My Friends Are My Customers, My Customers Are My Friends…
That’s my attitude toward residential customers. This approach has helped the residential side of my business flourish while weeding out undesirable customers. I’ve become friends with most of my residential customers over the years and I’ve found that they are much more willing to accept my quoted price or price raises, rather, than to try to talk me down in price. When I go to bid a job I always chum it up with the potential client for a few minutes before I give the estimate. I Look them in the eye, with a good attitude, joke around with them a bit and make them laugh a little. That really breaks the ice.
Look to see where your commonalities are then work from there. A lot of the older clients are just happy to have a young, friendly, person to talk with so they are more likely to reschedule. Being friendly with your customer puts you both on the same page and makes the bidding process much easier. I think it’s good for the customers experience as well as the window cleaners. It makes the work environment much easier too when you feel like you’re working for someone you can get along with. At the end of the job, the person is much happier to write the check to someone they like rather than someone they don’t. And they’re more willing to reschedule. If you meet someone that seems really hard to work with try your best to find something in them you like enough to want to do a good job. It’s just better all around when you and your customer are good friends.
Not me. My customers are my customers. I’m friendly but professional. I like them, they like me but I’m not going to get a Pepsi from their fridge.
When I’m at a restaurant, the waiter should never sit down with us to take our order. We request specific waiters because they’re good, efficient, keep my glass full, and get our order correct.
I know what you’re saying, but in my opinion when service people get too too friendly, service usually suffers.
Sent from my Panasonic VCR. Please set the clock before responding.
I can definitely see both ways. My personal choice or maybe just my nature is to be friendly, responsive, and professional more than chummy. There are a select few who have made it a point to be friends. One couple has had me doing their windows for I’d say 20 years now. The wife usually sends me away with a bottle of wine and a hug, even one time a bootleg Aerosmith CD.
What I’ve seen over the years is the service people who are pals with their customers have it real good while it lasts. But when sometimes goes wrong it is very, very ugly.
Maybe the approach can’t work for some of you guys in the cities. I’ll give you that. People are no where near as friendly as they are in small town USA. Thankfully, I live in a gem of a location because people are actually still courteous and nice… yeah. When your town bar is like cheers where everyone knows your name it pays to be liked. Has nothing to do with service ability.
A lot of it has to do with the kind of community or neighborhood you work in. 80% of my customers are within in a 10 block radius of my house and many of them run in circles with one another so it’s pretty much inevitable that you will build a personal relationship with them. I have friends I grew up with that are customers, their parents, relatives, and friends, so I think when you get referrals from these people they just kind of treat you as a friend and vice versa. People seems to take more interest in you as a professional when you get to know them on a personal level.
Have THEY ever been to YOUR house?
There’s a difference in being friendly and friends.
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That’s about right.
There is a difference between friends and someone [B]being friendly[/B].
Before everyone get’s all “yea, but” on me.
Yes. I do have friends who I service.
And Yes. I have had customers who I’ve hung out with, after work hours.
(believe it or not, I’m a pretty likeable guy)
But[B] in general[/B]… nah.
Haha! “jinx buy me a coke!”
mine posted at :48 after!
Guess that heated up the room. That’s what I’m here for.
So did mine, Brian!
It’s ok to think alike with me… I’m not nearly as crazy as I seem.
i think its good to develop a professional relationship. i like seeing my customers around, say hi and catch up. you need to strike the balance of being professional but personal. when you are able to keep that balance you will have very loyal clients
i don’t see anything wrong with cultivating close personal relationships with customers. i can see it working well for some guys. but it’s really all about what kind of business you want to develop.
getting close with customers, even extra friendly, can be a double-edged sword. yeah, you earn undying loyalty. almost no attrition. no resistance when it’s time to raise prices etc. But the flipside is, YOU are stuck doing the work FOREVER. if you are cool with that, then go for it. why not?
but if you eventually want to extract yourself from the labor side of the business, you may really be shooting yourself in the foot. in my own experience, i know of several customers whom i will have to be present for as long as they are a customer of my company. it’s just developed into that kind of relationship. no matter how capable or skilled my people are, these certain clients will only want me. so it’s either keep showing up on site at these jobs, or let them go.
how you want to play it with your customers all depends on how you envision your business as a final draft. you can see the potential problems getting that friendly can cause in the long run. but i can also see the benefits if one is content to stick to a small, owner/operator model.
Show up at their annual superbowl party.
Knock at the door with a gift at their daughters birthday party.
And watch for that moment.
The one right before they forcefully and awkwardly say “how nice” it was for you to come…
- when their facial expression says “what the hell are YOU doing here?!?”
Damn D you got of on a tangent.
I’m surprised at how negative you guys are.
Not so much a tangent.
I actually have had customer become my friends.
And I hate to say it’s rare, because it does happen.
But it IS.
And I have friends who I do their windows.
But it just gets a little sticky if you try to blur the lines with the “general population” of your customers.
In all fairness, you mentioned in your original post…
"older people like someone young to talk to."
And “find a commonality.”
That’s not friendship. That’s (again) being friendly.