52.394)
You talk about it, but you don't label it so that people understand how to pull it out of their tool belt, so to speak.

Rob Dwyer (10:58.644)
Mm-hmm. You hit on something that I think is often misunderstood when anyone talks about outsourcing. When we talk about outsourcing, for most people, your mind automatically goes to saving money, to offshoring, to I'm just outsourcing because I don't want to pay for people in-house. And that does happen.

from time to time. But there's another aspect to outsourcing, which is this function is not the core expertise that I have in my business, right? If I'm a pest control company, the core of my expertise is in eliminating and dealing with pests. By outsourcing to a company whose expertise is in dealing with customers on the phone.

Margaret (11:28.024)

Rob Dwyer (11:55.196)
or via chat or whatever channels you're managing, it creates a better experience. It's not just cost savings, it's about driving revenue, it's about making more sales, it's about having happier customers. And I think that's often a misunderstood aspect of outsourcing.

Margaret (12:16.366)
Mm-hmm. I think that with outsourcing, it's almost sort of like, you know, that age old saying sometimes And in a good way in a bad way and I'll explain but like you get what you pay for, right? That's kind of what it is in a nutshell And so it really to me even when it comes to my service and having you know Competitors in the same space even if you're doing the exact same thing. Sometimes it's just a best fit. Like what is your focus? So I'm sure you're gonna pay less to have somebody maybe not ask

Rob Dwyer (12:27.908)

Rob Dwyer (12:41.197)

Margaret (12:45.93)
the same questions as we do or even have the knowledge and skill set to pick up on certain things that are being said to you on the phone or to be able to set the right expectation and know, especially in a pest control industry where phone calls are emotionally driven, where people only kind of hear pieces of it. You need to control that conversation and make sure that at the end of the call, they have the right takeaways. But even if you take the pest industry out of it, there's just different qualities of service.

you know, for our service, there's certain things that we do when we are talking on the phone. We have a call flow of certain things that need to be hit on the call. I imagine that alternate solutions that might be less for us don't look at the phone call necessarily that way. Like there's pieces of information that must be extracted at certain places in the call, and hence looking at this as a skill set.

Rob Dwyer (13:27.774)

Rob Dwyer (13:34.956)
Yeah, it is very much, I think for companies that have never outsourced, I don't think they realize how good outsourcers are at setting up a call, going through a call and ensuring that I'm both getting and providing the right information at the right times. And that can be the difference between a sale and not a sale or retained customer and a lost customer.

Margaret (14:00.022)

Rob Dwyer (14:04.992)
You kind of brought up call flow. This is a word that has sometimes a nasty connotation, and I want to get your take on it. What's your take on using a script?

Margaret (14:18.986)
Yes, that's the dirty word, right? Script is just a dirty word. Listen, it's absolutely for anyone not using scripts. I mean, especially as somebody that's a new hire, that is such an advantage to have somebody show me what it is that I'm supposed to say and how to say it from day one as a new hire. Because here's the thing, a script is guidance, right?

When you sound scripted, that's completely different. And so that's the problem that the misconception is. The scripting is just my guidance. And here's the thing, it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So if I just say the same, if I'm committed, I should say, to saying the same thing the same way over and over again, after a while, I don't need this piece of paper anymore. The script goes away, but I'm consistent with my words, my usage, you know, and my responses, but I'm doing it in a more natural way.

Rob Dwyer (14:47.87)

Margaret (15:16.034)
So once you get over the initial part of that it's a script and it's guidance and I learn it, then you start inserting tone inflection. And the whole thing about scripting isn't a bad word until it sounds scripted, until you lose pieces of yourself, until you don't know how to insert your personality into it. And that's where it becomes like a negative thing.

Rob Dwyer (15:38.316)
Yeah, absolutely. I tell people all the time, you know, my first experience in a call center was when I was in college. It was outbound credit card sales, which I don't wish on anyone, but.

