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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

How to Exterminate Business Pests

Written By: Carol Roth | Comments Off on How to Exterminate Business Pests

business pestsIf your business has achieved any level of success, you have probably encountered some type of business pest. Business pests can vary from rats and snakes to roaches- you know- that disgruntled customer that just won’t accept any type of solution, a jealous competitor trying to sabotage your business or brand, or even a straight-up hater that conceivably never even patronized your business, but heckles it all over the internet anyway. So, no matter what type of pests your business has, here are a few tips on how to effectively exterminate them once and for all:

Do an inspection.
Before you can appropriately exterminate your business pest problem, first, you need to do an inspection to assess what kind of pest you have. If you don’t know what kind of pest you have, you won’t be able to exterminate it.

So, act like an exterminator with a clipboard and really listen objectively to the complaints, issues and feedback that your business is receiving. Is it a valid complaint or do you just smell a rat? That needs to be figured out before you take any kind of action.

Set a trap.
Much like you’d set a trap with a piece of cheese, use a kindness trap. ‘Killing ‘em with kindness’ works on almost any kind of business pest. Whatever they say and no matter what tone they say it in, respond with thanks, acknowledge their concerns and use kind language. Stay calm and resist the urge to snap back at them or become defensive. The nastiness will almost always stop when they are countered with an understanding, kind tone and they aren’t getting a negative reaction.

Usher them outside.
Once you’ve trapped your pest, just like you would with a mouse or snake that snuck into your house, usher them outside. Anonymity is a vast breeding ground for pests, so if possible, face to face meetings or phone calls can help humanize the situation and put it to rest more quickly. Even an email or hand-written letter can go a long way to show that they are talking to real human beings.

Get a cat.
Pests can be chased away (or eaten up!) when your loyal customers and raving fans smell a rat and authentically chase it away by coming to your defense. This can often happen organically, without anyone from your business having to intervene. So, don’t rush to jump in if there’s a cat-fight going on; it often will resolve itself with the pests being eaten up!

Use repellent and swatters.
In the same way that you’d use a cat to chase your pests away, you can also use a repellent. To do so, just spray the infested area with testimonials, loyal customer reviews and positive feedback to counteract the infestation and keep pests in check.

And just like you’d swat flies with a swatter, swat ‘em away with the truth- if someone is ranting and making false statements, correct the record with a professional statement that presents just the facts, not insults. If authentic, you can try to use humor, but much like a cheese trap, if they’re crafty enough, it may lead to another infestation!

Cut off their entry points.
Just like sealing up holes and blocking entry points can stop raccoons, bugs, rodents or other pests from infesting your home, you can stop business pests the same way. Only allow for approved comments on any sites that you control, like facebook, your blogs, your forums, etc. You can adjust your settings on most social media and websites, so that you have to approve a comment before it becomes publicly visible.

The majority of potential customers will come upon your business via official websites and social media channels, so you can easily control the comments and feedback that are listed to ward off a pest attack before it happens publicly.

Clean up garbage.
Pest infestations occur more frequently when you leave garbage around, so the absolute best way to prevent an infestation in the first place is to make sure that your business is in ship shape- a squeaky clean, well-oiled machine. If everything is running smoothly, from customer service to quality control, pests will really have to stretch to find things to complain about that any future or current customer will take seriously.

And if none of the above work to help mitigate your business pest problems, just remember that you can’t rationalize with crazy, so it’s not worth the time and effort trying!

What other tips do you have for exterminating business pests? Please share them below.

Thanks to Jessica Oman of Renegade Planner, Michelle Stansbury of Little Penguin PR, S Capri Edwards of AGC Worldwide LLC and Brandon Bruce of Cirrus Insight for the inspiration behind some of these ideas.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth