RANT ALERT + Biz Lessons!!! Small business owners need to sort themselves out!
Over the last month or so, I've moved house which means we needed domestic cleaners/end of tenancy cleans, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, gardeners, plumbers, electricians and removal men etc etc.
Now I just go to Google and start calling the first one that pops up or the nearest one to me.
With pretty much every single trade, it takes about 4-5 calls before getting through to someone. It's always a dial-out or answer machine.
Then the humans I finally get through to are sometimes incompetent.
Here's a TINY list of some of the things we've seen first hand. And chatting with my mates, this is not a one-off thing:
- People saying they'll be with you between 0900-1400 etc. Sorry, in this day and age this is unacceptable. Get better with your scheduling and appointment efficiency!
- People booking a time with you and just not turning up!
- People not doing what you are paying them to do!
- People just doing a shit job.
- People demanding cash in hand.
- People rejecting jobs unless it's cash in hand.
- People giving you an hourly rate quote, but then turning up to the house and suddenly doubling/tripling their hourly rate!
- Finally! The most recent one, I got a new gardener. Agreed £12.50/hour (£400 per month). He came to inspect everything and was keen to start. Then when texting him when he could start, zero response. Nothing. We've sent WhatsApp messages, FB, tried calling. Nudda. Argh. Next!!!!!!
No one is perfect and all bizzes make mistakes. Hell, I've got a million mistakes/method changes I want/NEED to implement in my bizzes!
But all bizzes really need the basics nailed!
I swear most small business owners fail NOT because of Covid or the general climate, it's just due to business incompetence.
BASIC LEARNING POINTS
1 - Whatever your contact method is, make sure you're RESPONSIVE!!!!
People hate waiting around. In fact they don't, they just go to your competition. I get really pissed off if my team don't respond to a client email within an hour. And get really peeved if there are emails over a day old. Your clients generally email you when they have a problem. As a biz, it's your job to fix it ASAP! Client frustration breeds as times progresses!
2 - Be honest!
3 - Have a CRM (Active Campaign is a good one) as a minimum and sort out the booking process! Whether it's Acuity Scheduling/Calendly/whatever!
4 - Map out your desired Client Journey. Write down Every step a prospect/client sees whether it's an email or a physical appointment.
5 - For appointment based bizzes, the MINIMUM you should be doing is sending a confirmation email with the TIME, ADDRESS and maybe a summary of what you're going to do on the day. A reminder email 24 hours before and then a text message 1 hour before! Then an email THANKING your client after your job. Whether it's on the day or the day after. You can even use that thank you email/text to collect a testimonial or get future work.
6 - Learn to use GOOGLE FRICKING MAPS!!!! I even had to send a Google pin to a cleaner yesterday and she still turned up 17 minutes late! Then didn't apologise. If you're unsure of the location, ask for a Google pin or better, (What Three Words) and then spend a few mins planning your route!
7 - If you're going into someone's home, for the great love of Elon, take your bloody shoes off! Or bring plastic covers for your boots!
People don't want you walking all over their carpets etc with your boots from outside. I s**t you not, a tradesmen left actual muddy footprints up our stairs once and just went "Oops, sorry". And continued walking!!!
8 - If you're one of those small business owners who 100% needs a survey/quoting appointment, make sure you give them a quote either on the day or A-frickin-SAP after the meeting! I've moved on from so many people when after a couple of days I still didn't have a quote!
9 - Paperwork! If you're still dicking around with reams of paper, you need to move online! Quickly! There is literally no need for it. It's slow, it gets lost in the post, it's a time-whore sometimes.
I had a job needing doing and this company INSISTED that I had to physically sign the paperwork and POST it back to them before they could confirm an appointment. Seriously!!!? I'm aware that some companies have crazy insurance hoops etc but at the minimum, use DocuSign for your agreements. It takes a user like 20 seconds to sign and electronically sign-stamp a doc.
10 - Don't be rude, abrasive or mock your clients. I had a boiler break on me a few months ago. We had to bleed it to get it started again. And the plumber basically took the piss out of me that I didn't know how to bleed a boiler and that it was sort of a waste of a job for him and that I was wasting money paying him a £60 call out and £20 to bleed the boiler. Guess what, never gonna use or recommend him again!
11 - Be respectful of your client's house/stuff! EVERY removal company we've ever used has fallen foul of this. One company I found the guys riding my electric hover board around and playing with some of my 'toys'. And recently, I came outside and found 5 of them all huddled reading my whiteboards! These are whiteboards for my home office with all my private things on, stats/metrics and plans for world domination! Was massively intrusive. To top it off, one of the movers (who had a chip on his block from the start) said right in front of me, "We have a bit of a dreamer here lads!" That same guy even asked me why on Earth I needed to move into a bigger house!
Well, that's it for now. Rant over. Off to find a new gardener!
This post was written by a good friend of ours, Siam Kidd, who gave us permission to copy it.
He can be found here : https://www.therealistictrader.com/