I didn't know anything about sales. I knew nothing about sales. And the script that they had, a rudimentary at the time, it's been just a little bit since I was in college. I'm not gonna say how many years, but let's just say it's been a hot minute. But the script allowed me to know how to overcome this particular objection, even though I had never run across that objection before. And I imagine too,

Margaret (16:09.68)

Margaret (16:18.684)

Margaret (16:23.659)

Rob Dwyer (16:24.908)
In the pest control space. You are even if I've been working there for let's say a month, I'm going to run into new scenarios that I haven't run into. Someone's going to call about a past and I'm going to go. Uhm, I don't know what to do, and if I've got that. Built into my script, it's easy for me to just go. I heard this before, but I go here and I know exactly what to say.

Margaret (16:39.563)

Margaret (16:51.487)

Yeah, absolutely. The other part of it too is that, sorry, it's the right script, right? You have to be willing to kind of pivot and change that verbiage up, especially when there's two ways sometimes scripts and guidance, whatever you wanna call it to make you feel better. But there's two ways that it can kind of go wrong is when you're someone who's writing it for your team and you speak in a way that's not natural to them, right? That can make it harder for the person.

Rob Dwyer (17:18.87)

Margaret (17:23.146)
Again, I was in an industry where a script was given to me and we were supposed to say we're stewards of the environment. I didn't even know what that word meant. So it was hard to live behind it and have conviction for it. I had to like, thank God we had Google. I'm not that old and I had to Google it. And I was like, oh, okay, that what that means. But it didn't sound natural. So because it didn't sound natural, you know what I did? I pivoted and I didn't use the script. And then that's what happens. Then your team's not using.

what you're giving them because it doesn't feel natural. So you want to work with your team to figure out what feels natural when you're writing it so that they can say it with conviction. And the other part about it too is that you have to be willing to change it, right? The same way services change and materials change and the way that you treat something changes, well, phone calls evolve too. I mean, 10 years ago, even 15 years ago when I was talking on the phone as a customer service rep.

Rob Dwyer (17:55.089)

Rob Dwyer (18:07.185)

Rob Dwyer (18:14.555)

Margaret (18:20.278)
and pest control, people would call up and say, like, I have ants, and you'd say, well, you know, is it large, is it black, does it have this? And they'd say, yes. And you'd say, well, that sounds like a carpenter ant. And they'd be like, oh my God, you know, we're not worthy. You're so, like, smart. And like now, people call up having, like, Wikipedia, Google, they're calling me, telling me, this is what it is, this is where I found it, I followed it, my neighbor, my landlord, you know. So, like, right? So now, to stay the most knowledgeable person on the phone, same thing, like, your verbiage needs to change.

And so you have to kind of, you know, you have to pivot when it comes to your words, you know, and one of the things that you kind of mentioned, you know, too, is like the advantages of that outsourcing piece of it is that, you know, we're doing that, right? We're, we're, we're pivoting all the time when it comes to verbiage, when it comes to even technology. So sometimes just having access to that outsource advantage, even for smaller companies, maybe makes them appear more polished, more professional. They might have access now to things like.

Rob Dwyer (18:50.157)

Margaret (19:17.61)
Like you said, chat and technology pieces that they wouldn't initially, you know, think to kind of employ at that stage of being a little bit smaller. So it helps you appear even larger. But yeah, the scripting, the scripting and the guidance, I think is so much of it.

Rob Dwyer (19:28.278)

Rob Dwyer (19:35.144)
I'm curious why you decided to go from a super established company and start your own company and then what that experience was like because I have to imagine that was pretty scary and exciting.

Margaret (19:55.91)
Yeah, I actually didn't. My husband loves telling this story because I had been in the pest control industry for about 15 years and I started out very young and so it was kind of all I knew. And I just remember leaving and wanting to go do something very mindless. I had used so much of my brain power all day long.

that I remember going, I'm gonna go to Macy's and I'm just gonna fold clothes, like, you know, and just like put the shirts back after people mess them up because I really just wanted to do something mindless. I wanted to, my husband will tell this story, so I wanted to go open up a consignment store and just like, because at the time my kids were young and I always had bags of clothes in the house and I was like, I can make a business out of this. And he was just like, how do you take like 15 years worth of knowledge and just do nothing? And I was like, cause my brain is tired. But,

And in the beginning, it was amazing because I left after, I didn't leave for any other reason other than like I had my daughter, she was like my fifth one. And I'd spent so much time, you know, kind of at work and I wanted to spend a little bit more time at home and have a little bit more kind of flexibility. So, so sorry. So I had kind of left with that prelude and I remember like leaving and I had been working for 15 years. I mean, from sunup to sundown.

