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Category: Client Experience

Do You Know What An AOB Is?

Do You Know What An AOB Is?

Sign the Contract
Sign the Contract




An AOB is a good way for scammers to take advantage and rip-off unsuspecting homeowners after a CAT type loss like Hurricane Mathew.

AOB stands for Assignment Of Benefits. And in some states can essentially mean that by signing one, an insured is giving away their rights to any monies that are released by their insurance company in accordance with their insurance policy to another person. In this case to a contractor who is supposed to fix their home after damages have occurred.

This can be a really good thing and make paying for services rendered an easier process for not only the contractor but the insured as well.

Unfortunately it can also make it very difficult for a good, reputable, qualified restoration contractor to get clients to hire them to do the restoration work that they so desperately need help with.

Several insurance companies are putting articles on their websites warning their insureds to not sign these forms and cautioning people to be wary of anyone coming to their door offering to do storm work for them. This is understandable under the circumstances but this will also make it increasingly more difficult to get your foot in the door as a contractor.

But if you make sure that you have a few things in place and step up your game just a bit you could be signing all the jobs you can handle.

Here are three things you need to make sure that you do to put your potential clients at ease and have them asking “where do I sign”:

1. Offer a guarantee on your workmanship. If you won’t stand by your work why should a homeowner hire you? Do not be afraid to stand behind your work. If you and your team are properly trained and have the right equipment to do the work and do it right, then you have no reason not to offer an awesome guarantee to put your potential clients concerns at ease. Take away the fear of doing business with you and your company.

2. Show them social proof. Bring a tablet with you that you can use to show a potential client what others have to say about you. Pull up your website, Facebook Page and your Youtube Channel. This will show them that you have credibility and that you have lots of happy clients that are recommending you to others. And what others have to say about you is infinitely more believable than anything you could say about yourself.

3. Ask them to tell you their story. People need to feel understood and cared about or they won’t feel like they can trust you. And if you are an out of state company that is coming in after a large catastrophe like a hurricane you will need to work harder than a local company to gain their trust and their signature. In the first few minutes of a conversation you need to ask them “can you tell me what happened”? Now that might seem silly when we know a hurricane just hit the area but its not. Everyones circumstance and story are different in some way. Letting them share their individual experience will give you a good foundation to start building trust and creating a connection.

Remember you are going to be dealing with people that are in shock and traumatized.

What they need most from you is understanding and hope.

And for the restoration contractor that provides both for their clients there will be huge success!

The Hazards Of Restoration On A Hoarder Job

The Hazards Of Restoration On A Hoarder Job

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When it comes to dealing with a fire there are many challenges. And if you find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with a homeowner who has been hoarding, there will be unique challenges that you will need to navigate.

There are lots of articles that have been written going in-depth on the psychological side of hoarding and its impact. It would serve you well to read some of them if you are going to tackle contents cleaning jobs that involve a hoarder so you are better equipped to help your client on a psychological level in these types of scenarios.

People become hoarders for many reasons:

  • Depression (by far the most common)
  • Trauma (death, divorce, abuse, loss of some kind)
  • OCD/ADD/ADHD
  • Heredity (grew up in a hoarding home) and Genetics
  • Fear of becoming poor
  • Fear of forgetting (items hold memories)
  • Perfectionists (until they find the perfect spot for something….)
  • Don’t want to be wasteful
  • Brain Injuries/Stroke/Anneurysm
  • Dimentia
  • To Push Others Away/Safety
  • Kleptomania/Impulse Control
  • And literally hundreds of other reasons

Understanding these reasons will go a long way in helping you understand your client and how best to handle the cleanup with them.

Here is a recent article that I wrote for Restoration and Remediation Magazine where I go into the steps that are necessary to be able to handle a job like this.

Check it out and let me know what experience you have had working in a home where someone has been hoarding.

Don’t Make This Mistake In Your Business

Don’t Make This Mistake In Your Business


It is a huge mistake and one that is quite easy to make even for a seasoned veteran.

