- THE MAGAZINE
(Editor’s Note: For more tips on customer care, see Gordon Hanks’ column from last month titled “You’ve Gotta Be Clean to Get Clean.”)
Have you ever taken a call from a perspective customer where they ask you a question and before you know it you are saying words like extraction, surfactant, truckmount, encapsulation, or (heaven forbid) deflocculation? This is where the quote from Franklin Roosevelt comes to bare: “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
When we answer the phone with a perspective customer, their first question may be, “How much does it cost?” But, what they will want to know is if you can solve their problems - do you care enough to give them what they need, not what you need. They ask how much it costs because they don’t know what else to ask and they are conditioned this way. The faster you can figure out their problem (cat urine, spilled coffee or “I don’t trust contractors”) and begin to solve it, the quicker you’ll be on their job making money and making happy customers.
Once you are on the job, you have the opportunity to really show that you care. They expect you to get the carpet, tile and grout, or whatever you are working on, clean. It’s what you do that they don’t expect, but are pleasantly surprised by, that will make them your customer forever. Let me give you a few examples.
Hot air, cold air, blowing snow, bugs, bees and flies are all welcome guests when you leave your customers front door open to run your hose from the truckmount. Imagine what your customer thinks to see her expensive air conditioning flowing out the door while the neighbor’s cat comes in. What happens to the idea of having a positive experience with a professional cleaner when it comes with bugs and flies swooping in through the open door?
These issues are easily prevented with a door guard that allows the door to be open yet seals it against entry of unwanted entities. This padded device is designed to fit over the edge of the door with extra padding that can tuck into the opening of the door, sealing in the cool and keeping out the bugs. A door stopper is also attached to hold the door snug. Models are now available that will fit any sized door up to nine feet. Be it the summer or winter, this tool is a must and will earn big “care” points with your customer.
Another front door customer care device (or any door for that matter) is the door jamb saver. All of your hoses are going to come from the outside into a home. Even if you’re using a portable, hoses often go into one room from another.
These clever devices come in two sizes to fit either a 6 or 8-inch door jamb. They snap on securely to both sides of the jamb and prevent hose damage as they slide in and out of the door. There is little a customer hates more than the sound of hose cutting into their woodwork as you drag it around. Imagine the thrill when they see that you took the extra effort to protect it.
I don’t suppose this discussion would be complete without mentioning the corner guard. Again, this device is purely a customer care necessity. Placed on any corner where your hoses could come in contact, the corner guard will prevent those white streaks of paint appearing on you hose - a sure sign you have destroyed your customers paint job.
When using these gadgets to show your customer that you really care, you are doing something that your competition often dismisses as fluff. If the previous cleaner used these customer care gadgets and you don’t, plan on this being a one-time job.
I imagine you feel like I do. Once I’ve earned a customer, I don’t ever want to let them go. Let CFL (customer for life) be your motto as you demonstrate how much you really care about them and their home.