By Jeff Cross, Media Director
We work in a great industry, full of great people. Business owners, managers, technicians… all of us make up an industry that serves its customers and keeps things clean or restores what has been damaged.
Some of you are sole proprietors, one-truck operations, and are happy with your business model. Others of you are multi-truck companies with several employees, and are always looking to expand.
All of you want to attract more customers. And all of you want to keep the faithful customers you already have. If I am wrong, feel free to call me out on this.
I had an experience as a customer recently to show just how fickle faithfulness really is. Let me share. Maybe you can relate.
I have been a long-time fan of a particular brand of ice cream: Breyers. Specifically, their Waffle Cone flavor. But one day, when at the store to stock up, they were out! No Waffle Cone? I had a decision to make. Either go without ice cream for a few days (unthinkable) or try a different brand (necessary). So, my wife suggested Tillamook Mudslide. After all, it was ice cream, had chocolate in it, so why not?
And I’m glad that Breyers failed me, because I like Tillamook so much more. How did this happen? Breyers couldn’t deliver, so I jumped ship. I bailed. I was unfaithful. Yet, I didn’t mean for it to happen, and neither did Breyers. I suspect they will carry on and not be forced to file Chapter anything even without me as a customer. I am but one tiny fish in a big pond when it comes to ice cream addicts.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “Ice cream is one thing; it is just a commodity, but the service I offer is different.” In some ways, yes. But, there are other companies out there that just might be better than you think, and serve as an enticement for your customers if the time or circumstance is right.
I think by now you can see the slant of my column. If you give your competition even the slightest opportunity at poaching your customers, poach they will. If you give your customers the slightest excuse to try out your competition, try out they will. And I can see you shaking your head. “My customers won’t leave me,” you are thinking. Think again. Customers are more than names on a list. They are real people. Some may stay, others may not. Don’t gamble. Be smart.
Your company’s customer list should be a no-poaching zone. Keep great customer service your focus. Don’t make excuses when you aren’t perfect. Thank your customers for the opportunity to serve them, and be sincere when you do.
Jeff Cross is the media director of ISSA Media, which includes Cleanfax magazine. He is the previous owner of a successful cleaning and restoration firm. He also works as a trainer and consultant for business owners, managers, and front-line technicians. He can be reached at [email protected].