What is most important "poll"

[B][/B]I don’t know how to make a poll in here so i’ll just ask…

This is really a question for your best customers, taken from Kevin Dubrosky’s Whale vomit book, which not yet having finished yet I will go ahead and highly recommend.

I would like to do a different poll for each tier of customers but the only tiers I can come up with are 1. bargain hunters 2. the pampered, got to be something in between I just don’t know what to call them.

When someone is shopping to get their windows cleaned what is most important, and in order of importance.

  1. A good job
  2. how much does it cost
  3. when can you do it
  4. how long will it take
  5. is it guaranteed
  6. please add your own, what did I miss?

I categorize my customers in a different way…retail, wholesale and real estate.
Customers who are in the retail biz will ask your price and offer you half what you asked for.
Customers who are in the wholesale biz will ask for quantity discounts. I.e. how much is it? And what if I add on this much is it cheaper?
Customers who are in real estate look at everything in proportion. If its small its cheaper if its big its more expensive.
This is not entirely true but for the most part it does play a role in assessing my customer.

I guess I should clarify, I just meant residential customers. I think commercial and storefront would probably need their own polls, totally different animals right?

I was talking about my residential customers. I categorize them by what they do for a living kinda tells me a little bit about the person. Don’t get me wrong in no way whatsoever would I dare ask someone what he did for a living, just if I happen to know what the guy does or they mention it I take a mental note.

Value, period.

Ahhh! I can read it that way now, so I guess from that answer all your customer tiers list "how much is it? as most important. They just ask it in different ways.

And John I guess that’s another vote for “How much is it”?

I think the key is first picking two of the items you’ve mentioned that you feel really strong in. You probably pride yourself in the quality of work you do, but maybe you have other strengths, like the ability to complete jobs very quickly, or you always have time set aside for last minute emergency customers.

Once you’ve identified what you want to focus on in your business, you’ll want to communicate those traits in all of your marketing. If you do that effectively, the customers you don’t want will weed themselves out before ever calling you, and the customers who value the same things you do will be drawn to your company.

Much easier said than done, I know. But in the end, you’ll be a lot happier than trying to please everyone in your market by conducting surveys and trying to bend your company to fit their answers.

Just my $.02.

A question from the book intrigued me to try and find out what is dazzling the market, in our case the window cleaning market.

I thought it would be cool to get some different perspectives. I have no intention of being able to please everybody, I will however bend my company to fit the customers that I am after, If I can please them then that will make me happy.

Thanks for the .02 cents! I just want to know what is most important to your best customers.

P.S. I already know what is most important to my customers, I just don’t have as many as most of you, and my company is still in the mold, I want to take it to where I want it to land.

Kevin’s advice is to poll your customers to find out what THEY value; not what you value or what all of us value. You need to directly ask them. A bunch of window cleaners scattered everywhere except your area won’t know what your customers value in your service.

I didn’t ask what I value or what you value I think you are talking to Alex.

When someone is shopping to get their windows cleaned what is most important, and in order of importance.
This is all I asked.
I don’t know where I went wrong but if you don’t want to answer just please move along and let the thread die.

No Kevin did not tell me to poll you guys, he also didn’t say poll my customers or your customers. He simply said right down what you think is most important. I wasn’t doing an exact exercise from the book I just thought ( there I go again) I just thought we could all write that down together. If you don’t want to that’s cool, just let it die.

I got rained out today, thought I would have a conversation with some window cleaners about whats most important to your customers, I think I probably should have worded it differently.

Peace ya’ll

Alright, I get it now. We’re on a very similar train of thought, perhaps on different passenger cars ;).

Giving your customers options like on a survey may actually be a more effective way to get useable data, instead of hearing the same default answers over and over. Having a good set of questions or choices is the beginning of an effective survey. I think that we all just misinterpreted what it was you were after.

I would add to your list:
professional manner
demonstration of knowledge (are they impressed that you can explain fabricating debris or how pure water window cleaning works, or other more technical aspects of our profession?)
answer phone/return calls promptly
Look & feel of marketing pieces, including website

Yes! That’s what i meant, and thanks for the additions, Maybe i could put together a postage paid survey card where they can anonymously answer the questions, they might be a little more forthcoming that way. I really want to know what they WANT, AND what they THINK about what they are getting.

I think your own personal values have to come into the equation if you are trying to build the company YOU want to run. I think Alex is trying to say that the customers you end up getting and retaining will share your values. If you are all about price, the customers you will attract will also be about that. If you are more focused on quality and can communicate that, the customers that resonate with that will also care about quality.

To be the best company you can be, you need to have passion. You need to imagine what kind of company you want to be, and be that company.

For me, the #1 thing is Trust. I want the customer to have trust in me and I want to be able to trust that the customer has my interests in mind too. Trust is one of the hardest things to market. You can’t just tell people that they should trust you.

Trust starts to build when I meet people face to face and then when they see how hard I work when I am on the job site. Having a logical pricing system also helps to establish trust. Being able to explain why things cost a certain amount based on your experience instead of just pulling out numbers from thin air based on how much you think they are willing to pay.

Having a clean cut appearance, showing up on time, completing the work when you say you will… all that establishes trust too. But the most important thing is your intentions. If you treat every customer as you would your grandmother, then it will show and people will start to refer you to their friends and family.