And I remember it felt amazing. I mean, I was only like 30 something, but I felt like I retired. I remember like watching daytime TV. I'd never seen the, I'm serious Rob, I'd never seen like Ellen on TV. I didn't get to watch Oprah. Like there was just stuff that like, I went in the morning and got coffee and I would come home and it felt amazing. I felt like this is what it must've felt like for like, you know, there's that technician who was like the oldest technician I'd ever met and he was like.

70 something and he retired. I remember how happy he was. He didn't even stay for like the pizza party that we gave him. He just like was like, bye guys. He left. And I remember but like, this is my this must be what Bob felt like that day. It was great. But then it was like after like a couple weeks, like there wasn't that direct deposit on Friday. So it was like, wait a minute, this is not what I thought retirement would feel like. And so I had to do something. And so like, yeah, my husband scratched that idea of like, you know,

Rob Dwyer (21:54.969)
Mm, right.

Margaret (22:06.166)
the consignment store and he was like, you gotta take what you know and do something. And I do, I love being in this space. I love customer service. I've always loved problem solving. I mean, one of the great things about the company that I worked with, as I mentioned, is that I was always allowed to be creative. We had customers that called in with pests that weren't under the scope of what we treated, but I would look them up and I would figure out what their life cycle was and what the best treatment was and how to incorporate it into our programs. And then,

boom, all of a sudden we had new programs and we were selling it just because I was so eager to solve problems. So I kind of kept that in mind and we started GRIT with that concept, but the beginning wasn't very scary because I'm a very like carpe form the horse. I think I mentioned this, like I didn't even have a company yet, but I had like five, six, seven desks built with monitors. Most people like take it slow. I'm like, I need the vision. I might've been the only person walking into the building that day, but in my mind.

Rob Dwyer (22:39.868)

Margaret (23:04.61)
right? There were like a bunch of people there answering phone calls and doing what they had to do. So it was scary to kind of start out and, and feel that starting over. But it was exciting because I understood now what it felt like to kind of be a business owner. And it was humbling to kind of experience things as a business owner, and then look back on my experiences as an employee and go, Okay, this is why, you know, these things happened. And this is why these things got done, where maybe

at those, you know, levels of, and I won't say maturity, but being on the other side of the fence, right, you might've thought differently or felt differently about the things that happened. So, it's been a great experience really from day one.

Rob Dwyer (23:44.668)
I'd like to ask you a little bit about kind of work from home, work in the office. I'm a big believer in work from home, but I also recognize that there are some disadvantages. I know that your company has been in office when you started, and then obviously the pandemic forced a lot of us to go work from home. I imagine that you made that successful transition.

Margaret (24:03.191)

Rob Dwyer (24:13.008)
Today, where are you and what have you found about work from home versus work in the office?

Margaret (24:21.962)
Yeah. So it's funny. We were actually for our organization, we were remote even before the pandemic. And that's because, right, our, my team started out in the office in New York. And so we're an outsource call center. So our ability to work remotely happened from day one, because in New York, when it snows, I mean, you know, you can't get to the office, but everybody thought the office was closed. And like jokes on you, I'll see you at the kitchen table, right? Log in. So.

So we've always been remote. And it was funny because for us, we went remote the week before for the shutdown. We went remote because we said, listen, okay guys, if this is coming, let's go fully remote for a week and let's iron out our communication issues because we know that we're not gonna have the person sitting next to you to say this and say that too. And so we were remote the week before. So my team always feels like they got shortchanged because they were locked away a week prior.

But that's really what it was. It's about the, and what it still is today, the hardest part about having that, because we do have the majority of our team here in our office and then others scattered throughout the United States. So we're still U.S., but still very scattered in other states. And I've never been afraid of managing a remote team, because even as a manager, you know, holding onto a Blackberry for 12 hours a day, years ago, I was always able to kind of function, not sitting in that seat. And...

