Your Business Reputation: Something to Talk About

The phrase “His name is mud” came from the story about a man named Samuel Mudd who was thought to be a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. His conviction was later overturned, but nonetheless, the phrase stuck with him and for more than a hundred years later.

How do you want to be thought of or remembered? It’s really within your control how you will create lasting impressions. The best way to secure a solid lasting business reputation is to adhere to a code of conduct of how you live your life. Take a long hard look at yourself; your ideals, values, and beliefs. These are the essential principles that dictate how you will conduct your business.

If you follow these steadfast business rules your business reputation will be at the top of its game:

• Always offer over-the-top service.
• Be on time. If not, let someone know pronto.
• Keep your promises – always. Otherwise, don’t make them.
• Pay on time. If you can’t, negotiate with your vendors. Least of all, don’t hide.
• Take care of your employees and they will take care of you.
• Admit your mistakes and move on.
• Learn to say no.
• Speak less than others. But when you do make it count.

You may say, “These rules are easy!” If they were so easy then why do so many businesses fall short of them? It’s because too many business owners reject the idea of ‘living’ a sound set of principles or standards. They fail to understand that a business reputation is more than a chart or the bottom line of your financial statement.

As business is about people so is your business reputation. People don’t care what your bottom line says as long as they feel they can trust you. They don’t care if you’re the size of Dell or McDonald’s. Your customers value you as a local business as much as the largest online company. They will listen not only to online reviews but to what their neighbor or fellow church-goer has to say about you and your business.

When you follow these simple rules they will make a difference in three areas: how you are seen by others, how your employees see you and how you feel about yourself. And believe me, how you feel about yourself and your business will dictate what others see.

It takes years to build a decent business reputation. It’s similar to building a close friendship – founded on trust, honesty and loyalty. As you grow and your business matures your may or may not be the richest woman in the neighborhood but you will be at peace with yourself. The objective in life is not only to make a pile of money but to get pleasure from the journey towards your goals.

Using Google AdWords To Achieve Internet Business Success

There’s such a thing as search engine advertising. It’s a kind of paid advertising that often eludes many online marketers. Regardless of business size or audience-type that your products attract, there’s room for you in search engine marketing. It could be just what you need to boost profits as well as margins. This applies to successful Internet entrepreneurs and online marketers alike. You can’t afford to not be familiar with Google AdWords.

Considering Google AdWords

To succeed using Google AdWords, consider the tips mentioned below.

  • Perform mini-campaigns prior to finalizing decisions – This is rule number one for any advertiser. The main reason for advertising is to transform potential customers into actual customers. If your adverts aren’t doing that, get rid of them. Run tests of five, 10 or 25 different advertisements and find out which one yields the most conversions and webpage views. Focus on that one ad and tweak it until the conversion rate makes it worth 10 times its cost.
  • Choose keywords that are representative of your Internet business – Keywords generally translate into competitiveness. Although this is an excellent yardstick for determining who will see your advert, it’s not necessarily the best way to ensure your ads convert into actual sales. When selecting keywords for running an AdWords offensive on, see to it that they satisfy two things: attracting huge amounts of searches and reflecting the business accurately. Losing either or both factors means kissing a significant number of prospective customers goodbye.
  • Run adverts for research – It’s important to determine what works on the Net and what doesn’t. For this you need to perform a preemptive Google AdWords action. Pick out five potential advert tag lines or product names. This enables you to create an advert that doesn’t simply capture attention, but is extremely optimized and performs well. Don’t just hope for the best. Do your homework, making sure everything you run is solidly backed by results.
  • Perform cost-benefit analyses on all Google AdWords campaigns you do – If you’ve got adverts that aren’t converting in dramatic quantities, rethink using them. Are they really worth it? Remove advertisements that are not profitable. Ads that merely break even should be reconsidered in terms of whether they’re worth the investment and time. Figure out the opportunity costs when figuring out how well adverts are truly doing.
  • Ditch non-converting adverts pronto – Money can’t always bail you out. Lose ads that are not working. Concentrate then simplify. When running 12 different adverts and only four are getting the conversions job done, toss out those that are not performing. Train your sights on what’s already working and not on stuff that need fixing. Remember – you lack the resources to do massive campaigns so just focus on smaller ones that deliver the best results.

People intent on putting their business on the online map better take Google AdWords seriously. It can greatly enhance their Internet presence. Apply the above tips to your Web business and soon you’ll be raking in big bucks for your efforts.

Expand Your Window Washing Business By Employing Some Solid Customer Service Tips And Techniques!

Have you ever heard the saying “Success is 90% attitude and only 10% aptitude”?

You may be thinking what in the world does this have to do with window washing and customer service. Well by working on becoming tops in customer service, you are automatically developing a more positive attitude which in turn generates more success for your window washing business.

If, on the other hand, we let the little irritating things creep in or those grumpy customers affect our outlook, then our attitudes take a nose dive. If that happens, our good customer service usually takes a
dive right along with it.

I’ve listed below 3 things that can really make your customer service shine through:

1. Communication…

Lack of communication is probably my biggest pet peave when dealing with most businesses. Maybe you feel the same way (or maybe you don’t) but I just feel it is so rude to leave a customer hanging in the breeze.