Some of the smaller things really do make a difference. 1) show up on time to every job. Use gps to premap your route the night before so you know exactly how long it takes to get to the job. Get everything ready that morning and leave exactly when you need to. It’s a simple thing, but I get comments all the time from people surprised that I am exactly on time. 2) Clear your mind on the way to the job. If you have everything ready and organized, there is nothing to worry about. Instead of thinking about what you are going to do after the job or what you did the day before just empty your mind and concentrate on driving. That way, you will be totally relaxed and focused when you get to the front door. Sounds simple, but you’ll be amazed at the difference when you give people 100% focused, relaxed attention. 3) Be grateful for every job you do. Even if you didn’t make as much per hour as you wanted. Adjust the price next time and take it as a learning experience. People can tell when you are grateful. When you are happy while you are doing your job and happy at the end of the job, they will want you to come back. Law of attraction. I always thank everyone for having me come out to do the job.

Quality will come with experience. Efficiency will come with experience. The most important aspect of the job is the relationship you have with the customer. If you have the right attitude and work hard, everything will flow to you.

Ok so let’s say you poll your customers and the number one thing people want is “reliability”. Great, but what if you are not reliable? While it’s good to poll customers a person has to be whale vomit within ones skill set.

It’s very tricky

It’s some very personal whale vomit :0

^What Jesse said^

Sent from my iPhone using Window Cleaning Resource mobile app

I’d like to nominate this for “post of the year”.

…What, we don’t have a “post of the year” category? I move that we adopt one. Who will second my motion?

Me, Myself and I - will second, third and fourth the motion.

I agree with everything you’ve got here Jesse, and it was very eloquently expressed.

I guess here’s what I’ve run into, I’ve so far modeled my business as you have written above, with an emphasis on quality, care and attention to their needs. They know when I leave that I’ll come back at the drop of a hat for any concerns.
with all that however I have found myself in the position of trying to justify why my prices are double and more sometimes from the last guy.(Apparently someone has been through a large part of my area in the 5000sq ft., $800 to $1m neighborhoods and just had a flat $250 price, at least once including chandeliers). some of them have said lets do it anyway, “kind of lets see what you got”, some have scheduled then canceled with a text later on, and some have laughed and said I cannot spend that kind of money for “window cleaning” ( this was a doctor in a different neighborhood in a 7000sq ft house, $900k, for sale for 6 months, windows filthy, looking out at the olympic sized pool, and the wife says they had a guy doing whole house inside out + gutters 3 stories high for $75 and he had a helper.) Now my quote to her came to $499 and I’m certain that many of you guys would tell me that’s to low if you knew the count.
Then I’ve got my customers in the 2000 to 3000 sq ft, range that think $250 is a great deal, they paid $400 last time.

Pleeease before you jump on me, I have stuck to my guns I have not haggled I have not backed down, some of these people know each other I don’t want to look wishy washy. My price is my price.

I haven’t said anything about these guys I don’t know who they are or what they can do, they may be better than I ever will be and just want to stay busy, they may be crackheads, bucketheads or Peeping Toms, I don’t know. it only concerns me in that these people now think that, that is a fair price.

I am telling them I can’t compete with that price and promise you i’ll be in business next time you need me, I can promise your windows will be spotless or I will fix it, I even tell them if their not happy they don’t have to pay, (I’ll deal with that if it ever happens).
Still I know myself, I would go with the guy for $250, Heck the $75 guy if I could find him.

Here’s a text verbatim from a referral who I had just quoted $485 “She(the referrer) said you were a really nice guy and you did a great job, but my last guy did it for $250 and he took down the chandelier and cleaned it”

How can I possibly be nice enough to justify that?

That is how I came to start this thread, what are the top three things people look for when they call me? I think what I want to know is do you guy’s best customers think price first, or do they really just want someone they can trust at any cost?

If I match the $250 or God forbid $75 one time I compromise everything.
If I don’t match it I may not work all week.

I truly appreciate all the input!
Everybody stay warm.

Wow, that’s crazy. 7,000 sq. ft house windows and gutters for $75. I hate to say it, but sometimes an area gets so bad that a quality, honest contractor has to move in order to make a living. I think that’s what the issue was with Brian Crowder from BC Window Cleaning. No matter how much he worked his marketing, efficiency, quality etc. it was just too hard to compete in Southern California. Heck, I notice a big difference in Cape Cod compared to the Seattle area where I was before. I had it made in the Northwest. People were willing to pay 50% more than where I am now. People think the Cape is entirely populated by the super wealthy, but in fact many of the full time residents are pretty dang frugal. Plus the seasonal economy beats down the local contractors. In no way is it as bad as a lot of the areas in the U.S. though.

If a market is saturated and ultra competitive it can be extremely difficult to prosper. There’s no way the other window cleaners working fro a quarter of what you are charging are doing as good a job. But what if they do 50% as good a job for 25% of your price - then they would be offering more value in a lot of people’s eyes. Not saying that is the route to go, I am just saying that competition does affect your business. Some people will say “just be the best and you will prosper” but sometimes you have to drop your fishing line in a different spot than where everyone else is fishing. It’s a tough dilemma, for sure.