The other part of it too is that a well managed team is a team that doesn't need to be managed. And so the biggest part about it is just the communication and the culture. That's what I find the most hardest part to hold together when you're not in the same room. I'm sorry. So we do things internally to keep that camaraderie. We have team calls every week, twice a week. I actually learned this from another business owner which I thought was amazing. I loved it.

Rob Dwyer (25:51.719)

Margaret (26:15.926)
where we log in to a team call just like this, a video call from the beginning of the shift to the end of the shift to the last shift. And so everybody's kind of in it. And this replaces that idle cubicle talk that you would do over your cubicle when you hang up on calls in between, or when you ask somebody about the call that you just hung up on, like, hey, what do you say when this person, and it's really kind of created that tight culture. And the other part about it too is that it forces people to work together. I have lots of...

Rob Dwyer (26:29.449)

Margaret (26:44.406)
Sometimes remote people that come on and think, oh, this is great, I'm gonna work from home. I'm never, I'm gonna hide behind this wall and nobody has to see me. And we're like, mm-mm, sorry, like camera on, brush your teeth, wash your face, and make sure that you log on today with a smile. Because the other part of it too is that this is your team. And when you're remote, sometimes it's hard to remember who you work for and why. Because it's just a computer that you log into, right? So it's just a company and you lose track of who the company is and the culture when you're just.

Rob Dwyer (27:06.826)

Margaret (27:13.902)
connected that way. So we kind of force people to get together and talk. Because at the end of the day, these are also people that are going to like, can I say this, cover your ass, right? Somebody else finds your mistake. So how do you create that camaraderie with your team if you're just remote and isolated? So team calls that have nothing to do with company topics are important. And so we really kind of focus on that interaction. We actually make people interact. We tell them, like at the end of the day,

Rob Dwyer (27:23.213)

Rob Dwyer (27:35.629)

Margaret (27:41.882)
I can set the tone for the culture, but you guys are the ones that have to live it and maintain it. So everybody is responsible for contributing to a positive work environment. So if you've got people that are on the team call that wanna have the camera off, that don't wanna just contribute ordinary dialogue, I think that's where you wanna kinda maybe focus and make sure that everybody's got that same energy. Like in this space, to kinda go off on that, right? In this space of customer service, like how do you do that?

This is a very, what we're asking of people is not how to learn the software, how to learn about bugs or whatever the product line is. It's really having to be in a good mood 100% of the time. And so where does that come from? That comes from my team. If you're in customer service and you're working from home, it's very easy to have an upset customer change your energy shift because you've got nobody to help you rebound.

You look to your team, what did you do old school in the office in the cubicle? You'd hang up and go, oh my God, that lady. Like, you know, right? That's what your team is there for. They are your anchor, right? And so anchors are real things, right? In customer service, you got it, right? Emotional anchors, you know, the repair anchors. These are all, again, right? Real things that we don't put labels to and that we don't emphasize on. So when I'm hanging up and I'm...

Rob Dwyer (28:42.118)


Margaret (28:58.89)
you know, talking to my coworker about that difficult call or how to handle it for the next time or somebody gives me their advice on how they handle that same scenario. There's the anchors that you miss by having remote. So I love remote, but there's just something about old school in-house that, you know, you have to try to replicate that scenario as best you can if you are balancing the two.

Rob Dwyer (29:19.516)
I love that you talk about culture and then specific ways to achieve that culture through a variety of techniques. And I think this is the piece that people miss with work from home. When you talked about people just like hiding behind a screen and feeling like they're just kind of alone. That's the sign of a work from home environment that is not a good culture.

Margaret (29:37.357)

Rob Dwyer (29:49.316)
and people are going to be lonely. They're going to feel like they're out on an island and that there's nobody supporting them. And it doesn't have to be that way. There are ways that we can make work from home, not feel like you're out on an island. And it sounds very much like you were doing that today. And I imagine your team is very close knit because of.

