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Building Your Dream Machine Part 2 April 2014 Newsletter

Building Your Dream Machine (Part 2)
By Leslie Morrow, B.A. SPHR, MTC, Goldmarc Consulting, LLC

Building Your Dream Machine Part 2 By Leslie MorrowIn the last newsletter I gave you two powerful tips to help build your “Dream Machine.” If you haven’t had an opportunity to read Part 1, you may want to review that issue before moving forward.

The first tip to build your dream machine related to organization, highlighting actions you can take to make sure your business is well organized. In our second tip, we discussed why you should focus your attention on effective management of employees as you grow and expand your business. Single and multi-truck operators can benefit from understanding the dynamics of employee relations as your business expands.

We will now focus on the last three tips you might consider when navigating the challenge of building your “Dream Machine”:

Reason #3: Poor Customer Relations
Let’s face it; the cleaning industry is a competitive market. If you want your “Dream Machine” to set you apart from the other carpet cleaners in the market, you must have excellent customer relations.

You really only have one chance to make a favorable first impression with a customer. Every first encounter is a gift. It’s an opportunity to make a lifelong business relationship. Avoid mismanaging your customer relationships by taking appropriate steps:

Action #3

  1. Establish a Rapport. Hiring friendly technicians who can establish a rapport with customers is paramount. When a technician knocks on the customer’s door and the door opens, this is a moment that can never be replicated. The future of that relationship begins at the doorway.
  2. Professional Appearance & Etiquette. Do you and your technicians portray a professional and friendly image? Do your customers feel at ease? First impressions matter and their appearance can play an important role as they begin the process of establishing a rapport. A well groomed and uniformed technician sets the proper tone and establishes a credible image. The connection that is established at the doorway must continue until the hoses are rolled up and the door closes quietly with a happy customer behind it.

Reason #4: Poor Execution of Cleaning Methodology
Your Dream Machine should be a lean, mean cleaning machine. This means, you and your technicians use the appropriate cleaning products for the job and achieve excellent results. It also means you have the proper tools and equipment to work effectively.

If your objective is to have a strong customer base with customers who are loyal to your business, then you must have a plan that will ensure proper cleaning execution. Customers will refer their neighbors, friends and family to you if they have a quality experience.

Action #4
There are many ways to ensure that your customers are happy with your cleaning services. Here are just a few:

  1. Make certain that you or your customer service associate is properly trained and understands the nature of the job before booking appointments. We always recommend that your customer service associate, or the person you designate to answer customer telephone calls, completes an IICRC course. The best entry level course for an introduction into the industry is the Carpet Cleaning Technician (CCT) Course.

    At the very least, the CCT course will provide your CSA with proper nomenclature and a better understanding of our industry. The more information your CSA has about cleaning methodology and terminology, the better they will be able to set proper customer expectations about the jobs they schedule. Consequently, your customers will be less likely to have unrealistic expectations about what can and cannot be accomplished on the job.
  2. Everyone in the industry can appreciate the value of having well equipped technicians. We highly recommend that owner operators encourage their technicians to further their education and become IICRC Certified. More importantly, owners of IICRC Certified Firms might consider the rewards of having one or more technicians on staff that have earned a Master Textile Cleaner (MTC) designation. This mark of distinction is highly regarded in our industry and will ensure that your technicians are properly trained in the areas of chemistry that is specific to our industry, proper fiber identification and safety including the use of personal protection equipment.

    The ideal Dream Machine is manned by technicians who have been properly trained in the field. Hands-on training is essential to learning good habits and will reinforce the knowledge learned during an approved IICRC Course.
  3. Inspiration is the bond that holds your team together. Every successful Certified Firm can benefit from “Morning Meetings.” Meeting with your crew everyday can be a motivating experience that bonds employees to each other and to the company. Issues that have occurred on the job can be addressed during Morning Meetings in a positive and dynamic way. Morning Meetings can provide a “safe haven” where technicians can ask questions about techniques or how to handle a customer complaint or any other challenges they might confront. This is a forum that can be used to identify ineffective products or faulty equipment in need of repair. It is also a time for the owner of a Certified Firm to rally employees, give them reassurance and provide recognition for a job well done.

Reason #5: Losing Sight of Your Vision
No matter how hard we try, it can be easy to lose sight of our goals, dreams and hopes for the future. When we lose our vision, we lose the hope of ever establishing a Dream Machine that will give us what we really want in life.

Your dream may be to retire early or to take vacations with your family. Maybe you have a desire to pay the medical bills to help a loved one who is ill. One of our clients had a son who had gotten into trouble with the law. He started his carpet cleaning business so that his son would have a viable means of earning an income when he returned home.

Action #5
Whatever your dream may be, never lose sight of your vision. Remember the reason you picked up that wand in the first place. It still has the potential to be everything you hoped it would be. All you need is good organization, effective employee management, excellence in customer service, effective cleaning strategies and to focus your attention on your goals. If you can find time each day to anchor yourself in your vision and take the necessary actions to get there, it’s only a matter of time before your Dream Machine will become a reality.

Leslie is an approved IICRC instructor in the areas of Carpet Cleaning Technician, Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician and Color Repair Technician. She is a Senior Professional in Human Resources and the co-owner of Goldmarc Consulting LLC d.b.a. Relationship Building Academy ( Leslie Morrow consults cleaning businesses on employee relations, regulatory compliance and business operations.

*For more helpful tips and resources to market your business, visit the Certified Firm only section of the IICRC website. If you don’t have your login information, enter your Certified Firm number as your username and the last four digits of your primary business phone number on record with the IICRC as your password. Please email if you need more information.

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