Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Improve Your Customer Service By Teaching Your Staff How To Prepare ‘Elevator Speeches’

July 12, 2001
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This deceivingly simple task will do more to powerfully cement long-lasting customer relationships than all the coupons or give-a-ways you can come up with!

Most professional carpet cleaning services feel that they provide an excellent level of service for the prices they charge. However, we must also be reminded that we are usually not as good as we think we are. Remember the “Lake Woebegone Syndrome”?

The Problem

Management and office staff, as well as cleaning technicians, usually do little to create value in the customers mind. As an example, even such a deceivingly simple step as explaining the importance of each procedure in the cleaning process is consistently overlooked. This is a case where familiarity with a repetitive process devalues the process in the minds of those who do the same thing day in and day out, week after week.

On the other hand, the customer cannot place a true value on what they are paying for if all they see is a change from dirty to clean for an agreed dollar amount. You and I both know it’s not that simple, but your customer doesn’t! Therein lies the problem.

Another cleaner comes along and explains everything they’re going to do and why they’re going to do it—and takes your customer away, often at a higher price than you charged. To top it off, they didn’t do any more than you would have.

The Solution?

Help everyone (you, your office staff and the technicians) in your company learn how to prepare an elevator speech.
Delivering the “Elevator Speech”
The purpose of an elevator speech is to answer the questions, “What do you do?” or “What will you do?” in the time it takes an elevator to go from one floor to the next! That means 30 seconds or less, with a 20-30 word limit. It’s amazing what you can explain in this short time period with a little practice.

Once a person realizes how little it takes to give a good answer, they’ll be ready to add value to every job your company does.

Here is an important tip: Don’t prepare a canned script for your staff! They must each develop their elevator speech themselves, with your guidance of course.

The Strategy

Provide staff members with a copy of the IICRC S001 Carpet Cleaning Standard as their information resource. Have each one prepare their elevator speech on the same subject, using the following subjects, one at a time: Pre-inspection; pre-vacuuming; pre-treatment; grooming; and carpet protector application.

Allow them adequate time to read up on the subject and to develop their own elevator speech.

Also, suggest that they start by completing this sentence. “I have been trained ____________.” Be sure the answer is crystal clear so that the customer will instantly recognize the added value of the process described.

Next, have each participant share their results out loud, and ask the other staff members to offer helpful suggestions for improvement. Have them write down their final elevator speech draft for reference. This deceivingly simple step will do more to powerfully cement long lasting customer relationships than all the coupons or give-a-ways you can come up with!

As Harry Beckwith says, “There are no ordinary jobs. There are only people who insist on performing them in ordinary ways.”

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