4 Easy-to-Make, Easy-to-Fix Mistakes You Might Be Making Right Now
Josh Melick, CEO and Co-founder, Broadly
Anyone who runs a service business knows it’s hard to do it all.
There are only so many hours in the day to take care of everything - from finding new customers to satisfying the ones you have to billing to ordering and picking up supplies to doing the actual work. Now layer on top of that modern consumer expectations - lightning-fast response rates, reasonable cost, and maximum convenience. And window cleaners get the added complexity of a physically challenging, higher-risk job to handle safely - not one time, but every single time.
It’s no wonder that - with so much to do and so little time - local business providers often end up making relatively costly mistakes.
Correct these four easy-to-make/easy-to-fix mistakes - and you could see improvements in your incoming customer flow, customer satisfaction, and the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
Mistake #1: Not being methodical about your leads
This is the easiest mistake you can possibly make - you don’t have a systematic way to store the basic information on your incoming leads. Capturing name, phone, and email is pretty straightforward and most of us do that automatically. But where are you storing it? You’d be surprised how often this information gets lost (and the sale subsequently vanishes) if you’re not methodical about storing it all in the same app or place.
Mistake #2: Communicating according to your comfort level, not the customer’s
We often hear local business providers say “I’m a phone call kinda guy” or “I really don’t do email.” It’s fine to have a preference - but savvy cleaners know that what they like matters a lot less than what their customers want. Spend a little time understanding the way your customers like to communicate. Do they like the immediacy of text - or the detail that’s more easily relayed through email? Are they more likely to respond to a phone call?
Yes, it’s challenging to respond when you’re, say, dangling off the side of a skyscraper, starting on a new office building, or handling multiple suburban households in a week. But as long as you set expectations with customers (“Text is best for you? Great! I always check my texts at lunch when I’m back on the ground.”), you’ll be gold.
Continue Reading Below...
Mistake #3: Not knowing how you’re getting business
You might advertise your window cleaning services using Yelp or Facebook ads. Maybe you’re an old school, referrals kind of business that’s never had to advertise. Perhaps you post flyers around town or shove them on car windshields. You may have a killer website or maybe you focus on being at the top of Google search results for window cleaning services in your area.
Whatever you’re investing in marketing should be working - otherwise, it’s a criminal waste of your hard-earned money. But many local businesses don’t ask every new customer the one crucial question: “How did you hear about us?” And those who do ask often don’t assess the responses over time to see the pattern.
Whether you use pen and paper to keep a running tally or a more sophisticated software or app-based method, start to collect this information from every customer you work with and prospective customer who gets in touch. Ask explicit questions. It’s not enough to know they found you online - everything is online now. So where’d they find you? From a Facebook ad? An online review? What review site? Just from an organic search?
This information points you in the direction of what to do next. For instance, if a big source of new business is recommendations from existing customers, why not incentivize? Give them a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop or a percentage off their next service for each customer they refer your way - then track new customer inquiries to see if it works. When you have solid data, you can afford to experiment with simple promotions and strategies to see if you can make a good thing even better. Bonus? You can stop throwing money away on the stuff that’s not doing anything for you.
Mistake #4: Dismissing your online reviews
When you’re swamped with routine business demands, the last thing you want to do is go on Yelp, Google, and Next Door to respond to customer reviews and feedback. And yet that’s a huge missed opportunity for local window cleaners to stand out. Total silence online from a service provider says one of two things: “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.”
Current and prospective customers expect you to know that online reviews are digital word of mouth - and they expect that you care what they have to say. Responding doesn’t have to be difficult. A quick message of appreciation for positive feedback (“Thank you for this great review! We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you again!”) is all it takes to reinforce goodwill.
Customers are also watching to see how a business handles the tougher reviews - they see it as a pretty good indicator of how you might treat them. So regard any bad reviews as opportunities to make something right. Keep your response pleasant, lightly apologetic, and see if you can reconnect with that person via phone or email. And most importantly: develop a strategy to get more reviews from your customers. With the right approach, they’ll be happy to help - and you’ll be happy with the results that a stronger online review presence helps deliver.
Not everything merits your time - we all have to prioritize. But if you invest just a bit of your day into assessing how well you’re doing on communication, marketing, and reviews, it’s likely you’ll see a substantive uptick in the things that matter most to your business, from getting new customers to more effective marketing.
Josh Melick is the CEO and Co-Founder of Broadly. Broadly gives local businesses simple online tools to have better conversations with customers and win business, with a focus on fostering customer communication, lead tracking and evaluation, and authentic online reviews.