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Who ya gonna call? The short answer is CIG — the Customer Information Group, a toll-free hotline that Douglas Products offers in support of Vikane® gas fumigant.

Q&A With Donna Jennings

Customer Service Manager, Pest Management North American Division

What do you do as the customer service manager?

I manage our customer information group (CIG). It supports our sales organization, our customers and their customers in three important ways. First, we have a toll-free phone service, 844-884-5263, or we can be contacted by email at customer@douglasproducts.com. Second, through our literature fulfillment service. And third, our literature archive system ensures that all literature is current.

I have managed the Douglas Products CIG since July 2015 when we acquired the business for Vikane® and ProFume® gas fumigants from Dow AgroSciences. I received technical training from the Dow AgroSciences CIG group, as well as Dr. Ellen Thoms and Dr. Barb Nead-Nylander. Our CIG is modelled after Dow’s.

How did you learn about fumigation?

I’ve learned from the best, Dr. Thoms and Dr. Nead-Nylander. Both are technical experts and are involved in making sure that our support information and materials are backed by science. The core of my responses for CIG are based on the science behind our label and stewardship practices. I’ve also been on fumigations in both Florida and California with our sales team and quality assurance specialists to get a firsthand understanding of what is involved in the process.

How many calls do you take in a year?

It has been around 800 per year, but began to decrease when our FumigationFacts.com website went live. That website is very good at answering a lot of questions that homeowners have because we built it after doing research with homeowners to find out what they wanted to know. The website covers how a structural fumigation is conducted, the use of Vikane to eliminate pests, what to expect in the process and more.

We recently created another support video, How to Prepare Your Home for a Fumigation With Vikane. That video was created to help homeowners better understand what to do to prepare for a fumigation. The video is incorporated in the FumigationFacts.com website and can also be used by itself.

One more thing that is decreasing homeowner calls is our Fumigation Planning Guide, which also is on the FumigationFacts.com website. The planning guide shows the homeowner the steps and the timing of those steps to help them understand what to prepare for and what to expect during their fumigation. This is a great tool for homeowners and termite companies to provide to homeowners. And I often use it to help answer homeowner questions.

Are most of the calls homeowners?

About 98 percent of the callers are homeowners and the rest are fumigators. Our toll-free line is maintained to support fumigators who us Vikane and homeowners they serve.

What about literature fulfillment?

We offer fumigators and termite companies a number of literature pieces at no cost. I manage the fulfillment part of that from A to Z. When new literature is created, I order it from the printer. When literature is updated, I replace the old with the new. I make sure our literature order forms are up to date. And most important, I make sure fumigators and termite companies get the literature they have requested.

Our most popular literature pieces are the fact sheet, which must be provided to homeowners, and the Know What Needs to Be Bagged fact sheet. The Fumigation Planning Guide is becoming more popular. It gives homeowners a lot of the answers they need. We provide printed copies, but we also have the website so that the fumigator or termite company can let their customers know they can download it as a PDF from FumigationFacts.com and print their own copies. The Fumigation Planning Guide also tells what needs to be bagged.

We’re working to make it easier for everyone to be educated about the value of fumigation with Vikane and to help make the process better understood by homeowners.

How do you like to relax?

I am very family oriented. My husband and I have a son in Alabama who works for the Department of Defense and a daughter who is a bookkeeper who lives near us. We have an 8-year-old granddaughter who I get to spend a lot of time with. And I spend time with my elderly parents helping them with whatever they may need. I also enjoy watching movies and scrapbooking.

How long have you been with Douglas Products?

I joined Douglas Products when they purchased the BioStim business in January 2013. I had worked for BioStim for eight years before that. That is now our Bioremediation Division. BioStim® is a biological product used to help maintain drain lines in commercial food handling establishments. BioStim products are not pesticides, but pest management companies can use them to remove fat, grease, oil and organic matter from customers’ drain lines. It’s an add-on service that is used on a monthly basis to maintain drain lines and improve sanitation at the site. BioStim stayed in Texas for the first two years after it was purchased by Douglas Products, and then we moved the lab to Missouri. I still do tech support for customers of BioStim and our new field rep.

Before that?

My entire career has involved office management, usually for a health or technical-based business. My training was in bookkeeping and office management. I’ve done this for a nursing home, a physical therapy office and a bone and tissue bank where I was not only the office manager but also the quality assurance manager. This particular business had been having a lot of deficiencies with the federal government. I wrote their quality assurance program and the standard operating procedures. Those helped get the company into regulatory compliance.

Favorite part of the job?

I love taking CIG phone calls. I want to help others. I find CIG is fulfilling by helping individuals. People have practical questions about what the fumigation involves or have read things online that are confusing. I listen and answer their questions. It’s personally fulfilling when someone will thank me for helping them.