Don’t let your knowledge and expertise get in the way of helping your client with what they need from you the most.





Do You Think I Am A Ten??

Do You Think I Am A Ten??

I often wonder if business owners ever ask their clients this question.

Think about it…

When was the last time you were asked by a service based business how you would rate them say on a scale of 1-10? 10 being AWESOME!

I am guessing your answer is probably never.

I’m not sure why they don’t ask us. I mean don’t they want to know what we want so they can give us more of it?? If they aren’t making us happy wouldn’t they want to know they aren’t??

I had one business tell me they didn’t ask because they thought it might open them up to more complaints…REALLY!!

That kind of mentality is business suicide.

In this connected world that we live in today you can bet your bottom dollar that if your clients are not happy with you or your service they are tweeting, Facebooking and texting about it to all of their sphere of influence not just there friends and family. So you had better be asking them to tell you first so you can do something about it.

It continually blows my mind when I dine out or when I am standing at a cash register and the person taking my money from me doesn’t look me in the eye or speak directly to me let alone ask me how my experience with them has been for me.

I don’t owe you my money. No one is forcing me to spend it with you it is what I am choosing to do. So I expect you to acknowledge me and make me feel good about handing over my hard earned money to you. I expect you to provide me with immense value and you had better stand behind what you sell me or I am gonna call you on it.

And when you do all these things that tell me you actually care and that I am not just a bank deposit to you, I will give you my loyalty for life. In fact I will tweet, Facebook and tell my entire sphere of influence and anyone else that will listen about my experience with you.

And I will do this because you will stand out as being VERY different than the others.

Because I will never forget how you made me feel like I matter and that I made a difference when I did business with you.

You might think I am arrogant and who am I to say these things and try to put these requirements on you and your business.

And why should you care what I think anyway right??

Because I am your customer…and possibly your biggest fan.



The Devastation Is Far From Over

The Devastation Is Far From Over





On October 29th Super Storm Sandy hit the United States devastating New Jersey and New York as well as wreeking havac on 22 other states before calling it quits.

After many lives were lost and millions were left without power the worst seemed to be over.

But is it really??

Personal Belongings On The Curb

The waves are no longer crashing into the shore and the winds have stopped blowing but the storm is far from over for those left behind .

In fact for some the nightmare has only just begun.

Streets Are LIttered With Peoples Lives

These pictures were taken by Travis Coy who is currently in New York working long hours helping people save their homes from further damage.

It is hard to imagine the kind of hopelessness that you might feel when home, the place that you once felt safe and secure in, where those you love gathered and created memories together is now ripped to pieces or covered in contamination. No longer the place you can rest in and get peace.

No the nightmare is far from over. Now the cleaning, demolition, repairing, logging of lost belongings and tears for what is lost that can never be replaced has only just begun.

And to top it off all those affected with loss from Sandy have to figure out how to handle things with their insurance company while trying to understand a policy that they probably never glanced more than cursory while sitting in their agents office signing on the dotted line.

It is the responsibility of a restoration contractor to help their client walk thru the insurance claim process and understand what they need to do when dealing with their adjuster.

Now having said that, you would never want to speak to the terms of the insurance policy or state wether or not something would or would not be covered unless the adjuster has told you so. This can be a slippery sloap that can put you in a deep hole quite quickly and have you at odds not only with the adjuster but the homeowner as well.

In these kinds of conditions you will also find lots of homeowners that have no insurance or at least no coverages for such a storm. And they have just possibly lost everything that they own with no hope of being able to replace any of it.

Anyone affected by such a major catastrophic storm will be emotional, irrational and dealing with alot of stress.

Give them a lot of grace, kindness and hope.

It’s what they need more than anything and you are the one that can give it to them.

In my opinion it’s the greatest service y9u can provide.

I’m sure you were probably expecting me to talk about dryng out contents, logging destroyed items and bagging up laundry. That is indeed important and a huge part of our job but I will always insist it is not the important part.

