by Howard Partridge
In recent issues of Cleanfax, I’ve shared that to have a phenomenally successful cleaning and restoration business, you need to have:
- Phenomenal L.I.F.E. Goals
- A Phenomenal Business Vision
- A Phenomenal Plan
- Phenomenal Systems
There are five systems required for any business.
- Marketing: Everything you do to attract prospects to your business.
- Sales: Everything you do to convert prospects into paying customers.
- Operations: Everything you do to serve your clients.
- Administration: Everything you do to track your numbers.
- Leadership: Everything you do to move your business forward.
So far, we’ve covered marketing and sales systems in the series. You can view them in the articles at Cleanfax.com/howardpartridge
The next system to analyze is “operations.”
Making your mark
Operations allows you to make your mark with your company. Operations is everything you do to serve your clients.
Everyone agrees that the thing that will set your company apart more than anything else is the unique experience you deliver. The more meaningful and memorable it is to your client, the more they will talk about you and the more repeat and referral business you will receive.
Be sure to talk about your phenomenal service experience in your marketing as well. Don’t advertise price. Instead, talk about everything you do that others don’t.
Putting on the Ritz
If you want to know what the most phenomenal service experience ever looks like, examine carefully the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and their legendary service.
First, they call their “employees” the “ladies and gentlemen” of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
Each one of them carries a “credo-card” that has their mission and values on it.
If you ask them for directions, they will literally walk you there rather than just pointing.
Some of their hotels have secret service type communications so the door man can communicate with the lobby staff that you’re arriving. Depending on who you are, they may show your photo in a meeting so all the staff knows who they are.
Any team member can spend up to $2,000 on a guest to solve a problem. Have you empowered your people to take care of a guest, or do they have to call you for even the smallest consideration?
My good friend Dr. Joseph A. Michelli wrote a book about The Ritz-Carlton called The New Gold Standard. In that book, he unpacks the philosophy and the strategies. The Ritz-Carlton has been very successful building a business by providing the most phenomenal service experience ever.
But… the flipside
Back in 2012, I traveled to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. As I was planning the trip, I researched my travel book and looked up the website of the resort I was going to visit. It wasn’t the Ritz-Carlton but I was impressed. The site was amazing and the island looked stunning. I booked the trip completely online and any correspondence I had was by email. The confirmation email was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
I took a helicopter from the mainland over to the island so I could see the reef from the air, and the view of the little island among the dots of reef encased in emerald waters was breathtaking. As the helicopter made its slow, rocking descent onto the heli-pad, I imagined I had arrived at “Fantasy Island” (remember that TV show?)
Excitement swelled up in me as I walked up the little sand path to the reception area. Within five minutes I knew the service experience wasn’t going to match the incredible island. The front desk clerk seemed bothered. The more staff I met, the more they all seemed to have a chip on their shoulders. This was a completely different experience from what I had in the rest of Australia. Almost everywhere I’d been, the people had been super nice. Flight attendants actually smiled and stopped to chat a bit.
But not at this resort.
In fact, they didn’t even make eye contact. If this was a Ritz-Carlton property, they would have greeted me politely and asked me how I was doing. Because of the incredible beauty of the island and the unique location, they could have created the most phenomenal service experience ever. Someone was asleep at the wheel.
You see, there’s a difference between providing a functional service and providing the most phenomenal service experience.
When I started my cleaning business, I was a waiter. I worked in high-end restaurants where we performed tableside cooking. I wore a tuxedo to work, and each dish that was prepared at the table was flamed.
Back in those days, you could smoke inside. When someone pulled out a cigarette, a lighter was in front of them immediately. We “waited” just far enough away to give them their personal space, but were close enough to anticipate their needs before they occurred. Water or iced tea was topped off before they had to ask for it. We hovered without being a bother. It was the most phenomenal service experience ever.
To do this with your cleaning or restoration company, make sure that your team is dressed and groomed professionally. Make sure your vehicles, and equipment is clean. Make sure your printed materials are attractive and wrinkle/smudge free.
Arrive five minutes early and have a step-by-step process that begins with how your technicians drive up to the home. Script out each step and think about how you can impress your customers every step of the way.
Smile and treat everyone you meet with respect and enthusiasm. Do this and word will travel about your service experience.
In my next article, we’ll move to the next system: Administration.
Until then, remember to implement the things you’re learning!
Howard Partridge started his cleaning business from the trunk of his car over 31 years ago and built it up to over $3M per year. For two decades Partridge has been coaching cleaning and restoration companies, teaching them to have phenomenal success. He is the exclusive small business coach for Ziglar Inc., the world’s first Ziglar Legacy Trainer, the founding member of the John Maxwell Coaching Team, a DISC Certified Trainer, a ONE THING Certified Trainer and a four-time Amazon.com No. 1 bestselling author.