Bath, NY 14810, Retaining Valuable Clients, Commercial Cleaning

Bath, NY 14810, Retaining Valuable Clients, Commercial Cleaning


Do you have a "Customer Elimination Department"? Eliminate it!

by Larry Galler

You won’t find it on the organization chart.

You won’t see photos of a frowning, disgruntled staff in any fancy brochure (like the photo of the guy pulling a wand or the smiling person on the telephone), but most businesses have a portion of their company that is working hard at being The Customer Elimination Department… and it’s a serious problem.

You might not even know that there is a group of people in your company that eliminates customers. It might even be you or your spouse or the employee with the longest history with the company.

The evidence is in* The Customer Elimination Department turns the telephone “on-hold” radio dial to a station that annoys people… and the customer can’t tolerate one more second of being assaulted by that irritating “music” so hangs up and goes elsewhere.* It’s the person that assures the customer that the cleaning crew will arrive “about 10:00 a.m.” then forgets to mark that important piece of information on the job ticket… another customer eliminated!* It’s the staff member who leaves the front door open and allows “Poochie” and “Kitten” to run out to explore the neighborhood… and another customer is eliminated (and maybe the family pet.)* The Customer Elimination Department employs the driver of the van with the company name emblazoned on every panel who drives like a NASCAR driver coming out of the fourth turn at Daytona scaring everyone else on the road… it’s the one time you don’t want the company name remembered but, I guarantee it, that it is the time your company name and logo will be firmly in their memory, eliminating customers forever.* It’s the company representative that shows up at the door of a nice, neat home looking like an actor from a slasher movie (after the big “slash” scene) scaring the owner of the home and eliminating yet another customer.* It’s the staffer that tells the customer “the boss is a jerk” or “these cleaning chemicals don’t work as well as the ones we ran out of.”* Some members of the Customer Elimination Department are on a mission to sell their political, religious, ethnic, or racial views to customers and offending, maddening, and eliminating them at every opportunity.

Do some investigatingI could go on and on with examples of the many ways the Customer Elimination Department can destroy a business’s reputation, eroding trust, and the years of hard work that it took to build the business but that is not the reason for this article. My motivation is to help you understand that, even in the best of businesses, there is the possibility if not the certainty that your company has a Customer Elimination Department hard at work and to help you design tools to discover its existence and to eliminate it before it acts like a cancer, harming your business.

The easiest way to find out if there is a Customer Elimination Department working in your business is to ask your customers. Send them a survey card (put a stamp on it and the response rate will be much higher) or an e-mail note that can be answered in a few moments (no more than five to seven questions with room for comments). It will give you a good deal of valuable information.

A division of one of the largest companies in the country, General Electric sends a card with just one question to its customers, “Were you satisfied enough with our product/service to recommend us to others?” That’s it just 13 words! They found there was a direct relationship between the results of this one question and sales growth. It is so important to GE that 20 percent of the managers annual bonus is tied to the results of this one 13 word question!

An even better tactic than a survey is a “quality control” call for two reasons.1. A QC call will impress your customers that you care about their satisfaction.2. Some customers you talk to will give you extensive feedback.While it will only happen of a small percentage of calls, you will get customers who are happy to talk to you – both positive and negative feedback will give you insight you can use to improve customer satisfaction and you will discover whether you have a Customer Elimination Department working in your business.

If you get good feedback, you can praise your staff and there is nothing like an “attaboy,” a pat on the back, or a monetary bonus (even a token bonus like a pass to the movies or a pizza) to make your employees feel appreciated and valued. If you get negative feedback, it is an opportunity to talk to the offending person(s), improve your training system (you do have one, right?) or discover problems to address and / or eliminate.

One of the objections I get when I suggest my clients use a “quality control” call is the amount of time and effort it takes to make these calls. I reply that you don’t have to call every customer you do work for.

You can call just a sampling of customers, perhaps just one or two calls a week to find out whether you have a problem. If you discover one, and act to improve it, you will probably want to make more calls for a period of time to make sure that you have eliminated the problem… or you might find you have to eliminate the person responsible for the problem… either way the problem is solved… at least for the time being.

Eliminating the Customer Elimination Department is a never-ending task, but a crucial one because retaining customers is the easiest, most cost efficient, most effective way to increase your sales volume and profits so, if you have the problem eliminate it… NOW! or