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Routine Service Call Turns Into Fantastic PR Opportunity for Isotech

COVINA, Calif. — What started as a routine service stop turned into a fantastic public relations opportunity for Covina, Calif.-based Isotech Pest Management.

The service call came from James Ricci, a rental property owner who put a call into Isotech (on a Sunday) requesting that a service technician stop out on Monday to retrieve a rat from a sticky trap at his home. Robert Roman, an Isotech service technician who works weekends, promptly called Ricci back and said he could stop by that day (Sunday). Ricci said it was not an urgent problem and it could wait until Monday. First thing on Monday — which actually was Roman’s day off — Roman showed up. After disposing of the rodent, Roman educated Ricci about rodents and rodent control, and also provided rodent-proofing tips such as how to seal off potential rodent entry points.

Impressed that Roman not only showed up on his day off, but also provided such stellar customer care, Ricci called Isotech President Mike Masterson to rave about his experience. It turned out that Ricci also is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. “He said, ‘I write stories about companies all the time but I’ve never had anyone spend time and educate me like that before. I think you are best company I ever heard of — all companies — not just pest control companies,” Masterson told PCT.

Masterson arranged for Ricci to shadow Isotech service technicians Ray Alegre and Miguel Garcia for a “day in the life”-type article for the Times. Ricci also further discussed pest control with Masterson, who allowed him access to his copy of Bobby Corrigan’s Rodent Control: A Practical Guide for Pest Management Professionals. (Ricci also would later interview Corrigan for the article.)

The Times also sent out Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Annie Wells and the result was an article with photographs that the Times deemed worthy of the front cover — the first time the Times ever made pest control a cover story, Masterson was told by the Times. (Read the article, which was titled “They scamper, we stalk.”)

So what does a front-page article in a major daily newspaper mean to a business like Isotech. Masterson said the company’s phones have been ringing “off the hook.” Masterson said that Isotech received more than 225 phone calls after the article was printed. Isotech does 99 percent commercial work, but the response from the Times article has caused the company to change its business model to fulfill a variery of service requests, Masterson said.

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