by Steve Marsh
How is it that some service companies can command higher-than-average pricing, leaving others in awe? Successful companies that desire to work at higher prices are constantly looking for ways to increase their perceived value for their clients. Offering a spot and spill warranty is a good way to do just that.
These highly successful companies understand that a large portion of carpet cleaning performed each year is for consumers willing to pay more.
These quality-minded consumers don’t just give their money away — they want something in exchange for it. They want more service! Instead of learning these important facts, most carpet cleaners assume that low price is the driving force behind the consumer’s decision-making process. They eliminate extras from their services to keep their prices low. By doing this they have chosen to compete for budget-minded customers.
The 30-day warranty
A 30-day spot and spill warranty covers customers in the event new spots or spills occur after the cleaning job. It goes well beyond the general performance guarantees offered by most companies.
This warranty is designed to protect the customer for an extended 30 days following the date of cleaning. The company promises to return to the house to resolve any spill or spot that occurs during that period. This policy conveys the idea that the company will go out of its way to ensure the carpet stays clean. It highlights that the company cares about the details.
This warranty can be useful at times when customers find a pre-existing spot has returned a few days after cleaning. Remember, it’s a good thing to have customers inform you of such a situation so you can resolve it to their satisfaction. They know the company guarantees their work but may feel uncomfortable calling to inform them because they want to avoid any kind of confrontation over whether or not the spot is new. Having an extended spot warranty removes much of the fear of such a confrontation.
Proclaim the spot and spill warranty
Placing an emphasis on standard company-satisfaction guarantees can be awkward because they can give clients the impression that something could go wrong with your job. They also imply the customer would have to complain in order to resolve an issue. In contrast, an extended warranty is a strong consumer benefit to add.
Here is a good example for wording the benefits of this policy: “Not only do we stand behind all our work with a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee, we also provide an extended, 30-day spot and spill warranty to protect you from any new spills or spots that may occur after our cleaning.”
This warranty should be highlighted during the initial sales call, featured on your website, listed in printed marketing materials, mentioned when concluding each job and brought up again at the close of a quality-check call.
I imagine that a lot of owners are thinking that if they were to offer such a warranty, they would be spending days each month just going out to treat spots for their customers.
Based on my personal experience and that of many other companies offering this warranty, this is a needless concern. Very few consumers actually respond to the warranty.
The other point of interest I have found is that many of those consumers who do respond will allow you to walk them through a spot cleaning procedure over the telephone. This guidance can often solve the problem quickly and benefits both parties by eliminating the need to schedule an appointment.
If you are convinced that you would be wasting time going out to remove a spill for a customer under this warranty, take time to consider the good publicity that would result from such a visit.
First, the client will feel a bit guilty for making you come out to their home again, which creates a sense that they should reward you with additional paid work. Second, they will tell a bunch of their friends about the great carpet cleaning company they have found. And third, they will become amazingly loyal to your company.
There is little risk in initiating this policy. Since the warranty is only for 30 days, you can stop offering it if you find too many customers are taking advantage of it.
Great return on investment
The 30-day spot and spill warranty can create a much greater perceived value for your company in the minds of your customers, simply by stating that you provide it. It helps you stand out from your competitors by demonstrating that you provide outstanding service along with great cleaning results.
Even if you should need to return to a house to resolve a problem, the rewards you could receive in doing so will greatly outweigh the invested time and energy. Increased customer loyalty, stimulating the customer to find additional work for you and great word-of-mouth referral praise are likely to come your way.
Increase service value
If you want to improve the quality of the customers you serve and increase the fees you can charge, you must constantly be on the watch for ways to improve your image as a provider of top-quality service along with professional workmanship.
Adding an extended 30-day spot and spill warranty is a great low-cost addition that can produce wonderful returns.
Steve Marsh is a 40-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an instructor and a Senior Carpet Inspector. He helps home-service companies quickly establish profitable clienteles and then progress to serving higher-quality customers. To help companies achieve these goals, he created the step-by-step programs Single Truck Success and Be Competition Free. For more information, visit www.professional-carpet-cleaning-service.com.