Have you ever heard the saying "Success is 90% attitude and only 10% aptitude"?
You may be thinking what in the world does this have to do with window washing and customer service. Well by working on becoming tops in customer service, you are automatically developing a more positive attitude which in turn generates more success for your window washing business.
If, on the other hand, we let the little irritating things creep in or those grumpy customers affect our outlook, then our attentions take a nose dive. If that happens, our good customer service typically takes a
dive right along with it.
I've listed below 3 things that can really make your customer service shine through:
1. Communication …
Lack of communication is probably my biggest pet peave when dealing with most businesses. Maybe you feel the same way (or maybe you do not) but I just feel it is so rude to leave a customer hanging in the breeze.
How many times have you contacted someone or some company and set up an appointment for them to come over and do some work, or set up an appointment for an estimate, and lo and behold they not only do not show, but to make matters worse, they do not even provide you a courtesy phone call.
I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the times this has happened to me personally. It's like they can not be bothered to at least contact you and let you know they're running late or whatever.
I place "communication" on the top of my customer service list in terms of importance. When you communicate properly, the amount of goodwill you are generating in your window cleaning business can be tremendous.
For example, the night before your scheduled jobs I recommend placing phone calls to your customers as a little reminder that you'll be swinging by to do their job at such and such a time the next day.
If you're running late for an appointment, give 'em a call and tell them so. It's simply inconsiderate to make your window washing customers wonder and wait. So go ahead and create some positive vibes by making a quick 30 second phone call telling them you're running a tad behind schedule and will be there shortly. They'll appreciate it and be impressed you care enough to call.
And contrary to what some window washers think, prospects need to be communicated with also. Yeah I know this is about customer service, but I wanted to throw in a little blur about prospect service since it's not talked about too much.
If you give a prospect an estimate and they need to talk it over with a spouse or just "think about it", it's super important that you give them a call in 2 to 3 days. It'll give you a huge leg up over your competition because most of your competitors do not know how to communicate properly, so they'll wait
for the prospect to call them. Beat 'em to the punch and close the deal.
And if you're running late for an estimate, give the prospect a call. All customers start out as prospects, so if you fall down on prospect service with a prospect, you may never get the opportunity to even use good customer service with him or her because they will not turn into a customer.
So excellent communication with both prospects and customers = more business + more repeat
business + more satisfied customers. Can not ask for anything more than that.
2. Treat your customer like a close friend …
I've been in restaurants and stores where I see waitresses and store clerks just sleep walking through the motions of doing their jobs. That is until a friend or a favorite customer comes in. At that point, they
smile, perk up, and become a different person.
I'm sure you've seen the same thing.
But if you can express that kind of friendship and enthusiasm to ALL customers, you have a tremendous advantage. Why would a customer ever leave you and your company to try an unknown window washer? They will not.
I've had invitations to barbecues and family functions from my customers, ended up playing ping pong, foosball, and other games with some of my customers after window cleaning jobs, being asked to join them for dinner after a window cleaning job was done, etc. etc.
So be warm, friendly, and fuzzy, and you'll gain the loyalty of your customer's business forever, or at least until they move. : o)
3. Be a customer diplomat …
Being a customer diplomat really involves everything we talked about previously plus some additional aspects to give you even higher marks when it comes to great customer service.
I'm talking about doing a superb window cleaning job, having outstanding communication skills, handling any and all customer service issues or complaints pronto, and anything else that involves trying to make the customer super satisfied.
I stress being a customer service diplomat because most of our profit is derived from repeat business. So we need to go the extra mile to make sure they want us back many times over.
But what about difficult customers?
The beauty of our business is that the vast majority of our customers are quality people who will appreciate our efforts, our service, and our commitment to them.
BUT … there's always that rare customer out there who feels that they have all the answers and desires to duke it out with you over your pricing, your service, etc.
My first response is to definitely not get into some kind of an argument. Be cool, calm, and collected. It's amazing how fast a person will back down if you can explain your position clearly and with confidence.
Recently, a window washer I know got stuck with what he called "The Negotiators". Two different customers who were looking for free services, cheaper pricing, or a combination of both.
But in the end by sticking to his guns, he and both customers ended up winners. Paul actually ended up making MORE money on one of the jobs and received glowing reviews from the customer saying he has not seen his windows that clean in 20 years.
The other negotiator, an attorney, said this after the job was done: "You did a really good job on my windows, Thank You! I want you to do the rest of my house and I want you to do my mother's house too. "
And the icing on the cake was him receiving a referral from this attorney for him to do another attorney's house.
So the moral of the story is when you run up against a difficult customer or a "negotiator" as Paul calls' em, be firm, be specific, and be confident. We provide a valuable service done in a professional manner. All we need to do is prove it to the customer.
Worst case scenario … just walk away. I know it's hard sometimes to walk away from business but I've "fired" customers before if I felt that a customer was not only going overboard in his or her demands but also doing it in a rude manner. It's not worth it.
Anyways … if you need to fire a customer or walk away from a prospect, do it as a last resort obviously, but also remember that there is a boatload of glass out there to clean, so your area is filled to the brim with lots and lots of other prospects.
To close this talk about customer service …
Really focus a lot of your energies on the somewhat boring concept of customer service. I have seen poor customer service literally destroy businesses into the ground and I have seen businesses flourish by providing excellent customer service.
And as I stated above, the fact that our business is repeat in nature, customer service is even more important.
So be a customer diplomat. As I'm sure you've all heard, word of mouth is the best advertisement, so just imagine what kind of great things will be said by your customers on the receiving end of your
outstanding customer service.
This really will take your business to new heights while all the non-customer service orientated window washing businesses out there are whistling in the weeds wondering what's going on and where all their window washing customers went to.
To your Success,
by Steve Wright