To all of those who are there in the front lines, including my amazing son Travis that are helping those in need make sense of it all while putting lives back together you should know that you are making a difference.

And you are why I love this industry so much!!

If You Want Your Clients To Buy From You Then Stand Behind What You Are Selling Unconditionally

If You Want Your Clients To Buy From You Then Stand Behind What You Are Selling Unconditionally

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I recently had an amazing experience with a customer care department of a large international coffee machine company. The day started out pretty normal with me making a double shot americano in my kitchen when something good happened to me.

My espresso machine quit working.

Doesn’t sound like something good does it?

But that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

And all because of Marie.

I tried a couple trouble shooting tips from the owners manual with no luck so I called the customer care number to see if a tech could help me.

After 2 rings I was transfered to a directory that asked me to select the correct department for my particular machine and then it started ringing again. Now Remember I still have not had my morning Java so I was let’s say maybe a little cranky at this point and was impatiently waiting to be put on hold till the next agent could help me.

But to my surprise the phone was answered…by a person not a machine!! And her name was Marie. She asked me what happened and upon finding out that I had been robbed of my morning cup of heavan she immediately apologized and walked me thru some diagnostic steps.

After about 5 minutes of trying to get the machine to reprogram and function properly she asked me when and where I had purchased my machine. I told her about 18 months ago at William Sonoma. Marie then informed me of a fact that I was already aware of and that was that I was 6 months outside of my warranty. 🙁

At this point she asked me if I would mind holding for a minute. While on a very brief hold I was contemplating how I might get my morning fix and suddenly she was back.

With some pretty amazing news.

She told me that her manager was allowing her to email me a fedex pre paid label so I could ship my machine to NY and that she would send me another brand new machine in its place!!

They were actually honoring their warranty even though I was six months outside of it.

I was beyond surprised and happy! And Marie even asked me if I could find another way to have my morning coffee for the next 7 days until she could get my new machine to me.

How awesome is she. 🙂

Needless to say I will be their client for LIFE and a raving fan forever.

And I ask you…

What are you doing to make your clients feel like this?

Do you really put thier needs and concerns first and foremost?

What can you change or do even better in this arena?

One of the things we do at Mobile Clean is we unconditionally guarantee that when we are done cleaning there will be no odor. If there is a problem with odor we come back and re-clean and re-inspect for free. This really blows clients away when you put out a powerful promise like this.

In almost 16 years we have only been called back twice. Once was a hot water tank that the odor came back in and the adjuster just replaced it and the other time we recleaned some kitchen cabinets and all was good.

Our clients should never fear doing business with us or fear that we won’t stand behind our work or product.

Too many companies today focus on the transaction not the life time value of a client.

After my coffee machine experience I am even more determined to step up my game and take care of my client warranty or not.

How To Build Relationships With Clients

How To Build Relationships With Clients





You would think that building a relationship with a client would be easy and come naturally to most businesses but it does not. In fact many businesses are terrible at building relationships.

Why?

Because they fail to do the one thing that they have to do in order to develop a good, solid, long lasting relationship and that is to make a connection.

A client wants nothing more than to feel that their needs, wants and concerns are cared about and that they will be cared about in the process. A client isn’t stupid either. They will know if you are just going thru the motions or if you are genuine. They can tell if you really care about them or if you just want their check to clear. The motto “fake it till you make it” won’t work for you in this instance. Your client has a choice and you want to be their choice every time hands down.

Think about it. How many times have you walked into a business and felt like you mattered? An even scarier question, how many times have you walked into a business and knew immediately that you didn’t matter at all?

There are companies small and large that do this beautifully.

You know the ones.

There is the coffer shop that has your drink made before you even step thru the door. The car wash that remembers your favorite fresh car smell and makes sure that the driver’s seat is always put back in your favorite spot before you get in to drive away. And even the online store that ships your orders to you next day for free.