Margaret (29:55.017)

Margaret (30:00.438)

Margaret (30:16.582)
Oh yeah, 100%. Sometimes too close. I mean, when I sit, when the phones are, when the volume's low and everybody's talking about how they're seasoning their chicken for dinner, I mean, it, it kills me being in that BPO space. But I love the camaraderie and, and the great thing about it is, you know, you know, call centers, right? We've got that highs and lows, the call volume comes in roller coasters. When, when we're up, it's everybody's like head down, you know, full steam ahead. And you could, you could feel the energy when that happens. And I love it because they just come together.

Rob Dwyer (30:21.655)
Ha ha

Rob Dwyer (30:26.416)
Ha ha ha!

Margaret (30:46.622)
and they just solve everything for each other as well. There's no, again, I go back to, I'm old school customer service. I used to come in and God bless Jackie, I loved her, but she would tape the appointment that I booked incorrectly to my monitor. Like call this customer and fix it. You killed a tree for that. You couldn't just call the customer yourself? Like really? Like how did you even find that appointment? I booked that like two weeks ago. Like, were you looking for my errors? Like...

Rob Dwyer (31:04.805)

Margaret (31:16.854)
So, you know, so we don't have that kind of, you know, that environment and I love it because you can feel the energy, but it is a lot of work. It is a lot of work to, you know, have to be, even for my managers, you know, this isn't always my responsibility, but what they say is, right, you bring the weather, you bring the sun. And so I try to put that into, instill that into everybody. Like you bring the sun, everybody brings the sun, everybody brings the weather. You know, if you've got a bad day, it's like, I love those commercials that they used to have where like, it'd be like,

Rob Dwyer (31:32.348)

Margaret (31:45.826)
the football player and like all of a sudden the football player was like Betty White and they'd be like you need a Snickers bar, right? Like, because that's what like being in this space feels like. And sometimes my team comes in and I'm like, you need a Snickers and they know what I mean. It's like, listen, I would rather you get up and go take a walk and come back, you know, or just tell me that today's not the day boss and I got to go home. Because every, every interaction counts. And if you're not feeling it, hence that emotional labor that I'm asking you for.

Rob Dwyer (31:59.163)

Margaret (32:13.33)
I need that honesty for you to tell me. And that's what, you know, that's what that culture kind of brings, that open, honest communication that you could tell me today, I just don't have it in me. I would rather hear that than have the potential, oops, I didn't see it, didn't do it, didn't save it, didn't say it, you know, kind of day.

Rob Dwyer (32:21.369)

Rob Dwyer (32:31.804)
So you've talked about emotional labor and the team needing to bring the sunshine, bring their own weather and to be in a good mood.

What is your take on AI agents and in the future of that? Do you think that could ever work in this business?

Margaret (32:57.57)
I think it does because I think it's all about how you use it. I think there's the leverage of never necessarily replacing CSRs. I think that there's always going to be a community of people that want to talk to somebody, especially when it comes to your upset customers. I mean, if I'm an upset customer, I can't yell at an AI as much as I can really make you feel how angry that I am. So I think there's always going to be the person that hits zero or bypasses that no matter what.

Rob Dwyer (33:21.39)

Margaret (33:25.442)
But I think to be able to deliver information faster to the person that receives the call or to be able to streamline something so that it's in the right area if your team is compartmentalized. For all those things, the way that AI advances our ability to label things and to then process them differently, get the information to the person faster or just maybe click a button and my response is already written for me. I mean, who doesn't love those types of things?

So I think it just makes the person that sits in the seat better, faster, stronger. So depending on how you leverage it. And then there's just, it's just like a voicemail in a sense that like when you have AI assistants of somebody collecting the information and just booking an appointment, some people want that, right? It's why we have the queue callback because I don't want to wait in line, but I want to use the advancements in technology to just come back to it. Or why people just leave that voice, that quick voicemail because they don't need to talk to somebody. They just want to deliver information very quickly.

Rob Dwyer (33:57.18)

Margaret (34:21.766)
know that you're going to handle it and call them back with the solution. So I think there's a lot of places where AI fits a hundred percent. I don't know that it would ever completely replace everyone in the seat. I just think it advances their capabilities.

