Thursday, May 31, 2007

Customer Service By The Book

We've got procedures. We've got rules. And we have policies related to our customer service strategy. It's all in our operating manual.

But we don't have a set answer for every customer service situation. Because every situation is different. Each of our managers knows that she has full authority to do whatever she thinks is necessary to make a customer happy.

Sometimes that means providing a discount for mistakes made in a previous cleaning visit. Sometimes that means providing a full refund. Sometimes that means going the extra mile to thank a customer for a referral. Every situation is different. And every response is different too.

The only rule of thumb that we have is that our response should always exceed the expectations of the customer. If the customer thinks she should receive 50% off her next cleaning, then she'll probably get 75% off her next visit.

You hired us to clean your house. That's really all you thought you needed. But the root of every satisfied cleaning visit starts with customer service. And there's no reason to think that every root should create the same kind of tree.

If you use us long enough, you'll see it firsthand. Because we're going to mess up. And we mess up, expect to be satisfied. Yes, you'll be satisfied if you let us satisfy you. No, we have no idea how we'll satisfy you.

We'll just wait until it happens. It's worked for us this long. No reason to change now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vacuuming More Than Just Dust

Take a look at this article about how a maid vacuumed the the life savings of one woman. Fortunately, the money was recovered from the local garbage facility.

Trivia question...

What if your maid lost thousands of your dollars while cleaning your house? What would be your first course of action? What would happen if the money was unrecoverable? What types of preventive action can you do to make sure something like this doesn't happen to you?

Because if it can happen, it will happen.

Hint #1
Hint #2
Hint #3

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meet April

April has worked in our Fort Walton Beach location for more than one year. She's been a tremendous asset to our company since her arrival. For the past year, April has trained every single new employee that we have hired. Turnover in Fort Walton this past year was at an all-time low. And April is one of the primary reasons for our low turnover.

April's job isn't to just educate a new employee on the art of dusting. April also has to be our greatest ambassador. She's got to sing our praises all the time because every new employee needs to be reassured that our business is a good place to work. April has also served as our primary replacement for Elicia.

The best news of all is that April is expecting a new baby soon. Now her son will get to have a little brother to aggravate every day. Congratulations April!!!

April, you deserve nothing but good things. Thanks for your hard work and dedication.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gettin' The Same People Is Important

We hear you loud and clear. We know what you want. But the truth is we want it a lot more than you do. Trust me. We want to send the same people to your house each and every time. Need proof that we really want to send the same people? Check out this customer service saga from beginning to end.

Oct. 10, 2006 - Both Dorothy & Charlotte deserve 10. Both are great thanks for great service.
Oct. 24, 2006 - I would rate Jennifer & Kaylin 10. This was their 1st visit wish I could have same each time. Service very good.
Nov. 6, 2006 - Girls were great -Dana & Regina-Thank you for your good work.
Nov. 20, 2006 - Give both Jessica and Christi 10's. They were great. Hope I get them again. Thanks for the good service.
Dec. 3, 2006 - I am very sick. Can you schedule the maids to come any time after noon tomorrow-or any other day this week?
Dec. 5, 2006 - Thank you for changing my appt. in such short notice. Give the girls a 10.
Dec. 19, 2006 - Johnnie and Tracy both deserve a 10+. Great work and service.

Feb 13, 2007 - Please listen to me!!!! We need the same two ladies each week. This week's girls were the best yet. They should both have a grade of 10+. Look forward to still using your service.
Feb. 26, 2007 - Lisa and Leann did a marvelous job. Both 10's.
March 26, 2007 - 10+ for both Kathy and Patty. Please, may I continue to have them!!!!!
April 9, 2007 - Patty and Monica - both 10.
April 24, 2007 - Great service 10 for all three. They all 3 worked hard.
May 7, 2007 - Dorothy and Cory were just so great-10.

This is to advise you that as of today, your services will no longer be required--the reason for this is.....

1. 2 months ago or so, we asked for you to send us the same people for each cleaning. You said that would be impossible, but we know that some of your customers get the same people every time.
2. Every time you send different people it is like starting over from scratch as to what to do or not to do. It also exposes our home as to location.

We are sorry that it has come to this decision, but we feel must be made.

We hate losing customers. But the fact is that we'll never make everybody happy (who knew?). We have many advantages. But our biggest disadvantage is that we can't send the same people every time. It's not practical. People get sick. People go on vacation. People leave town. And the toughest truth to grasp is that people don't make a career out of cleaning toilets.

But it's also important to remember that when you get sick, we're able to reschedule the visit at your earliest convenience. When you need to complain, we get to perform the discipline. And when you work all day long, you know that you'll be coming home to a clean house because we guarantee our arrivals.

We're not going to get pregnant and leave town. We're not going to get married and quit working. And we're not going to get a higher paying gig and stop cleaning your house. We're going to show up. Each and every time.

