A colleague of mine recently relayed the story of a restaurant she and her
husband visited while on a trip to Las Vegas. Instead of the usual glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, they opted for a local favorite, Battista’s Hole in the Wall, that has been in the same location since 1970. The food was good and the staff friendly and courteous. While dining, she noticed a sign posted near the kitchen:
“There is less to fear from outside competition than from inside inefficiency, discourtesy, and bad service.”
What does a restaurant in Las Vegas have to do with your cleaning business? Quite a lot, actually. As a longstanding business, it demonstrates the secret of success, and it’s simple: Take care of what you do, not what your competitors do.
Throughout the years, I’ve conducted innumerable bids for cleaning services with clients all over the world. These proposals generally come printed and bound, and can contain multiple tabs with all the information you would ever want to know about the companies submitting the proposals. The cost of compiling these bids and then providing multiple copies can be enormous. So, why do it?
Naturally, the companies submitting proposals want to put on the best possible face. They want to show everything they can offer to prospective clients, but also put significant emphasis on separating themselves from the competition. In fact, I’ve often seen proposals that put so much emphasis on this part of the bid that it is difficult to find answers to specific questions included in the request for proposals.
Continuous improvement is something we should all strive to achieve. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean copying everything the other guy does and trying to do it better. In fact, this can lead to a company spreading itself too thin, or worse, offering services in areas where it does not excel.
In our industry, we have something called the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), which focuses on best business practices that are noted by experts in the industry. The key word here is “standard.” Working hard to excel at industry standards—and letting your prospective clients know it—is a more effective use of time than running surveys on what other companies are offering.
We can learn a lot from the owner of that little Las Vegas restaurant. Applying consistent superior standards throughout your organization, rather than trying to match or beat the competition, will position you well with your customers and promote customer loyalty and growth.
As my colleague noted, you don’t have to spend a lot on marketing to draw in new customers if you give your current customers a consistent and outstanding experience from each member of your team.