Rob Dwyer (34:35.872)
Yeah, absolutely. I just feel like in that particular industry, you've talked multiple times about it being kind of emotional. And as someone who has needed pest control, both in the past and, you know, I get regular service at my home. I know, like, there are certain things where I'm like, no, I got to call someone.

Margaret (35:05.431)

Rob Dwyer (35:05.796)
I don't want to deal with that. And when it's in your home, there is a certain feeling. And sometimes I need someone to connect with that feeling. And I just don't know that a disembodied voice is ever going to do that. We'll see, though, because the technology is getting better and better.

Margaret (35:20.503)

Margaret (35:27.214)

Rob Dwyer (35:31.544)
So let's talk about technology a little bit. You mentioned earlier for outsourcing that there is an opportunity for me to take advantage of technology that maybe I don't have the money for, or maybe it just doesn't make sense based on my size. Can you talk about some of the technology that you use that allow your partners to kind of, I don't know, partake in or take advantage of that maybe they don't have access to in their own business?

Margaret (36:01.902)
Yeah, and it depends on the size of the company, but I mean, we utilize lots of pieces of technology that we can extend to the companies that we field calls for. We have live chats that we can put on their websites. We have texting capabilities. We have even the AI assistance for people that want to employ that as an option to see more kind of modern and relevant. So it just depends on little things like that. I mean, there's not a whole lot.

of things that we don't do because I'm still old school. I just believe there's the old school phone call, but there's ways of even dialing lists a little bit faster, but I'm old school. I believe that you read the account before you dial it, but maybe that dialer makes you enter the phone numbers a little bit quicker. I wanna read the notes that says do not call before that auto dialer sends out that call.

But yeah, things like live chat, things like texting, the AI is something that we're kind of playing with as well to give us an option, web forms, those are pieces that maybe, and sometimes not even that they are too small. Sometimes they just don't have the patience, right? To kind of sort through all of the options that are out there and it's just easier to say, hey, yep, we do it, here it is, it's already set up and we can handle it for you. So sometimes it's just a matter of, right, it's time.

Rob Dwyer (37:08.074)

Rob Dwyer (37:19.772)
I think it's also comforting to know if I am in the pest control industry that you've used something successfully with another pest control company and I know, okay, it can work and you've done it before and you know how to just make it work for me. So please just make it work.

Margaret (37:29.592)

Margaret (37:42.186)
Yeah, hence the time. Hence the giving back the time. Yeah, absolutely. There is that leverage of knowing what's kind of working for most people. And we learn those things too. We learn all the time from the partners. We call our clients partners. So we work all the time with our partners and learn what are the best things that they like and what's working for them and what are ways that we can incorporate it. I mean, that's the core of at least the way that we do our services is that.

Rob Dwyer (37:44.172)
Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Margaret (38:07.946)
when I say that, you know, our clients are called partners, it's because our working relationship is very different from that of an outsourced company. We work very closely in communication and camaraderie. We share, you know, knowledge. Like it's, you know, it's for us, it's turning into termite season right now and termites are swarming. We put out shared messages across both teams like, hey guys, don't forget, we need to ask these, you know, specific questions. And that's something that we share with others and they share things with us. So it's great.

that with a partnership you can build anything and you can fix anything. And that's the type of companies that we look to work with as well.

Rob Dwyer (38:41.101)

Rob Dwyer (38:44.752)
Yeah, I love that. Well, Margaret, I have to thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. It has been an absolute pleasure. Is there anything that you want to share with the audience? Maybe the best way for them to get in touch with you if they're interested in learning more about grit.

Margaret (38:56.438)

Margaret (39:07.55)
Yeah, we are. I mean, you can find us on the internet. It's And my information is I'm Margaret, So we're always available, obviously, to work with companies and being able to accelerate their own pace of business, giving them access to a fully trained

knowledgeable and pest control and lots of other different services and give them the advantage of time. Like I said again, giving them the time to focus on their company and their service while we handle those sensitive things like your client relationship.