A great example from a small business

I often quote examples of businesses doing things wrong so today I’m going to redress the balance a bit and talk about one business doing a number of things right!

After months of frustrations with my very unprofessional window cleaner I finally gave him his marching orders a couple of weeks ago. I was therefore receptive to the knock on the door asking me if I would be interested in a quote for window cleaning. The quote was very reasonable so I said yes, I was given a slip of paper with some details of the service and told to expect a call from ‘my boss’. A few days later the boss called and said they would be cleaning my windows the day after, he agreed to arrive at a time to suit me.

Make a good first impression

Gabor duly arrived in a smart, liveried van at the agreed time. Both he and his assistant were wearing polo shirts branded with the company name and logo. First impressions were excellent.

Spotless booklet

Anticipating and answering customer questions brings a degree of professionalism uncommon in the window cleaning industry.

Gabor explained the window cleaning system they used highlighting the features and benefits of the service and pointing out that the windows would be left to dry naturally so addressing head on any complaint I might have raised. He then produced an information booklet explaining the system, demonstrating his knowledge of the window cleaning market and health and safety and outlining his terms of business. Finally having agreed terms he asked me to complete and sign an agreement. All very professional.

Gabor and his assistant then cleaned the windows, frames and seals as agreed and I paid for an excellent job. I am confident that they will be back in four weeks as agreed.

So what can we learn?

  • Stand out from the crowd. Rather than leaving fliers through our doors Spotless Windows had a professional sales team knocking on doors and engaging with potential customers. Some people might have objected to the intrusion but enough have signed up for them to make a start.
  • Look professional. Liveried vans and staff ‘uniforms’ give the impression of a professional outfit and suggested that the service would be professional.
  • The information booklet is reassuring. It gives a good explanation of the service highlighting the benefits over traditional window cleaning. It has an FAQs section to deal with queries and potential objections and give contact details to give substance to the offer. It also mentions a couple of additional services that the company offers.
  • Spot an opportunity and seize it. Gabor has identified a new system that will allow window cleaners to adapt to changes in health and safety law and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. This has put him ahead of the game and will make it more difficult for new entrants into the market to get a foothold,
  • Use modern technology. Not only does the cleaning system used adopt the latest technology but the company will also use text messaging to inform customers of their cleaning days and we can use technology to pay our bills.
  • State your terms clearly. The agreement sets out what we can expect and what we are committing to. The terms are reasonable to both parties and should prevent misunderstandings and disagreements.
  • Give a good service. When you give a good service your customers become your advocates and may enable you to reduce your advertising expenditure.

My only criticism: I believe that Gabor is Hungarian which means that there are a few minor grammatical mistakes in his booklet and agreement but they are still better written than many produced by native English speakers. He has shown the rest of us how to do business and I wish him every success with his business. I’m sure he will do very well indeed.

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