You can bank on that.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fighting Crime Using Pay For Performance

"Police Chief Terry Lewis said he has yet to see a pay-for-performance system that works best for law enforcement."

That's what was said in this article in a Florida newspaper recently.

His argument, "If police officers were paid for performance, which one would get a raise -- the one who patrolled the streets and wrote 30 speeding tickets, the one who caught a car burglar, the one who handed out anti-drug certificates to students, or the one who helped an elderly woman check her home after she heard a suspicious noise?"

The answer is staring at you in the face. Pick a job - any job. Find out what benefit that job provides and then reward that employee when the benefit is reached.

For a cop, the benefit is reduced crime and increased safety. One cop doesn't make a police department. So make the whole department accountable. From the guy sitting at his desk to the guy working the streets.

If a cleaning service can make something as subjective as your opinion work, I'm pretty sure that a police department can make it work too.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Free TwoMaids E-book Now Available

The Insider's Guide to Professional Housecleaning is now available for you to read for free. The book contains tons of frugal cleaning tips that you can implement in your home right now. The tips will save you money and time.

Here's your chance to find out how the pro's get it done. Happy reading!

P.S. Feel free to send the book to anyone. It's yours to use as you wish.

The Insider's Guide to Professional Housecleaning

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On Firing TwoMaids

We posted an article describing the reasons people fire their maid a few weeks ago. The reasons still hold true. But we get fired for three other reasons.

1. You found someone cheaper.
Most of our customers come to us from other maid services. They come to us because they're sick and tired of the amateur hour. They want someone professional. They want to pay us and be done with it. But something happens along the way. They get used to us. They forget that their other maid canceled all the time. They forget that their other maid showed up late time after time. And they forget that their other maid kept making the same mistakes over and over again.

All you know is that you've been pretty happy for the last 11 or 12 months. If we can do it, so can someone else. You figure that you must have had bad luck with your other maid. So you pick up that flier on the mailbox and you call to schedule service. After all, you're saving $15 per visit. And then we get fired.

2. You're sick and tired of us making mistakes.
But wait a minute. We just said that customers hire us because they're sick and tired of their maid making the same mistakes over and over again. That's still true. That is one of the biggest reasons customers hire us.

But we get fired for this same reason. The reason is because we never hear about the mistakes. Our business is centered around the pay for performance plan. Customer feedback is the backbone of our success. Without it, we're just like any other maid service. And that's what we become when you don't talk to us. We become just another maid service.

So you decide that you're sick of the mistakes. And we're stunned. Because we've tried to talk to you for weeks. But we didn't hear anything. So we assumed that you were happy. Of course, your response is that you didn't want to get anybody in trouble. And the last thing that you wanted to do is cause someone to earn less money.

Feedback is important. Without it, we're just anybody else. So you might as well go ahead and fire us if you don't plan on talking to us about your satisfaction level.

3. You think that we should be cleaning your house better
You're talking to us on a regular basis. And we're documenting every single mistake. But the work that we're performing isn't up to your expectations. In your mind, all these little mistakes are ridiculous. A professional cleaning company shouldn't be making mistakes. After all, professional means better than the average person.

But the reality is that we are not better than you. For the most part, you're going to clean your house better than us. It's a fact. Our employees are paid to clean your house. And they want to make you happy. But you live in your house. Every day, every minute. You're invested in that house. And you care about it a whole lot more than we do. That's human nature.

Accountants know more about taxes than the average person. Attorneys know more about law than the average person. But a professional housecleaner does not clean your home any better than you can clean your home. But that's what you're wanting from your maid. So you decide to keep looking. And then you fire us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When Your Price Is Your Headline

Your competitive advantage is your price when it's mentioned in your headline. Of course, your price is probably good. It better be good if you're leading off with it.

The $80 House Cleaning

The $15 Per Hour Maid

The Free House Cleaning (sort of)

Our slogan is "The Most Customer Friendly Housecleaning Company In The World". Our advertisements always mention our customer service. Everything we print mentions our customer service. Because customer service is our strength.

Why do you think gas stations have really big signs? Because the only reason you're going to pull in there is because of the station's gas prices.

What's in your headline? Whatever it is.....that's what you're good at. At least that's what your customers are thinking.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thank You

We have some of the best customers in the world. It makes me feel good to know that our service impresses someone so much that they say this.......

"The ladies that service my home were very excellent and a job well done. It was nice to come after a hard day's work feeling tired and exhausted in knowing that my place was clean, clean, clean. I was very happy and satisfied and was glad that I did not have to do a thing when I got home. I just wish that everyone would take advantage of this wonderful service that you have in the emerald coast because it is well worth it. On the scale of 1-10, these ladies are a 10 in my book."

Thank you for thanking us.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Four Steps To Customer Satisfaction

Satisfying a customer doesn't start when we start cleaning your home. It doesn't end when we're finished cleaning your home either. Here's how it works...