You go back to these places and would never consider going anywhere else because you have a connection with them and know that your needs, wants and ultimately your happiness matters to them. That you matter to them.

So how do you make a strong, solid, long lasting connection?

1. Create Outrageous Value~ Give your client over the top outrageous value. Deliver above and beyond their expectations and deliver more than you promise to the point that they think WOW every time they interact with you or your business.

2. Ask Them What They Want~ Don’t sit and wonder what your client wants or needs or worse yet think you already know. Check in them to make sure you are both on the same page. Ask them what they want from you and then give it to them.

3. Listen When They Talk~ You client knows better than anyone what you need to do to connect with them. So ask them constantly. Check in verbally often and then take action on what they tell you. If you don’t they will know you really do not care and they will feel you aren’t listening to them.

4. Atmosphere~ Make sure that the culture and atmosphere in your company makes your clients feel welcome and cared about. Even if your business doesn’t have a retail store front and you only talk to clients on the phone this is vital. Atmosphere is portrayed in your décor, cleanliness, tone of voice, words, smile, actions and location of a retail establishment. Be sure it says you matter.

5. Education Based Marketing~ Your client is not a mindless drone. They are a person who wants to be able to do the right thing and make an informed decision when it comes to spending their money. So it is your job to inform them why your business is the best place for them to spend their money and there is no better way to do that than to educate them about your product, service, etc. and what they need to be looking for from you. It’s a great way to ethically brag about yourself and your business while creating reciprocity with your clients.

6. Be Ethical~ Creating a strong company culture that always puts ethics first. If you want a relationship and connection with your clients then they have to know, like and trust you. Never waver on this. If a client feels treated badly and lets face it, this can happen in the best of businesses, fix it immediately. Once you have lost a clients trust it can be all but impossible to earn it back.

Gone are the days of transactions in business. Clients are way savvier than that and demand that you earn their respect and their money by being in a relationship with them. And the good news is that there are so many terrible businesses out there doing just the opposite that they actually make it quite easy for someone like you that cares and wants to connect to swoop in and be the hero.

If you nail this in your business you will be guaranteed success and never worry about competition again.



The Difference Between The Client And The Customer

The Difference Between The Client And The Customer





Before we can talk about the difference between the client and the customer I thought we should look up the definition of each.

And this is what I found:

A Customer:A person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business. A party that receives or consumes products

A Client: One that is under the protection of another :dependant on.

This really fits how I describe the difference between the two. You see a customer is a transaction and a client is a relationship.

Customers are what we get when we take a persons money and do nothing to create a connection with them and not worry about ever getting them to spend their money again with us sometime in the future.

A Client is what we create when we make a connection and build a relationship with a person or business that can benefit from using our products or services. It’s what we get when we get to know the person who may someday hand us over their hard earned money knowing that we will be there for them and take good care of them. A Client is what we create when we create an experience around the relationship we build with them.

So ask yourself…Do I have customers or clients in my business?

I hope you answered the latter. If not you need to go back to the drawing board and create a system that enables you to turn those customers into relationships.

To really get the magnitude of this topic you really need to think about the lifetime value of a client vs. just having a customer.

Let’s use a pest control business as an example. Say an average client will spend $150 a year on services keeping the bugs away. And let’s say your average client is with your for 10 years and refers another 5 clients to use your services. That is a lifetime value of $9000.

Now let’s consider that you treat this client like a customer instead and they only have a transaction with you not a relationship and that one transaction goes badly. It is estimated that customers will tell twice as many people about a bad experience than a good one. So that means that by having this person or business as a customer not a client you just lost $16,500! As you can see having customers not clients has an exponential effect on your bottom line. Now if you are a Restoration contractor you can add another zero or two to this equation.

Not to mention is costs a lot more money to get a client than to keep one. Let’s talk about keeping a client.

In order to get a client you need to build a relationship in the first place. To be able to keep a client and have them referring their family and friends you need nurture and care for that relationship on a regular basis. The way we build relationships are thru experiences.

