Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Workplace Reality and Customer Care Training

May 3, 2001
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Like it or not, your cleaning customers and prospects have undergone a negative attitude adjustment during these last six months!

Five trillion dollars has evaporated from world markets as of March 2001. More than $2 trillion of the market value has evaporated from the Nasdaq market alone over this past year. Like it or not, people’s emotions are strongly governed by their pocketbooks, and at least $20,000 per household in this country went up in smoke. To add to the attitude adjustment process, rapidly escalating energy costs have left consumers reeling in a state of shock.

In Ohio, for example, consumers are paying 79-, 118- and 132 percent more for the price of the natural gas commodity today than they were a year ago. Even worse, stories come from California with their electric crisis and from New England with their heating oil crisis!

The newspapers carry articles like this: “We receive calls every day from consumers who must select between purchasing medical care, buying food or heating their homes. For many consumers who heat their homes with natural gas the issue has become a matter of survival.”

Actually, these editors are merely responding to the needs of their readers. Their readers are in near panic and feel better if they know they are not the only ones that feel the pain. When they see the newspapers panic too, they take comfort.

Yet, with all of this negative information, the economy is still quite strong. Employment figures show that the country still has low unemployment. And, this strong economy is projected to continue for the next decade. Service demands of every type are projected to grow rapidly. So people are working, what’s the big deal? Why such an attitude change?

Bottom line, it’s because people are scared and angry! Flattened pocketbooks, shrunken IRAs and 401s have soured their owners (your customers & prospects) against remaining symbols of the recent times of unbridled prosperity and wealth.

Actually, these changes have been underway for some time, but the recent stock market plunge has really tightened things up dramatically!

What does this all have to do with training? More than you know!

Today, the customer wants absolutely the most for every dollar they spend. They no longer feel wealthy, and are now powerfully “value” driven. If you can’t create more value for the price you charge the consumer for your service, then price becomes the only comparison they have that they can trust.

This also means that you can expect a strong growth spurt in highly competitive “price merchandising” companies. They are usually sharp, well run businesses that know how to run cost conscious operations that can make excellent profits when competing in a price driven market.

What can you do? First, you must accelerate customer care training in your company. Second, you must simplify the technical training.

Why accelerate customer care training? Let me welcome you to the “New Age” consumer—educated and suspicious! Fear and distrust have now become the norm. The “New Age” consumer distrusts the media (and you!). This angry consumer also distrusts people in general except for a small circle of relatives and friends.

Don’t wait until you get run over by this trend, start customer care training today!

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