2003 Termite Technician of the Year: Kevin McDonald

Features - PCT News

Orkin Pest Control’s Kevin McDonald is regarded as an honest, dependable, customer service-oriented technician.

December 17, 2003

Termite technician Kevin McDonald of Orkin Pest Control’s Clearwater, Fla., office, has a simple, but successful rule of thumb for providing service.

"I treat every home like it’s my home and I treat every customer like I want to be treated," he says.

For the last five years, McDonald has become one of the company’s most technically proficient termite technicians, while at the same time developing a reputation for having outstanding interpersonal skills.

Within the company and with his customers McDonald is regarded as an honest, dependable, customer service-oriented technician, who goes above and beyond to exceed customer expectations.

Moreover, McDonald is admired around the office for his willingness to help others, and thus improve their professionalism. In fact, many of his coworkers affectionately refer to him as "The Orkin Man."

A SERVICE BACKGROUND. It’s only taken five years for McDonald to establish himself as a standout termite technician. Helping McDonald enhance his status so quickly is the fact that prior to joining Orkin he was well versed in customer service.

From 1991 to 1998, McDonald worked in the service department of an automobile dealership in Florida. McDonald says that this work experience prepared him well for the customer service challenges that can arise during termite work.

"You are dealing with customers who, in some cases are upset customers, and it is your job to comfort them and take care of their problems," McDonald said.

In 1998, McDonald was having a conversation with his neighbor, pest management professional Don DeLeonhard, who explained what was involved in pest management.

"What I heard from him sounded pretty exciting, so I decided to give it a shot," he said.

A QUICK STUDY. Termite work was initially foreign to McDonald, but he was eager to learn from others and he still continues to fine-tune the technical aspects of the job by completing training events such as the Texas A&M University Correspondence Course in Termite Biology and Control as well as other Orkin training sessions.

After receiving initial training and learning the "tricks of the trade" from others at the Clearwater office, McDonald took to the job like a sponge to water.

As McDonald continued to improve his termite control skills, he began to gain a greater appreciation for what’s involved in this line of work.

"Every home and every situation is different," McDonald says. "For example, you might encounter one house where a sprinkler head is broken and always creating moisture."

Although McDonald’s background was not termite control-specific, he brought to the job characteristics of a good termite technician such as problem-solving abilities, thoroughness, paying attention to detail and excellent customer communication skills.

These traits have been apparent to Chuck Burton, branch manager, Orkin Pest Control, Clearwater, Fla., who has overseen McDonald on numerous projects throughout the years.

"Kevin is extremely conscientious about what he does," Burton says. "He wants customers’ experiences with us to be positive. He’s a perfectionist."

For example, if McDonald is performing termite work that requires him to drill into a wall void, he’ll "go the extra mile" to color-match the grout exactly so that it matches the wall and then patches the wall with great care.

"He is amazing at covering up drill marks," Burton said. "We had an in-house quality auditor come in and inspect one of Kevin’s jobs and he was stymied trying to find Kevin’s termite treatment."

McDonald is also the ultimate professional in regards to appearance, keeping a neat and organized service vehicle, and thorough paperwork, according to Burton.

A SKILLED COMMUNICATOR. It’s not just attention to detail that separates McDonald from other termite technicians. McDonald has proven to be a skilled communicator, adept at answering questions and reassuring customers.

"He always takes time to talk to customers," Burton says. "He makes sure customers are comfortable with the service he is providing. If customers have a question he answers it, or if he can’t he picks up a phone and calls someone who can. He always has the customer’s best interest at heart."

Stephen Vaughan, assistant regional manager of Orkin’s North Florida office, has recognized McDonald’s communication skills as well.

"Kevin’s ability to transform a customer who is genuinely nervous and worried about a termite problem into an ‘I understand’ highly satisfied customer puts him head and shoulders above his peers and competition," Vaughan says.

Proof of McDonald’s quality work and standout service is evidenced by the fact that he has a high renewal rate. Perhaps of greater significance are the numerous letters of praise McDonald receives each year from satisfied customers (see story, right).

McDonald has had a very symbiotic relationship with Orkin. Working in pest control has allowed McDonald to utilize his technical abilities and customer service skills. In return, satisfied customers are proof that Orkin has benefited from McDonald’s consistently high performance.

FAMILY COMES FIRST. When away from the job, McDonald says he enjoys spending time with his family, which includes wife Doreen, one-year-old son Kevin Joseph, and nine-year-old daughter Kristina. A typical weekend might involve taking his family to the park, fishing and watching NASCAR and/or football on television.

In addition, McDonald says he’s found a home in pest control and wants to continue to further refine his skills as a termite technician.

Close Encounters

As a termite technician, Kevin McDonald spends considerable time in an area where most people have no interest in ever visiting — a crawlspace.

McDonald has encountered all sorts of pests in these structural entities including snakes, spiders and assorted wildlife pests.

“Probably the strangest encounter was a frightened opossum who was protecting her babies,” McDonald recalls. “But I still was able to get the job done.”

McDonald also comes across many items including various bottles such as old wine bottles and old cans.

“I’ll ask the customers if I can have the bottles and most of them say ‘Yes.’” McDonald says. “I’ve been able to build a nice collection.”

What Customers Say

Customers of Kevin McDonald are quick to praise the termite technician for his quality work. Here is a sampling of letters that Orkin has received complimenting the work of McDonald.

"Living in Florida can be very tough when dealing with termites. The last several years I have been fortunate enough to have Kevin McDonald take care of my home. He is always meticulous in his inspections and if any minor problems are found, quick and precise service is rendered. He is the most professional individual I have ever met."

— Orkin customer Daniel Melker

"I was impressed with both Kevin’s work ethic and his professionalism. He was friendly, helpful and worked diligently the entire time he was here."

— Orkin customer Pam Lagano

"Kevin seems to want to do the job to the best of his ability. He did the job as he would do it (on his home). He also listened to us when we told him about the termite problems."

— Orkin customer Norma McNeel

"I have renewed my contract and I am requesting Kevin McDonald to do the entire inspection. Not only is he an excellent technician but he is totally familiar with this property."

— Orkin customer Sidney H. Langford