Put Yourself In The Customers Shoes

Put Yourself In The Customers Shoes

Determining how unsatisfactory service affects the prospect.Has Your Prospective Customer Been The Victim Of Poor Carpet Cleaning?

It is likely that your prospective customer has been the victim of a bad service experience from a carpet cleaner in the past. Undoubtedly, they or someone they know has been subjected to poor carpet cleaning at some point in time. In this article, we will discuss turning that negative experience into an advantage for you.

Empathize
Put yourself in your prospective customer’s position. In most cases the residential customer is a woman and most likely the carpet cleaner is a man. Therefore, she may feel a little bit intimidated to begin with. Additionally she has been less than thrilled with the performance of a previous cleaner. Now her carpet is dirty. She is forced back to the task of choosing another carpet cleaner. Moreover, she is probably thinking something like; I wonder if the new cleaner is going to be as lousy as the last guy was.

Diagnose Their Pain
Poor service has cost this customer a loss in money, time, and peace of mind. Show in your marketing material that the customer will not experience this type of anguish when they hire your services. Your marketing should identify the pain, isolate the cause, and then remove it.

You might use a headline like this: Why Settle For Poor Service? Then go on to list the attributes that make your service different. This might include items such as:

#1) An on-time guarantee. #2) A total satisfaction guarantee. #3) A non-recurring stain guarantee.

Did you notice the recurring theme: “guarantee”. It is very important that we take away the customer’s perceived element of risk with a rock solid guarantee.

Prescribing A Pain Reliever It is also very important that you interview your new customer. Ask questions like these:

#1) When was the last time that your carpet was cleaned? #2) Were you satisfied with the service? #3) Why not?

Determine what method was used and then ask questions like this:

#1) Did they run a hose from the truck into the house? #2) Did they use a self-contained unit? #3) How long did it take for the carpet to dry? #4) Did the carpet remain clean or did it quickly resoil?

Asking questions like these will help you to gain a better understanding of what your
prospective customer has experienced in the past. Now you can turn these objections
into an advantage. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin to dispel the prospective
client’s anxiety about trying your service. Show her how your company successfully
addresses each one of these areas of concern.

A word of caution here: avoid the temptation to take a shot at your competition. Do not
say, “Oh yeah, Stevie Steam is the worst cleaner in town. Those guys wreck carpet!”
Instead, simply say, “I am very sorry that Stevie Steam was a disappointment for you.
As a professional carpet cleaner, I am very concerned with the image that our industry
portrays. I hate to hear a story like that. I will surely do my very best to replace that
bad experience with an excellent one. In fact, that is why we offer a risk-free
guarantee.”

Now The Selling Begins!
It is up to you to determine how unsatisfactory service will impact upon the customer’s
time, money, and peace of mind. It is also up to you to deliver a service that will not
lead to further disappointment. When we dispel a new customer’s anxieties and then
provide them with a positive service experience, we go a long way toward building a
satisfied customer for life.

Rick Gelinas

November 29, 2005 / by / in
A Breath Of Fresh Air, Please! or… My Respirator

I’m a “clean air” guy. I have always had this thing for uncontaminated air, which is one of my phobias about living here in Southern California. Being a retired military person, I feel that proper personal safety equipment should always be mandatory.

I started a janitorial business in 1994. This quickly developed into a carpet and floor care service, a year later. I still have janitorial accounts, but now, I subcontract most of that work out to another company.

My wife and I noticed early on (when she used to work with me) that we were working in a very dusty and dirty environment. The vacuum cleaners we used would generate airborne dust particles and we were breathing those particles in on a daily basis. The “Dry Compound Cleaning System” we used (which included the use of a pile lifter) was also accelerating this problem. Therefore, we started using “dust respirators” along with the gloves and earplugs (adding them to our list of personal protective equipment).

In the world of carpet cleaning, we are frequently exposed to a lot of contaminates. Some of the nasty homes I go into make me wish I had never even taken the job. I know that I must be kicking up dust and junk into the air, 6 days a week (6 to 12 hours a day), from homes to commercial buildings.

