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Do it Right: Providing Great Customer Service

How many times have you called a company, as a customer, and ended the call more frustrated then when you picked up the phone? In today’s highly technical, fast paced environment, there seems to be one key element missing; the human touch. It’s unfortunate that poor customer service has become the norm. There is a silver lining. If you genuinely care about the person behind the customer, it’s easy to set yourself apart. Here is how.

ACCESSIBILITY: The first and most important rule in providing great customer service is simple. Be accessible. Unfortunately this is one that many companies overlook. Pick up the darn phone! It’s amazing how many carpet cleaning companies miss calls during normal business hours. If a prospect can’t get a hold of you they will simply call the next number on their list. A current client could loose faith in your business altogether. Single owner/operators have the hardest time with this. Cell phones and answering machines are common but unreliable. Hiring an employee is a tough expense for small businesses. Not to mention, training, documentation, and trust. Answering services are challenging to implement and only a few companies do it well. The bottom line; be sure the client is greeted by a live happy voice. If you’re using a cell phone, get a reliable provider and keep your phone charged.

ATTENTION: When dealing with a customer, they need to feel like they are the most important person to you at that time. Addressing their concerns, answering their questions, and even just chatting with them can make all the difference in the world. Establish a relationship with your customers. Learn about them. Keep records and notes about the details of your customers. Keep in mind this is not a gimmick. At the end of the day it’s about sincerity.

PERSONALIZATION: This can mean many different things. Personalization of your services, marketing campaigns, and the way you communicate are just a few examples. You are more of a problem solver then you are a carpet cleaner. Customers call you because you provide a solution to their problem. Every problem is different. Your clients want to know you understand that.

EXPECTATION: Managing customer’s expectations will help to avoid any issues that will arise. Cleaning results and pricing are obvious examples. Setting the customer’s expectations, then exceeding those expectations can make your company look like a super hero. Ultimately this is about communication. And smile. They will hear it in your voice even if you’re on the phone. Never underestimate the power of a simple smile.

Effective customer service can be the most powerful marketing tool in your business. Happy customers will be more likely to use you again and refer others. ServiceMonster was built for customer service. ServiceMonster helps you achieve the best accessibility, focus, personalization and expectations your company can provide.

Learn why ServiceMonster is the leading carpet cleaning software for tracking your clients and getting your marketing done. Put ServiceMonster to work for you and never miss another opportunity to stay in touch.

ServiceMonster Mobile

January 30, 2011 Leave a comment

ServiceMonster Mobile has been out for over a year, yet we still have clients that don’t know about this great resource.

Check your schedule, map your job, and manage your clients while on the road. Designed for BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Tablet, ServiceMonster Mobile will run on any web-enabled smart device. To login to ServiceMonster Mobile just point your phone’s browser to;

http://m.servicemonster.net

The Science Behind Your Real Repeat Rate

The Correct Calculation

A fair number of our clients calculate their repeat rate incorrectly. Part of our training process includes an in-depth look at your marketing efforts. One of the items we focus in is your repeat rate. Here is how ServiceMonster does it; Take the number of customers you have serviced in the last two years (C). Then find how many of them used you more than once (R).

(R/C) x 100 = Repeat Rate %

The Incorrect Calculation

Most of our clients will calculate their repeat rate like this; Take the number of customers you serviced this month (c). Then find how many of them used you more than once (r).

(r/c) x 100 = repeat rate %

The main problem here is the length of time sampled. The rate can vary widely depending on how successful or unsuccessful your prospecting efforts are. Additionally, the two year time line represents your true number of active clients. ServiceMonster research shows that getting a client to return after 2 years (specifically when they used carpet cleaning services) is more expensive than obtaining a new client.

Why you care
There are only 3 ways to increase your revenue:

1. Increase your prices
2. Offer more products and services
3. Service more customers

For most companies, Servicing More Customers is the quickest and least risky way to increase your revenue. The most successful cleaners have several things in common. In terms of financial stability, ServiceMonster shows us Customer Retention is the most important aspect of your business. If your repeat rate is under 50% you are losing more customers than you are keeping and need to make up the loss through additional new sales.

Take this example: Let’s say both Company A and Company B start a cleaning company. They both pull in 20 new customers a month and have an average invoice of $250.00. Company A has a repeat rate of 25% and company B has a repeat rate of 60%.

Company A

Company B

New Customers / Month

20

20

Average Invoice

$250.00

$250.00

Repeat Rate

25%

60%

After 36 Months
Customer Base

640

1,200

Annual New Revenue

$60,000

$60,000

Annual Recurring Revenue

$20,000

$90,000

Annual Total Revenue

$80,000

$150,000

In addition to the increase in base revenue, you will also reduce your expenses. Keeping your name in front of your client is far less expensive than trying to get a new customer. Not to mention that your cross sale potential increases radically if your current clients are aware of ALL the products and services you offer.r.

