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  1. #81
    BS Detector, Esquire 10,000 PLUS POSTER Tony Shelton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Carroll View Post
    Attachment 25197

    Maybe this will clarify --- we send this to our regular clients when they come one board.
    Lol. No offense DJ, but if I ever got anything like that in the mail I would read about 1/3 of it, toss it in the circular file, then use the remainder of the time it would have taken to read it calling for a new contractor who had the means and gumption to keep a phone manned for my calls.

    In my mind all my calls are important enough for you to take the time to answer if I have had to take the time out of my day to make them.

    If this is what Chuck Bauer teaches you can keep it.

    After owning four businesses and growing out of this method of operation early on just in time to keep the first one from failing I have made sure all my customers reach a real human being at least 90% of the time.

    I really learned the value of that when I had hundreds of dry clean customers in 2000 when my Father died and I lost 17 customers in two weeks while I took care of his burial issues and failed to properly take care of my customers in a timely manner. I answered all their calls within 24 hours but still lost 17. Each one of them was important and I have never forgotten that lesson.

    Business is rough, and it doesn't matter if you are busy, or if you are burying your father - the end result will still be the same.

    Now, if you send me a check for $500 I will put that info on a tape for you to listen to in your car. Lol.

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  • #82
    Member 7000 PLUS POSTER Doug Rucker's Avatar
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    Yeah, I gotta agree there Tony....that just told me your to busy for me when you send me something like that, you also told me that you are not efficient and and can't handle your current work load and are still learning how to be efficient. Just constructive criticism is all.
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  • #83
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    It is exactly the opposite of that.

    Client calls in to the office says they need to talk to me....Bridgett tells them I'm out of the office and will call them back this afternoon. I come in from appointments - call them and it's a scheduling issue. I don't handle that because that is an operations issue. So then I have to tell them I will let rob know but he is gone for the day so he will call them back tomorrow.

    Same scenario - but this time client receives my flyer and know that they need to contact Rob directly on his cell as it's emergent. Bridget and I don't loose time nor do we get interupted.

    Which scenario is more efficient ? And which one is more efficient for the client?

  • #84
    Member 2000 PLUS POSTER tomtucson's Avatar
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    I would just leave it at a directory of who to contact. The rest of it is vaguely condescending or off-putting, slightly insulting maybe.
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  • #85
    Member 7000 PLUS POSTER Doug Rucker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Carroll View Post
    It is exactly the opposite of that.

    Client calls in to the office says they need to talk to me....Bridgett tells them I'm out of the office and will call them back this afternoon. I come in from appointments - call them and it's a scheduling issue. I don't handle that because that is an operations issue. So then I have to tell them I will let rob know but he is gone for the day so he will call them back tomorrow.

    Same scenario - but this time client receives my flyer and know that they need to contact Rob directly on his cell as it's emergent. Bridget and I don't loose time nor do we get interupted.

    Which scenario is more efficient ? And which one is more efficient for the client?
    Sounds like a great process for in house...I just wouldn't send that out to customers is all.
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  • #86
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    How is the client supposed to know if I don't send it out?

  • #87
    BS Detector, Esquire 10,000 PLUS POSTER Tony Shelton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Carroll View Post
    How is the client supposed to know if I don't send it out?
    DJ, I admire your enthusiasm. I can speak from my own experience and tell you that in the long run you will leave money on the table with customers who appreciate believing they are more important than your schedule.

    It's your business. I am just offering my view from my experience.

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  • #88
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    EasyPro does not want customers like that.

  • #89
    BS Detector, Esquire 10,000 PLUS POSTER Tony Shelton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Carroll View Post
    EasyPro does not want customers like that.
    Believe me, you won't get them. But your competitors will, and they will be loyal. Good luck.

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  • #90
    Professors Professor with Tenure apple's Avatar
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    I agree with Doug.

    That takes the personal relationship out of it. We would lose every one of our customers without that.

    I actually hope my competition is like this because I make it a point to tell customers that they have my cell. Call it and I'll answer or call them back ASAP.
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  • #91
    Member 5000 PLUS POSTER Larry Millette's Avatar
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    Been watching this thread unfold for awhile now and figured I would put my 3 cents in. Approximately 2 yrs ago my wife and I decided that she would be the one answering all incoming calls. Normally she is able to get the call on the first contact without any client going to voice mail. During very busy times it gets a bit difficult to do as she also works out in the field with us. During these times either she or myself check the phone at least every 15-20 min. If a client has called during this time a return call is made within the first 20-30 min and contact is made. During this call all of their information is taken by my wife. ( Name, address and scope of work to be performed ). She then informs them that with the information provided, we will be able to call them back with a quote later that evening. Once the day is done in the field, the real work begins. Whether one potential client has called or 10 have called its now time for me to look up all their information, get square footage, look at satellite images of their property etc... and put their numbers together. Once this is done my wife and or I give them a call back and discuss and go over all the details of their job with them so that they can make an educated decision on whether or not we are the right company for the job based on what they are looking to have done. Granted, most of the work we do is residential and this process works great for them. For bigger projects such as town home communities and jobs for HOA's we normally use the same process but also set up a time to meet with either the PM or a board member in person.