I spent a large amount of money on the best, most expensive vacuum cleaners I could find, in order to keep airborne contaminates low, but they all seemed to be “dust generators”. Unfortunately, even after taking all these “preventative practices”, my wife developed a respiratory virus in one of her lungs that the Doctors said cannot be cured. It is a hard thing for her to live with and her breathing difficulties can strike at anytime, on a daily basis. We tried to find out exactly what caused this virus, but the Doctors could not pinpoint it. Fortunately, it is a non-contagious virus.

We decided to take a Doctor with us on the job in order to get his opinions. He showed me that, besides the exposure to airborne contaminates caused by our vacuuming and pile lifting, we were exposing ourselves to “atomized chemicals”. This was caused by the atomized water from my wand (using HWE) and by pre-spraying. I had always thought this was a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but this Doctor showed me otherwise. The entire experience soon had me analyzing and changing some of my cleaning procedures (such as, changing my pre-spray jet spray pattern and only using freshwater in my extractor’s supply tank.

When I clean a residential carpet, I always pile lift and vacuum the pile. Another employee will be detailing the baseboard areas and corners with another vacuum cleaner. Once the carpet is pre-sprayed, we start cleaning. Following the cleaning, an air mover is turned on. We went back to using this extra drying step, to insure that the carpet would be dry (or nearly dry) when we left.

In the process of cleaning, I know that I am generating large amounts of dust, and getting cat hair, dog hair, dander, someone else’s dust mites, and who knows what else, all over me! Some of this material is so bad; it makes your eyes get itchy. What we breath greatly effects our immune system. When we subject ourselves to contaminates, our immune systems have to work harder. It is “clean air” that affords our immune systems the time it needs to rest and rejuvenate.

Biological Contaminates are (or were) living organisms and are sure to be found in the home. These contaminates can travel through the air and are often invisible. Common indoor biological contaminates include:

– bacteria – molds
– mildew
– viruses
– animal dander – cat saliva
– house dust mites – cockroaches
– pollen

There are many sources of these pollutants: – bacteria (carried by people) – animals
– soil
– plant debris

Viruses are transmitted by people and animals. Pollens originate from plants.

The protein in rodent urine is a potent allergen. When it dries, it can become airborne.

I have an add-on service installing “electrostatic filter material” on the insides of client’s ventilation intake and discharge vents. This electrostatic filter causes any airborne contaminant that would normally enter the air duct system to become trapped. These filters have the same effect for particles that would otherwise depart the air duct system.

This add-on service gets me back into customer’s homes, a little earlier to clean the carpet again. I change these filters out with every subsequent carpet cleaning.

This service is an alternative to air duct cleaning and I believe (in most cases) it provides better IAQ (indoor air quality). For those clients who do not have central air conditioning, I sell “air purifiers” with a 5-year filter system to those who want them. I do not go out of my way to offer this service, but when I am asked about the respirator that I wear around my neck, this usually leads into a discussion about IAQ and how to improve it.

Gary MacKay

November 29, 2005 / by / in
How To Get All The Commercial Work You Can Handle!!

Commercial work is not hard at all to get if you follow a few simple steps. In this installment of BizzBuzz, I will show you how I acquire new commercial accounts. If you will spend some time following the steps I have outlined here, you will be very surprised at what you can accomplish.

1) Contact the business you that would like to clean by telephone, first.

2) Tell the “gatekeeper” that you have some information that you would like to mail to the person responsible for maintaining the building. Now you have the “decision maker’s” name.

3) Mail the decision maker a nice sales letter. Go strong on the benefits in all of your sales letters. And be sure to use captivating headlines. Include a “call to action”.

4) Call the decision maker. You should now be able to get past the gatekeeper because you know the decision maker’s name and you can also tell the gatekeeper that you’ve mailed them some information and you need to follow up.

5) Once you get the decision maker on the telephone, make reference to the letter that you mailed them. Next, tell them that you would like to stop by to make a brief 10 – 15 minute presentation. Also, tell them that you would like to clean a section of their dirtiest carpet for free so they can see how great their carpets can look. Doing the demonstration is vital if you really want to make sales.