How many times have you contacted someone or some company and set up an appointment for them to come over and do some work, or set up an appointment for an estimate, and lo and behold they not only don’t show, but to make matters worse, they don’t even provide you a courtesy phone call.

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times this has happened to me personally. It’s like they can’t be bothered to at least contact you and let you know they’re running late or whatever.

I place “communication” on the top of my customer service list in terms of importance. When you communicate properly, the amount of goodwill you are generating in your window cleaning business can be tremendous.

For example, the night before your scheduled jobs I recommend placing phone calls to your customers as a little reminder that you’ll be swinging by to do their job at such and such a time the next day.

If you’re running late for an appointment, give ’em a call and tell them so. It’s simply inconsiderate to make your window washing customers wonder and wait. So go ahead and create some positive vibes by making a quick 30 second phone call telling them you’re running a tad behind schedule and will be there shortly. They’ll appreciate it and be impressed you cared enough to call.

And contrary to what some window washers think, prospects need to be communicated with also. Yeah I know this is about customer service, but I wanted to throw in a little blurb about prospect service since it’s not talked about too much.

If you give a prospect an estimate and they need to talk it over with a spouse or just “think about it”, it’s super important that you give them a call in 2 to 3 days. It’ll give you a huge leg up over your competition because most of your competitors don’t know how to communicate properly, so they’ll wait
for the prospect to call them. Beat ’em to the punch and close the deal.

And if you’re running late for an estimate, give the prospect a call. All customers start out as prospects, so if you fall down on prospect service with a prospect, you may never get the opportunity to even use good customer service with him or her because they won’t turn into a customer.

So excellent communication with both prospects and customers = more business + more repeat
business + more satisfied customers. Can’t ask for anything more than that.

2. Treat your customer like a close friend…

I’ve been in restaurants and stores where I see waitresses and store clerks just sleep walking through the motions of doing their jobs. That is until a friend or a favorite customer comes in. At that point, they
smile, perk up, and become a different person.

I’m sure you’ve seen the same thing.

But if you can express that kind of friendliness and enthusiasm to ALL customers, you have a tremendous advantage. Why would a customer ever leave you and your company to try an unknown window washer? They won’t.

I’ve had invites to barbecues and family functions from my customers, ended up playing ping pong, foosball, and other games with some of my customers after window cleaning jobs, been asked to join them for dinner after a window cleaning job was done, etc. etc.

So be warm, friendly, and fuzzy, and you’ll gain the loyalty of your customer’s business forever, or at least until they move. :o)

3. Be a customer diplomat…

Being a customer diplomat really involves everything we talked about previously plus some additional aspects to give you even higher marks when it comes to great customer service.

I’m talking about doing a superb window cleaning job, having outstanding communication skills, handling any and all customer service issues or complaints pronto, and anything else that involves trying to make the customer super satisfied.

I stress being a customer service diplomat because most of our profit is derived from repeat business. So we need to go the extra mile to make sure they want us back many times over.

But what about difficult customers?

The beauty of our business is that the vast majority of our customers are quality people who will appreciate our efforts, our service, and our commitment to them.

BUT…there’s always that rare customer out there who feels they have all the answers and wants to duke it out with you over your pricing, your service, etc.

My first response is to definitely not get into some kind of an argument. Be cool, calm, and collected. It’s amazing how fast a person will back down if you can explain your position clearly and with confidence.

Recently, a window washer I know got stuck with what he called “The Negotiators”. Two different customers who were looking for free services, cheaper pricing, or a combination of both.

But in the end by sticking to his guns, he and both customers ended up winners. Paul actually ended up making MORE money on one of the jobs and received glowing reviews from the customer saying he hasn’t seen his windows that clean in 20 years.

The other negotiator, an attorney, said this after the job was done: “You did a really good job on my windows, Thank You! I want you to do the rest of my house and I want you to do my mother’s house too.”

And the icing on the cake was him receiving a referral from this attorney for him to do another attorney’s house.

So the moral of the story is when you run up against a difficult customer or a “negotiator” as Paul calls ’em, be firm, be specific, and be confident. We provide a valuable service done in a professional manner. All we need to do is prove it to the customer.

Worst case scenario…just walk away. I know it’s hard sometimes to walk away from business but I’ve “fired” customers before if I felt that a customer was not only going overboard in his or her demands but also doing it in a rude manner. It’s not worth it.

Anyway…if you need to fire a customer or walk away from a prospect, do it as a last resort obviously, but also remember that there is a boatload of glass out there to clean, so your area is filled to the brim with lots and lots of other prospects.

To close this talk about customer service…

Really focus a lot of your energies on the somewhat boring concept of customer service. I have seen poor customer service literally destroy businesses into the ground and I have seen businesses flourish by providing excellent customer service.

And as I stated above, the fact that our business is repeat in nature, customer service is even more important.

So be a customer diplomat. As I’m sure you’ve all heard, word of mouth is the best advertisement, so just imagine what kind of great things will be said by your customers on the receiving end of your
outstanding customer service.

This really will take your business to new heights while all the non-customer service oriented window washing businesses out there are whistling in the weeds wondering what’s going on and where all their window washing customers went to.

To your Success,

Steve