    I believe that EVERY customer should be treated as a VIP . Each and every person who calls is looking for a common goal whether they are calling to have just a driveway cleaned or if its a PM with a whole community to be cleaned. Giving each client that personal touch and them knowing that they can reach us is not only important to us but important ant to them as well. Passing the customer on to another person or insinuating/ giving them the impression that their situation is not as important as the last or next caller is just wrong in my opinion. I sure as heck would not want to sit and choose from a gas gauge dial and have to decide what to pick as far as how important my call is. If I was searching for a company to handle a service for me I would probably move on and make a few more calls.
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  • #92
    Moderator 11000 PLUS POSTER Christopher's Avatar
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    I feel the same way as most of you guys.

    What works for DJ is what works for him, everyone has their way of doing business.

  • #93
    Moderator 11000 PLUS POSTER Christopher's Avatar
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    I feel the same way as most of you guys.

    What works for DJ is what works for him, everyone has their way of doing business.

  • #94
    Administrator Professor with Tenure Steven Button's Avatar
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    Different strokes for different folks...


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  • #95
    Member 2000 PLUS POSTER tomtucson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shelton View Post
    DJ, I admire your enthusiasm. I can speak from my own experience and tell you that in the long run you will leave money on the table with customers who appreciate believing they are more important than your schedule.

    It's your business. I am just offering my view from my experience.

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  • #96
    Member 7000 PLUS POSTER Scott Stone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Carroll View Post
    It is exactly the opposite of that.

    Client calls in to the office says they need to talk to me....Bridgett tells them I'm out of the office and will call them back this afternoon. I come in from appointments - call them and it's a scheduling issue. I don't handle that because that is an operations issue. So then I have to tell them I will let rob know but he is gone for the day so he will call them back tomorrow.

    Same scenario - but this time client receives my flyer and know that they need to contact Rob directly on his cell as it's emergent. Bridget and I don't loose time nor do we get interupted.

    Which scenario is more efficient ? And which one is more efficient for the client?
    Just my opinion, but it is apparent to me that you are taken with your own success, or what you perceive as success. I guess it works for you, but in reality it looks like a short sighted view, and may necessitate you taking on a full time job. I have run my business with the thought that complaints are personal, and that, business wise, there are only two important things, customers and employees. Our first intent is to keep our employees safe, and our second objective is to keep our customers satisfied. I think a huge thing that mitigates customer dissatisfaction is the ability for the customer to reach me immediately.
    If you keep up that attitude, you might want to think about keeping your resume brushed off so that you can go work for someone else.
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  • #97
    Member Junior Undergraduate carolinawildcat's Avatar
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    This thread is 100% pure awesome.

    I think the majority of us are entrepreneurs, regardless if that means pushing water or selling soap or roofing houses. That Spirit brings a willingness -- an enthusiasm, no less -- to Do More, Make More, Sell More. However, sometimes, when you go big-time, such as my brother in KY can attest, you have to make decisions. I'm sure Ron & Scott & other multi-truck operators can tell you about Growing Pains.

    Run your business how you want. I used to sell computer equipment, mostly to federal accounts. It was easy to run that biz using email, telephone, even FAX (I'm old). But when you are a point of contact for someone's property, it seems to me that "Press 1 for..." could be frustrating.

    I just don't understand how some guys offer a cell #, then don't answer it. I love to answer the phone when I'm on a roof or with equipment running -- the caller knows (thinks) she is important. And I like to know what's going on with Every account.

    I just don't understand how some guys start to make $, enjoy the good life, then alienate the same people that scratched the checks that allow said good life.

    I just don't understand how some guys like a few hours a week of good life, but don't understand that a few more years of 60-80 hr weeks will allow no telephones whatsoever. Cuz you're on a beach.

    I just don't understand how some guys tell customers: "This is How WE Work..."

    And, finally, I just don't understand how some guys DON'T want to talk to customers. I would rather have a loud, nasty, verbal argument with a customer on a cell phone, pacing around in circles in some customer's front yard, waving my arms around, than do any project. Because I know I can turn it around and have customer-for-life. Forest/trees, I guess.