6) When you arrive have a professional looking presentation in a binder prepared to show them. Business people expect to see professionalism. Many of your competitors are not professional. So, if you can pull off a good presentation you will really shine.

7) After you make your presentation and do your demo, measure the building and write up a proposal.

8) Follow up with phone calls as well as follow-up letters and e-mails. Don’t stop bugging them until they say YES. It may take several contacts before they are ready to buy.

9) When they are ready to use your service, present them with a professional looking contract. You can use an inexpensive legal software program like “Quicken Business Lawyer” to generate a contract that you can modify to fit your business.

If you follow these 9 simple steps you can easily acquire tons of commercial work. Go get ’em! There’s gold in them there buildings!

Rick Gelinas

Copyright 2003 Rick Gelinas. All rights reserved. Used here by permission of Rick Gelinas.

November 29, 2005 / by / in
The “Mother” Of The Carpet Industry!

Fine brick homes fronted by plush landscaped lawns dot the hills of Dalton, GA (also known as the carpet “capitol” of the world). The residents of this hard working community found success in “tufted” floor coverings. Tufted floor coverings (AKA carpeting) grew in popularity in the 1950’s and ’60’s.

But did you know that this mega-industry started with the production of “chenille” bedspreads? Chenille? Whether you love or hate chenille is a matter of personal taste. It is true, however, that chenille is warm, sturdy, and feels good against to skin.

Here is how it all started…

In the late 1800’s a Dalton teenager named Catherine Evans Whitener, while visiting a cousin’s home, noticed a coverlet with a weave foreign to her. Already an accomplished seamstress, she decided to reproduce the fancy embroidery, which had probably originated in Europe.

Returning home, she bought some unbleached muslin and drew a pattern on it. Then she found some thread and a large “bodkin needle”. After threading the needle, she began pulling it through, clipping each stitch with scissors. This left little “tufts” of thread. Her creation took so long to finish that the material soiled. Though worried that laundering it would ruin it, she washed it and hung it to dry in the sun. To her delight, the tufts turned to “snowy fluffs”.

By the early 1900’s, word of Catherine’s beautiful coverlets traveled to the surrounding areas resulting in many product orders for her work. Eventually, the orders piled so high that she could not handle them all, requiring her to call on the assistance of friends. Those were tough times to live in as the south was still experiencing the ravages of the Civil War. Catherine’s friends eagerly accepted her employment.

The orders kept pouring in, so Catherine recruited a relative to drive through the North Georgia countryside, delivering materials and teaching the craft to women and children. Trucks bulging with stamped sheets and other supplies for tufting chugged up the mountains to farm homes in North Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. At times, 9000 men, women, and children sat on cabin porches or around fireplaces after supper “tufting”.

The city of Dalton was lucky, in that, the Great Depression of 1929 never really had much impact on it. Rather than go to waste, empty stores served as factories for making coverlets, small bath mats, robes, and housecoats, etc. In the 1930’s, in nearby Tunnel Hill, Rhetha Quinton opened a 9,000 square foot chenille plant (which her daughter, Sue Gordon, operated until the late 1990’s). According to Sue, mechanization enhanced the trade by supplying machinery to cut pile, run yardage, sew with more than one needle, and even produce such novelties as “fabric flowers”.

During World War 2, Dalton’s mills made mostly chenille bedspreads and bath mats. The
business thrived in Dalton until after the war, when residents turned to carpet manufacturing. The mills that originally made chenille gave way to computerized technology.

The colorful, peacock-decorated fabrics one would see draped over clotheslines, flapping
in the breeze, has been replaced by signs along U.S. Highway 41, from Chattanooga Tennessee to Marietta Georgia, advertising Dalton carpets. To those with a fondness for history, this route will always be referred to by its original nickname, “bedspread alley”.

Carpet Facts:
* 90% of today’s carpet is tufted (a process that grew out of the chenille bedspread
industry).
* Dalton produces 44% of the world’s carpet (74% of the U.S. total).
* 80% of the yarn used used in the nation’s carpet industry is produced and processed
in Georgia.
* 80% of the U.S. carpet market is supplied by mills located within a 65-mile radius of
Dalton, Georgia.