Educating The Customer
Our front door can either be our telephone or computer. Those are the two places that you'll first be introduced to Two Maids & A Mop. It's our job to educate you about the housecleaning industry as a whole. It's our job to educate you about the reasons we're better than any other cleaning service that you'll call. And it's also our job to provide you with an outline of our service package.

Communicating With The Customer
Ok, you've spoken to us about our service. You know the price. You know about our pay for performance program. You know what to expect when we knock on your door in a few days. But the communication process doesn't stop with your first contact. The next step is to contact you one day before your initial cleaning visit. The goal of this step is to confirm everything that we discussed during our first contact. We want to make sure that you know what we'll be doing and we also want to make sure that we know what you expect us to accomplish.

Cleaning The House
This stage speaks for itself. But there are a few things that we need to do besides just clean house. Our goal is to provide a mistake free housecleaning. However, mistakes are bound to happen at some point. So it's our job to prove to you that our mistakes can be corrected very easily. We leave a checklist that details each cleaner's role in clean your house. We leave a card detailing the benefits of our pay for performance program. And we leave another card that tells you what to do if you notice a mistake.

Communicating With The Customer - Again
So the house has been cleaned. But our work is far from done. The next step is to make sure that you're happy. So we either call or email for your feedback. We do this every time for every customer. No matter if we clean your house once a week or once a year. We need to know if you're satisfied because our employees paycheck is 100% dependent on your satisfaction level.

This process works. But the process has to be delivered each and every time. It needs to be consistent. Consistency breeds satisfaction. Satisfaction breeds word of mouth referrals. A word of mouth referral breeds a new customer. And a new customer starts the four steps all over again.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

It's staring you right in the face.

Click here to figure it out

But if my idea wasn't good enough for here for more ideas

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Little Things

Sometimes we get customers in the strangest ways. We just signed up a new customer that is set to be cleaned once a week in Panama City. Ten minutes ago, he didn't even know that we existed.

He had called the wrong number. He was checking on his car. Or at least he thought that we was checking on his car. He was trying to reach his mechanic but he called us by accident.

You can call it luck if you want to call it luck. But you can't have luck without a little hard work. We got lucky because we answered the phone. Sometimes the little things make the big things work.

Friday, May 04, 2007

How To Choose A Maid-The Video

Click here to watch a video that describes the four key factors that should be considered when choosing a home cleaning service.

The four points include:

-Ask for referrals
-Ask for an in-home cleaning estimate
-Ask the company to define "clean"
-Ask about employee training

The most important question didn't even get mentioned. The question.....
How do you plan on making me happy on a consistent basis? (Hint:think pay for performance)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Day In The Life Of Crystal

You already know how great our Operations Manager is in Panama City. If you don't, click here to find out why.

There's also another reason our office in Panama City has gotten off to such a fast start. Her name is Crystal. Crystal is our Training Manager. It's her responsibility to train all new employees that work for Two Maids & A Mop. It's also her responsibility to be our company's best ambassador. She has to sell the new employee on the benefits of her new job. Because we want to make sure that the new employee shows up the next day. It sounds silly, but it is absolutely essential.

Crystal does all that and then some. You see, when Crystal isn't training...she's cleaning. Or she's filling in for Melissa. Or she's doing whatever else we need her to do that day.

There's one other thing that she does everyday. And I mean everyday. She smiles.

I've yet to find Crystal in a bad mood. I've yet to see her upset. I've yet to even see her tired. Of course, I'm sure she has her days. But you'd never know it. Because she's always smiling.

Take a look at a day in the life of Crystal. (Notice that she's smiling in every picture.)

8 AM-Crystal posing with everybody else in Panama City
8:45 AM-Crystal arriving at her first customer's house
9 AM-Crystal making the bed
9:30 AM-Crystal tackling the bathroom
10 AM-Crystal finishing the bathroom
10:15 AM-Crystal moving on to the kitchen
10:45 AM-Crystal dusting those pesky ceiling fan blades
11 AM-Crystal loading up the car

Thank you Crystal for smiling everyday.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The $65 Million Satisfaction Guarantee

A man is suing a dry cleaning company for $65 million. His reason: the dry cleaning company offered a satisfaction guarantee along with same day service. Neither happened. Check out the article here.

"He says he deserves millions for the damages he suffered by not getting his pants back, for his litigation costs, for "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort," for the value of the time he has spent on the lawsuit, for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years and for a replacement suit, according to court papers.
The man is demanding $65,462,500. The original alteration work on the pants cost $10.50."

Something to consider....

The man demanded $1,150 after his suit was lost. The dry cleaning company denied him that amount. After a few years, the company offered him $3,000. He denied them that amount. What if the dry cleaning company would have just paid him the initial amount? Mistakes are going to happen. When mistakes happen, step up to the plate and point your finger at yourself. Pay the piper. You can bet that this small business owner wished that he would have done that two years ago.

That being said, don't you just love our legal system?