“People may not remember exactly what you said or did but they will always remember how you made them feel” Tony Hsieh

The question then to ask yourself is how are you making your clients feel before, during and after doing business with you?

Do they feel important?

Do they feel that you care about them?

Do they feel like they can trust you?

These are such critical questions that we all as business owners need to explore. Do we have the customer or the client?

A book that I would highly recommend you put on your must read book list is The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli. This book has the principles to help you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary for your clients who will love you for years and years to come.

How To Make Sure Your Client Is Happy

How To Make Sure Your Client Is Happy

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The best way to make sure your client is happy is to ask them. Every business should be gathering feedback from their clients. A really good way to do this is to ask for a testimonial at the end of every experience with your company.

You can do this in a variety of ways. It can be gotten in writing or maybe even in video format. Video is my favorite because it is so powerful to see and hear people talking about how fantastic your company is rather than reading words. This can be difficult to get as some people are just too shy and don’t want to be on camera in which case a written testimonial will suffice.

There are two reasons why getting a testimonial are so important. One is you will have social proof that your company is a rock star and that your clients are happy with your products or services. The other is you will definitely know if you are doing everything right for your clients and more importantly what you are doing wrong.

Why is knowing the wrong more important?

Because then you can fix it. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken right?

Too many businesses just assume that they are delivery what their clients want and don’t ask them. Getting a testimonial is also very powerful for your Team or Staff as well. If your Team members know that they are expected to gather a testimonial from each and every client asking how their experience was don’t you think they are going to be very focused on taking extraordinary care of their clients so they gat a raving review?

This is also very powerful for your clients especially if you and your Team let them know at the beginning of your relationship with them that you will wow them with an exceptional experience as you plan on getting an outstanding testimonial from them at the end. This is a great way to set the tone for the client right in the beginning letting them know that you plan to wow them. It also let’s them know that you care and that they are not just money going into your bank account. Their feelings matter to you as the owner and that is how you make a connection.

Once you gather these testimonials you need to read each and every one of them. If there are improvements to be made do them immediately. If you and your Team are doing certain things that your clients love then do more of them.

Trust me this will set you apart from the majority of businesses today. Think about it. How many times have you been asked by a business that you just gave your money to if you had an extraordinary experience with them? I’ll bet not too many. Most businesses are afraid to ask because the answer might me I’m not happy. How powerful is that to know? It may be more important than knowing what you are doing right. Because you can be doing 5 things right and doing just 1 wrong thing may be what’s turning your clients away.

I would be willing to bet that some of the answers that you get will shock you. You have to remember that you are not your client and what may be important to you they may not really care about. But what you will also find out is the little details that really do matter to them.

It’s important to not create work for your clients in this process. Make this an easy thing for them to do. Have a written set of questions for them to answer with an area at the bottom of your form for them to just share any thoughts with you that they would like to.

Here are a few examples of some questions to ask when gathering testimonials:

  1. What product or service did you buy from Xyz Company?
  2. Would you do business with Xyz Company again?
  3. How did you hear about us?
  4. What were one or two important benefits that you got from Xyz Company?
  5. How could we have made your experience with our company any better?
  6. Will you recommend our product or services to others?
  7. Anything else you would like to share about your experience with Xyz Company?

These are just few examples but I think you get the idea. You want to also have an opening sentence or two explaining why their feedback is important as well as a thank you statement at the end.

The little details that you will derive from these testimonials will help you create the most amazing experience yet for your clients.

This is so important for us to be able to make a real connection with our clients especially in restoration work. We deal with our clients at a very emotional and difficult time in thier lives. They have never needed our understanding, compassion and to know that we care about them then right now.

And that is where the magic happens.

In the little details that make your client feel special, taken care of and like they matter to you. You can give them hope that things will be normal again soon. These details may be something that you would never think of on your own and you wouldn’t know if you didn’t ask.

And the not knowing could be the difference between your success and your failure to give your clients a WOW! experience.