Mark Stanley
Copyright 2003 Mark Stanley. All rights reserved

November 29, 2005 / by / in
The Dalton Event

Mark has asked me to write about the Dalton event, so I will endeavor to do that in the context of what was accomplished and what will take place in the near future.

The Low Moisture Carpet Cleaner’s Association or as we know it, the LMCCA, organized the Dalton GA Event. This event was a huge success (the attendees cleaned carpets at two hotels and completely “resurrected” one carpet that had been cleaned twice by other companies to dismal review). This carpet was pristine two days later, when I left Dalton. The hotel management was astounded and could not believe the difference!

Numerous cleaning agents and equipment were present and all the attendees had a great time as Rick Gelinas showed us how LST (No! Not LSD!) and a Cimex scrubbing machine could clean even faster than a Chemstractor! All the “old favorites” were there: Chemstractors, two different OP machines. We had Abstraction VLM, LST, VS Greased Lightning, Carpet 123, Procyon, Argosheen and much, much more. It was a great venue to learn to run VLM equipment and to convert another hotel staff into VLM lovers!

LMCCA Pioneer Awards were given out to Mark Stanley of The VLM Central E-zine and John Geurkink of Carpet Care Systems. The Pioneer Award is given out whenever it is felt that a company or person has done ground-breaking work in the realm of low moisture cleaning.

The LMCCA President’s Award was given out to Rick Gelinas (the developer of the LMCCA’s distinct “water droplet” logo). The President’s Award is an annual award that goes to a person or company that shows excellence in advancing the cause of low moisture cleaning.

The attendees took a tour of Collins and Aikmans Carpet Mills with John Garger (C&A’s Product Care Manager) and several attendees participated in private testing which was a joint effort between C&A and the LMCCA attendees. The results are not final, but we did have some very good outcomes.

The LMCCA wishes to thanks John and the kind folks at C&A for their hospitality and the LMCCA members for bringing equipment and chemicals to participate in the test.

The Dalton Event was also a learning experience for the LMCCA. Out of this experience, we have seen the need to develop a testing protocol that is “easily repeatable”. Our goal is to develop a “user friendly” testing protocol so that anyone (you!) can perform their own tests. We have also seen the need for a “LMCCA Approved” list, which will include chemicals and equipment that we have tested and that have received LMCCA “approval”.

 

You might ask, “How does the LMCCA plan on executing the testing?” Glad you asked.

 

Dave Roderick (LMCCA Vice President) was appointed to the Office of “Chairman of
Testing” and is hard at work, along with others, on developing a committee of folks who
will test products. Dave is in charge of authoring the protocol as well as the
“confidentiality agreement” that will protect the LMCCA and the manufactures involved.

 

We are already working on next year’s event. It will be a trade show with hands-on
training classes for all methods. Our goal is to roll out the (SLMCT) School of Low
Moisture Cleaning Technology Certifications. The Certifications will be awarded in 6
areas.

These areas are:
#1) Dry Foam Shampoo
#2) Rotary Shampoo Extraction
#3) Absorbent Pad/Bonnet
#4) Absorbent Compound/Powder
#5) Hot Water Extraction

Once a person has passed all the hands-on classes and have one year under their belt
from passing the first class, they qualify as a “Method Master”. The distinction of Method
Master will be the LMCCA’s highest hands-on cleaning designation.

The LMCCA does not plan to teach classes as the IICRC does, but to concentrate on
teaching the practical “hands-on training” and “how to’s” of methods and equipment.

As the LMCCA grows and evolves, people like you are needed to step forward and become involved. The LMCCA is still in it’s infancy and currently has over 100 members!
The LMCCA website now has the Industry Partner section up, as well as a Find a
Cleaner Search. We are constantly updating and adding new information to several
areas on our site (www.lmcca.org). Check out the Learning Center for great “how to’s”
by Pros like Gary Heacock and others.

The Dalton Event was just the tip of the iceberg! The possibilities for the LMCCA are
endless.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank you for your support and we look forward to changing the face of our industry with and for you.

Lonnie McDonald
LMCCA Director
President/CEO of LeatherPro
Integrity Carpet Cleaning Inc.

 

November 29, 2005 / by / in