Magical Mystery Tour: Trip through your company’s procedures and see the resulting image
At Plumbing Doctor, we recently commissioned a company to do a scientific survey of one of the markets we serve. The results were eye-opening and valuable.
As business owners and brand managers it is important we have a realistic perception of our company and brand in the marketplace.
You can think very highly of your brand and even be arrogant about what you think of its power in the market and be completely wrong. The only opinion of your brand that matters is that of the consumer.
From time to time it’s necessary to step back from day-to-day business operations and evaluate the effectiveness of your systems and what your brand speaks to the marketplace. You will get a more objective, unbiased report if you hire a neutral third party to do this for you.
Evaluate what you’re doing
It is well known in the marketing world people will form an opinion of you or your product in seven seconds. That’s right — seven seconds. When you walk into a restaurant for the first time you will form an opinion in seven seconds whether it’s going to be a good experience. You will pick up on the odor, ambience, cleanliness and friendliness in seven seconds. If you test drive a new car you have made up your mind in seven seconds whether or not you like it. If you’re shopping for a spouse, you form an opinion within seven seconds on your first date. It is no different when it comes to a consumer engaging your company. You have seven seconds to convince the client that they have made the right choice.
Use the seven-second rule to do a self-examination of your company. Do this by taking what I call a “Magical Mystery Tour” of your operation. This tour will turn mystery into reality.
Start by evaluating the marketing and advertising you are doing or not doing. This is your attempt to get the phone to ring. Is it consistent and is it sending a clear message of whom you are and what you do? Most importantly is it easy for the prospective client to locate your phone number?
Cant’cha smell that smell?
Next, take a listen to how your phone is answered. Just because your marketing and advertising efforts get the phone to ring doesn’t mean you are a success. The phone call is likely the first human interaction the prospect has with your company. For heaven’s sake, answer the phone before the third ring and not with a machine, voice mail or answering service. Use a script and make sure the person who is answering the phone has been properly trained. This first contact will cause the caller to form an opinion of the entire experience with your company in seven seconds.
Ok, you set the call. You get no second chance to form a first impression. This next part of the tour is critical. It is the first face-to-face meeting with the client and it is at their home. The expectation has already been set because of the phone call. This step is where you can make or break the brand promise to your client. Are you on time? Is your vehicle trade dressed and easily identifiable? Is your representative trade dressed and easily identifiable? Are they clean or are they filthy with a mouth to match? Do they smell like cigarettes, pot and alcohol? Are they going to be welcomed cheerfully into the house? Seven seconds to win or lose the mind and heart of your client is all you get.
Continue the tour by evaluating your in-the-home procedures. You should have a procedure that is consistent and disarming to the client. The initial paperwork should be neat and in order, as well as quick and easy to understand. This document should include a consent to perform the work as well as the agreed upon price. I could write for hours about how to ascertain the proper price for what you are offering, but let’s just leave it at this: don’t give them a price you pulled out of thin air. It is a Magical Mystery Tour, but the way you come up with a price should not look like a magic trick and there should be nothing mysterious about it. Present your price from a printed or electronic menu pricing system.
In addition to the initial paperwork, there will be final paperwork. This is the part of the tour where you add a value proposition to the client. It is where you apply the golden handcuffs; which is simply a method of connecting the client to your company for life. The best way to do this is with some type of service agreement program. This program must add value for the client or they will feel as if you are hard selling them and attempting to give them a life sentence. The final paperwork also includes the ease or difficulty in which you collect payment. Is it cash and check only? Will you accept a credit card? Will you accept only Visa and MasterCard or will accept Discover and American Express as well? The idea here is to make it easy for your client to spend money with you. The easier you make it, the more they are likely to spend.
The tour ends as you are on your way back to the starting point, which is your shop or place of business. There is a smile on your face because you have collected the money and you are proud of a job well done. Congratulations. But wait! There is more. The tour is not quite over.
The tour really ends at the shop but only after you have prepared yourself to repeat the entire process again tomorrow. This is the restocking procedure. You cannot run out of invoices, business cards, coupons, magnets, stickers, door hangers or any other leave behind collateral while out in the field.
You also cannot run out of parts. The most important component of the restocking procedure is truck inventory. You must have inventory on the service vehicle and you must have knowledge of what inventory is on the truck. There is a non-magical rule of thumb here. If you don’t have it on the truck, you can’t offer it and your customer can’t buy it. The last part of your day should be spent restocking every single SKU that you sold today. Restock, refuel and get ready to relaunch tomorrow.
This concludes the “Magical Mystery Tour.” Satisfaction guaranteed.
The Doctor is out.