- THE MAGAZINE
Recently, I was telling a group of people how it was getting harder to come up with new column ideas month after month. One member of the group said I should write about the upholstery- and carpet-mill tour we had just returned from. I was a little confused; I could not think of anything special that had happened during the tour. She said she was impressed that both mills mentioned using the IICRC for their source for cleaners.
After the tours, we were invited to a conference area for a question-and-answer session. Mill representatives were asked where they direct consumers for their cleaning needs, and without hesitation the representatives said the IICRC referral line or Web site.
We have had two of the “Big Three” using the IICRC referral systems for quite some time, but we are finally gaining acceptance with mills that are even minutely related to the cleaning and restoration industry.
We are in the process of revamping the IICRC Web site, adding an area where you can contact the chairpersons of the various technical advisory and standing committees. This is not the place to get answers to technical questions, but an area where you are able to give your valuable input to the committees. We are trying to do a better job of communicating with you. This change was made from a suggestion that came directly from a registrant who voiced a concern that, “We, as registrants, do not know how or who to contact with our concerns or ideas for improvement!” When it comes to problem solving and improving the IICRC, our registrants are part of the solution and I, for one, appreciate the help.
IICRC sponsors an annual meeting where we meet with many of the mills’ technical staff to see how we can help with the problems they face in maintaining their products. One of their biggest concerns is the need for a place where they can refer consumers to get some simple questions answered, an “FAQ” page. We are working with them to get this on IICRC Web site. We are also planning to develop more consumer-related articles to bring in as many consumers as possible. Of course, we will also market them to all of you.
By the time that you read this, we hope to have the search engine changed to the same system as the 1-800 referral system. It will no longer work from zip codes, but will work with city names with 10-, 20- and 50-mile range. This system will be world wide, so even our international certified firms will benefit.
Speaking of international firms, we are working on being more “international friendly.” It has been quite a learning experience for us, and I thank all of the international registrants for sticking with us while we are working out the bugs in the system. We are in the process of reworking the way that we are doing international business. Over the past year, we have had all of our international board members, our attorney and our administrator working on a plan to better everything on the international front. By the time you read this, most of these systems should be up and running.
I had the grand idea of advertising IICRC-certified firms in every Yellow Pages in the United States, but was humbled when we found out how much it cost to do so. But we will be test marketing in several cities with small Yellow Page ads encouraging consumers to go to our referral system and Web site to find IICRC-certified firms. We would like to see if we have any increase in referrals to the firms in these areas. If so, we will move into more cities and hope for a trickledown effect to other areas, much like we have in our own businesses with word-of-mouth referrals.
These are just some of the projects we are working on for you. As you can see, we are continuing to work to get the IICRC name out there to benefit you.