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The Company Did Everything Right, Except...

Michael Brown

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Ann said the appliance repair service did everything right. They responded quickly. Their call taker/dispatcher was friendly and informative. The technician arrived when promised. He was clean-cut and enthusiastic. Ann recalled that he smiled a lot. She made a point of mentioning the shoe covers. It was the first time that Ann had ever seen a service technician wear shoe covers to protect her home.

The technician performed a quick diagnostic and presented a fixed price before starting work. The price seemed a little high, but fair. Ann told them to go ahead. The repair was made properly. The technician cleaned up. Before he left, the technician went to his truck and brought Ann a refrigerator magnet. He mentioned that the company gets most of its customers by word-of-mouth and would appreciate it if she would recommend them to a friend or neighbor.

The refrigerator magnet the technician gave Ann was thick. It wasn't likely to fall off the refrigerator if used to mount the kids' artwork. Ann still has the magnet on her refrigerator.

The next day, a representative from the company called to make sure Ann was satisfied with the service. Ann assured her that she was delighted. And she was.

So far, so good.


Ann needed appliance service. Yet, she didn't call the same company she used nine months earlier. She called G.E. instead. Why? Why would a homeowner call a different company when she had previously used one that performed admirably, that she described as having the best service of any home repair company she's ever used? Why?

Simple. She could schedule service with G.E. online and she could not with the company she used before. In fact, this company that executed so well did not even have a website. Ann scheduled the service around 11:30 p.m., when it was convenient for her.

She admits that thinks G.E. was not as good as the other company. In fact, it took G.E. almost a week to get a part that was needed. The G.E. tech admitted it was a part they should stock. He told Ann that she could probably pick one up from a local supply house, though he could not. He needed to get it delivered through the corporation's internal system. Ann figured she would not have had to wait if she used the other company. They would have either stocked the part on their trucks or would have picked it up from a local supply house.

Moreover, Ann believes that G.E. charged a little more. Yet, if she had it all to do over, she would still use G.E. After all, G.E. let her schedule online.

The other company, the one that did everything right, is not even aware they lost a customer. They are not aware that the game changed with this customer and they are not even playing in the same stadium.

The number of people like Ann is growing every day. People are becoming comfortable with online shopping. Look at the growth of eBay. Even Amazon is turning a profit. The day is rapidly approaching where an online presence will be as significant as a phone line. Without it, you will be out of business.

Once people like Ann get used to scheduling service online with G.E. or Sears or Home Depot or any other company, it will be hard to win them back. Their first inclination will be to go to the website they used before.

It is critical that service companies develop an online presence NOW and begin familiarizing their customers with it. It may take years before a significant number of customers begin to use the site, but on that critical moment when your good, long-standing customer decides to schedule service at 11:30 p.m., you want her to be able to schedule it with your company. Otherwise, she will look for a company she knows she can schedule service with at her convenience. When that happens, your long-standing customer will no longer be your customer. She will be a memory.

Oh. In case you're wondering, this is a true story. No embellishments were added.

Since it helps to "see" examples, you might want to download a copy of the "Build a More Profitable Service Business" notes by clicking on the link below.

http://www.serviceroundtable.com/Freebi ... p?PCID=295

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.

Free subscriptions are available at:

www.serviceroundtable.com -- click on the Comanche Marketing tab

Copyright © 2004 Matt Michel

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