    I will never forget a short exchange I had with Ron couple of months ago: Since I am such a loser, I was surfing the board on Memorial Day. I txted Ron with a question, and his reply was "Give me a few, I will call you, I'm in the pool." We aren't selling clean houses or roof removal or coil cleaning. We are selling ourselves. And selling ourselves requires contact.

    In DJ's defense, it often can be good strategy to cull the dead weight. Ten $500 jobs takes the same amount of time as ten jobs that you sell at $600. Every now and then, you need to trim off the less-profitable jobs, and you're left with higher productivity and, hopefully, higher profits. I still just can't fathom not picking up the telephone.

    A lot of us guys in the southern climes deal with a lot of retirees. If I try that with them, I will be out of work immediamente.

    Honestly, DJ, more power to you. If it works for you, fantastic. But you have a misspelling on the flyer.
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  • #98
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    you guys should read e myth all DJ is doing is removing himself from his business, in the big picture he wants his company to run by itself without him involved, its done everyday.

  • #99

  • #100
    BS Detector, Esquire 10,000 PLUS POSTER Tony Shelton's Avatar
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    I see John T is chiming in as usual at the board he is allowed to post on trying to drum up opposition to the fact that a person can have a sizable operation and still answer their phone.

    Here are some numbers from our previous businesses.

    Vegas Valley Valet Cleaners: 1284 regular customers not counting one off customers. Dry cleaning picked up from 241 different locations twice per week, most of which were office buildings, car dealerships, etc where we picked up from as many as 30 or more customers at one location. Imagine the calls generated from this!!!! Dry Cleaning of all things!

    "I have a button missing"
    "You left a spot"
    "You forgot to hem my pants"
    "You've ruined my suit"
    Etc, etc, etc. Ad nauseum.


    Vegas Valley Valley Services: Over 40,000 unique transactions in less than ten years. 40% of those were repeat customers with 60% being new customers every month.

    "Where is my registration?"
    "Why didn't I get credit for my old plates?"
    "If you pick this up today can I get it back today"?
    "I've been pulled over by the cops and my plates aren't back yet".
    "The DOT says my truck has to be registered at a higher weight"
    Etc, Etc, Etc.


    Yet Shelly or I answered every single call. We hired employees to do the running around and taking care of the simple tasks like picking up and delivering, making copies, tagging in garments, making emergency runs, etc.

    We still had time to buy two boats and three campers and enjoy them. We had motorcycles we drove for pleasure and raced at the track. We took the cabin cruiser to Catalina, and practically every body of water in the west. We camped in practically every place you could camp and one year spent 81 nights on the road camping in every situation from top level campgrounds to simply stopping alongside the road. We went everywhere from Mexico to the Salton Sea, to Santa Monica Beach, to Lake Tahoe and still we answered every call and it wasn't a big deal because we were the owners of the business and answering the phone was part of the responsibility we shared in keeping our employees employed and our family fed.

    Because of our dedication to doing our job of overseeing, organizing and representing the businesses, Vegas Valley Valet Cleaners started in 1998 as the only dedicated dry clean pickup and delivery service in the city and by the time we sold it in 2006 there were 26 direct competitors including three franchises yet we were still the largest by more than double at that time. We had customer cry right in front of us when we sold the business and introduced them to the new owners. To this day, 7 years later I still get calls from my old customers just to say hello. I've gotten at least 40 large building accounts for Sonitx as a direct result of my hands on contact with my dry clean customers.

    Vegas Valley Valet Services started in 1999 and was the smallest of three DMV services in the state. By 2005 there were 321 licensed DMV Services in the City, yet hers was by far the largest and remained that way till the economic downturn of 2009 then, being honest and letting the buyer know that the future looked bleak with car dealerships closing down left and right, she sold it for pennies on the dollar to a gentleman with a lot of ambition and the proper level of customer service in his veins and he still runs it to this day under the name of his own business.

    Between the two of us we probably generated more income than 95% of all contractors who might look at this board. Our job was to manage the business. That meant either taking all the calls personally, or, as in Shelly's case the last two years, finding someone who shared her deep conviction to customer service, teaching them everything the customer might be inclined to ask then paying them very well to take on that particular job.

    An answering machine cannot take that job. An answering service cannot take on that job. An unanswered call will not take on that job.

    Only you, or a person you have trained specifically to handle any and every contingency with the ability and authority to make decisions on the spot are the only people who can take on that job.

    Unless you are in a financial position to train and hire someone who you can pay well enough to care about your business as much as you do, you are not in a position to push calls off or delay answering calls without paying the penalty of disloyal bottom of the barrel customers.

    That's my opinion on it and that is the explanation of my own personal experience with our last two companies.
    Sonitx 845 S. Kenny Way Las Vegas, NV 89107 702-358-7477 Air Filter Service - Coil Cleaning - 2 month Payback


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