Customer engagement is critical to the success of any business, whether it’s pest control or publishing. But what exactly is customer engagement? It means different things to different people. From a digital perspective, it’s how “connected” your customers are across all of your company’s digital channels (i.e., website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
That’s why forward-thinking PMPs, like you, have put so much time and effort into enhancing the online experience of your customers in recent years. By creating a user-friendly online experience where customers can engage seamlessly across multiple digital platforms, you are deepening your client relationships, forging a connection with your company’s brand and establishing a more loyal customer base.
From a front-line service perspective, it means making sure your technicians are properly trained so they can interact professionally with your clients and deliver quality service each and every time they call on an account. It also means making sure salespeople, customer service representatives and technicians are all singing from the same songbook, creating a consistent brand message with every customer interaction.
“Though some may believe customers’ purchasing decisions are guided primarily by rational thinking, our research has shown otherwise,” according to Gallup, a well-known analytics and advisory company. “Customers form strong emotions about your company based on their experiences with your people — and those emotions strongly influence their buying decisions.”*
One of the things we take great pride in at PCT is the highly engaged nature of our readership. Throughout the year, our readers are more than willing to share their opinions about the editorial content of PCT — both pro and con — with our staff. And our mission is to provide those same readers with properly vetted, unbiased editorial coverage.
It’s why we seek your input via a series of surveys throughout the year, resulting in thought-provoking feature articles and always well-read State of the Industry reports, two of which appear in this month’s issue. So, thank you for taking the time to fill out our surveys when they arrive in your in-box from time to time. Your input is important to us and we don’t take your time and effort in filling out these surveys lightly. We are grateful to have highly engaged readers that are willing to go the extra mile for us.
One final note, in addition to the industry-specific questions we ask in our State of the Industry surveys, we also like to poll our readers on more light-hearted fare. For instance, in our State of the Ant survey, we asked a few questions about Ant-Man and the Marvel movie franchise. The results appear above. Enjoy!
The author is publisher of PCT.
*Source: Gallup Website – Turning Customers Into True Believers: Customer Engagement
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Spiders that pretend to be ants to fool predators have an unusual problem when it comes to sex. How do they get the attention of potential mates without “breaking character” to birds that want to eat them?
University of Cincinnati biologists say evolution might provide an elegant solution. Viewed from above, the mimics look like skinny, three-segmented ants to fool predators. But in profile, the adult mimics retain their more voluptuous and alluring spider figure to woo nearby mates.
Most birds avoid ants and their painful stingers, sharp mandibles and habit of showing up with lots of friends. Try to eat one and you’re likely to get chewed on by 10 more. That’s why nearly every insect family from beetles to mantises has species that mimic ants.
By comparison, spiders are delicious and nutritious, said Alexis Dodson, a UC doctoral student and lead author. “That’s what a lot of natural selection is all about — to convince other species not to eat you and convince members of your species to mate with you and to do so at the least cost possible,” Dodson said.
Lots of insects and arachnids mimic ants because they’re so formidable. Some plants, too, have evolved a mutually beneficial relationship with aggressive ants to discourage hungry leaf-eaters.
Nathan Morehouse, assistant professor of biological sciences in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, will use a $2 million National Science Foundation grant to study spider vision around the world. But for this study, he didn’t have to go far. He and his students collected mimic spiders by spreading a sheet under trees and whacking limbs at UC’s wooded Center for Field Studies a few miles off campus.
Spiders occupy a three-dimensional world. But whether they’re on the ground or climbing a tree, potential predators are likely to get a dorsal view. “Thinking of vantage point is essential,” Morehouse said. “From the top juveniles and adults both look like ants. And juvenile spiders look very much like ants from the side. But adult spiders shift away from the ant profile toward a more traditional spider-like profile.”
But it’s not enough to look like an ant, Morehouse said. To fool clever predators, you have to act like one, too. The spiders have enormous back legs like ants. Spiders have an extra pair of legs compared to ants and no antennae. But ant mimics will wave their small forelegs in the air like ant antennae.
“The level of mimicry we encounter in jumping spiders is incredibly detailed,” he said. “When ants follow a trail, they weave their heads back and forth. The ant is trying to cast back and forth over a chemical trail that’s hard to find.”
“Remarkably, jumping spiders also perform this weaving behavior even though it has no functional significance for them,” Morehouse said. “They’re trying to be convincing actors. They’re trying to look like an ant.”Read more about this research.