You own a hotel and a guest says you have bed bugs. Or you own a business where they are discovered. You’re splattered on bedbugregistry.com, the TV crews are on their way and you’ll be front page of the newspaper tomorrow. Now what?!
This happens every day to unsuspecting businesses. So how do you cope? Below are some steps to take to protect yourself and your business in this PR nightmare.
1. Face the facts – bed bugs are pandemic. The chance of coming into contact with bed bugs in the next five years is 100%. You are not alone, they affect all facets of the population, they are equal opportunity feeders, and most people have no idea they are carrying them.
2. Be proactive! Create and manage internal systems to prevent and deal with bed bugs. Educating your employees is paramount as this is a team effort and the more knowledge, the better. Educate staff on what bed bugs look like, their habits, and how to avoid them which is your first and best defense on having a problem in the first place. Using Greenbug, you can create Bed Bug Prevention policies where proactive steps are taken to make sure they don’t enter your business. Step-by-Step Bed Bug Inspection criteria and keeping logs of inspections are excellent steps to prevent bed bugs AND protect your company if a false accusation is made. Make bed bug detection, prevention and elimination part of everyone’s job!
3. Deal with them ASAP! Time is of the essence in the PR world and bad news spreads FAST! Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets, everyone will know about it immediately so your reaction to an infestation must be just as fast. Call Maintenance; get the Greenbug for People; and treat that room/space/area where the bed bug was found immediately! Treat as soon as is humanly possible so that no one else can possibly find another one.
4. React with damage control swiftly. Log onto bedbugregistry.com or any other site that mentions your location and offer explicit details of how you treated the room as soon as possible. Phrase your reaction as a combination of being educated, horrified and completely devoted to customer service. Something like, “Up until now we have been able to avoid the U.S. epidemic of bed bugs. One of our trained Housekeeping staff detected evidence and swift action was taken to treat immediately using safe, green and 100% effective Greenbug for People. The comfort of our guests (employees, customers, etc.) is our top priority and we will continue our diligent efforts to make sure a stay at our property is an exceptional experience.” This way you admit it, identify the likelihood, and then stress the importance of taking care of your guests (employees, customers, etc.).
5. Be transparent with information about your internal systems for dealing with bed bugs. If you are accused – justly or unjustly – expect questions and accusations from that point forward. The public does not necessarily understand the prevalence of these blood suckers or how they travel and appear in the cleanest of places. Having a well-trained staff that can speak intelligently about Bed Bug Prevention Systems you have in place; keeping a thorough log of inspections available to the public; discussing common protocol if any are detected; and the willingness to openly discuss how good a job you and your staff are doing in regards to the issues goes a long way to reassure the public.
Unfortunately, you will get bed bugs at your location and very likely multiple times. As the incidences increase, so does awareness and therefore the requirements for you to instill confidence in your guests, employees, customers, etc. Having systems in place to prevent them, being able to treat them immediately in-house with Greenbug for People, having a well-trained staff, and being open and willing to discuss bed bugs goes a long way in your Public Relations efforts to create and retain an excellent reputation.
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