How to increase your repeat business
First, it’s time for a change. Rest assured, you will produce the same results if you make the same mistakes. There are many ways to do a better job of staying in front of your customers. Here are the common numbers we see everyday.

Repeat Rate Based on Direct Mail

0 – 15% No customer retention campaigns
16 – 30% Inconsistent customer retention campaigns such as the occasional seasonal mailer, random newsletters, and random reminders (2 to 3 mailings each year per customer)
31 – 50% Consistent generic mailings such as newsletters and/or some basic reminders. (4-12 mailings each year per customer)
51 – 80% Consistent targeted mailings such as ServiceMonster’s FillMySchedule. (4 mailings each year per customer)
Over 80% Repeat rates of over 80% are usually urban legends or the result of an improper calculation. A few of our customers have repeat rates this high as a result of consistent client campaigns from all channels (email, mail, and phone) and the correct alignment of the planets.

If you fall into the first two ranges above, you seriously need to reevaluate what you doing for your current clients. If you are in the 30% – 50% range, doing just a little better will have significant results. Sending targeted direct mail pieces on an ongoing basis will improve your repeat rate rapidly. A simple card stating “Dear [FirstName], it’s been 9 months since your last cleaning” is all it takes.

The hard part is actually doing it. Gathering the list of clients you serviced between 9 and 10 months ago, performing a mail merge to personalized the messages, and printing on the media are just a few of the problems you need to overcome. Then there’s the stuffing, sealing, stamping, and delivery to the post office.

ServiceMonster can help you with this in two ways. The marketing engine will make list gathering and mail merge simple. Then you can print and mail your reminders with a few clicks. Most of our clients use FillMySchedule and completely automate the process. We can gather the list, print, stuff, stamp, seal, and deliver your cards directly to the post office. Your Thank You cards and Reminder cards will never be late again. Consistent campaigns for consistent results. Our customers are averaging an 8 to 1 return with the campaigns we automate for them.

One simple way ServiceMonster can increase your repeat rate with just a few clicks.

Holiday Marketing: Don’t miss your opportunity to stay in touch

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Keeping your company name in front of your customers is the most important marketing strategy you can apply. And the holiday season is the perfect time to focus on this task. Here are three key reasons to send a holiday card.

Be there when they need you: Everyone gets busy during this time of year. Your customers may need carpet cleaning so keep your name in front of them.

Prepare for the slow season: One holiday card can go a long way. Unlike most direct mail, your card will be there throughout the holiday season and into the next year.

Give to give: The bar measuring quality customer service is so low, that in most cases, just being thoughtful can make a lasting impression.

http://www.principalfocus.comhttp://www.principalfocus.comhttp://www.principalfocus.comhttp://www.principalfocus.com

Now, with the same professional quality as our reminder and thank you cards, you can have ServiceMonster automatically complete your holiday mailings.

Orders must be in no later than November 26th, 2008 to ensure timely delivery.

Introducing The ServiceMonster Show!

September 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Come listen for free to our new podcast. Principal Focus CEO Joseph Kowalski talks about a varity of carpet cleaning business and marketing topics. The first three epsiodes cover why we are offering this valuable information as a free show, as well as some marketing basics that every cleaner should know and a complete break down of our extremely successful 8 Step Marketing System.

You can listen to the ServiceMonster Show while sitting at your desk, or download them to your MP3 player and listen in your car or on the job.

We introduced the show last week to a small group of our customers. Here’s their feedback:

“Excellent idea and hope to have this on a regular basis, you guys are doing a phenomenal job…”
Larry Roy, Action Carpet Cleaning

“Very cool. Short and sweet…”
Mike Pailliotet, Connoisseur

“I think they are great!….”
Mike Graham, Bow River ChemDry

“Good info…” Tom Sherman, Professional Carpet Systems of Northeast Ohio

“I think it is a great way to connect to everyone…”
Jonathan Dick, Zoots

“I enjoyed your podcast. I’m looking forward to the next installment…”
Dax Gurr, Floorwise

“Yes, great…”
Jim Robinson, The Magic Wand

“GREAT JOB!!! I enjoyed listening to the podcasts.”
Alyson Mims, ServiceMaster by Mimsco

Carpet Cleaning Podcast 03: The 7-Step Client Retention System

August 27, 2009 2 comments

ServiceMonster CEO Joe Kowalski talks about the 7 Step system and how you can implement it, for free, on your own.

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