This time of year, a lot of us are evaluating our service contracts with our current vendors. Whether its perishables, dry goods, or R&M, we all have criteria that are important to us. Most of our decisions to stay with our current provider, or go with a new vendor, are based mainly on the level of customer service, the quality of the product, and price. The best decisions are made when you trust that the vendor you have chosen is able to deliver on all three characteristics. I am assuming the customer in the example above got a smokin’ deal on his tattoo; I’m not too sure he’ll be happy with the quality.
Here are a few suggestions in determining the value of service providers:
Understand the market.
There are always numerous companies out there that provide similar services. In such, the price of the service is driven a lot by what your competitor is willing to do it for. Do some research. What you will find is that there has been a market value set for the product or service. Get a few bids from different companies. Understand why one company’s price may be higher than another. Understand how it is that another company can offer a much lower price.
If a company is promising the moon, make sure they can deliver. Who better to ask than some current customers of this company? If what they are saying is true, there should be no hesitation in them providing the name and phone number of one, or several, of their current satisfied customers. Next, give them a call. It’s not a job application where they are limited on the response they can give; they can be a candid as they want. Tell them what the vendor is promising and ask them if they deliver. Ask them how long they have been with the vendor. Be blunt and ask if you would be happy in choosing them as a vendor. Their response will tell you everything you will need to know.
I can speak directly for the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry. We have to carry and maintain a high level of liability insurance for property damage and workers compensation. In such, this carries a considerable amount of overhead. Make sure your provider carries sufficient insurance for your individual needs. We also make sure our technicians pass a background check and are drug screened. Make sure the service provider you choose understands the codes that dictate their industry. You want to feel comfortable in your decision and the vendor you choose has the knowledge and know how to get the job done right.
I’m not sure who to feel worse for, the guy getting the tattoo, or the tattoo artist himself. I hope the artist has a good place to hide after this guy finds a mirror. Bottom line is, always be warry of the lowest price bid. Arm yourself with as much information as you can to make an informed decision. Once you have decided what characteristics are important to you and you have found a vendor that can deliver on your needs, rest assured that you have found the best value.
Is the Exterior Appearance of your Facility Driving Away Potential Customers?
The outside appearance of your facility can speak volumes to a customer about the service they will be provided. We all know the saying, “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” If we face the facts, everyone does it in some form or another. iSpot.tv gives us a short description of a recent BMW television ad:
“A couple pulls up on the driveway of Sprout Brook Inn, a place they thought they could consider a cute cottage. Far from it, the inn gives a creepy vibe not to mention the crazy looking lady who’s standing on the porch. Thanks to the couple’s connection to Siri and BMW Assist, they were able to find the closest — er, farthest — five star hotel and drive away fast.”
They don’t even get out of the car. Their minds were made up as soon as they took one look at this cottage that they were not going to do any business in there, and they took their business to another hotel that they hoped they were going to get a far better first impression. Today I pose the question, what are your customer’s first impression when they drive up to your restaurant?
This can be a tough one because you go to work every day, see the same things over and over, and it’s almost like subconsciously not noticing certain areas of concern that someone. A first time customer would see an area of concern, and they would form a negative opinion of your restaurant before they even walk in. Problem areas that are very common are oil spots in the parking lot, high traffic areas of sidewalks and entrances, gum spots on pavement and driveways, ground in dirt and bird droppings on patios, visible dumpster pads that are caked with all kinds of grime, and possibly the tire burn out marks from the guy at the bar last night who wanted to let everyone know as he was leaving that he had just bought a new sport car. Now if you take a second look through the eyes of potential customers, do you see any of these areas that they might see?
We have been getting more and more requests from our current clients to clean areas outside of their restaurant such as the one mentioned before. There are many benefits in having a kitchen exhaust cleaning company doing such cleanings. The most important benefit is the relationship is already built and you already feel comfortable in the quality of service you are receiving. Second, the equipment needed to do the job and the access to your location are already built in, so the inconvenience of having to schedule two separate services is eliminated.
Finally, with the current relationship and service already in place, there is tremendous value in combined services. Many of the extra costs are not there for a service provider if they are already at a job site performing two different services. That equals a substantial savings for a restaurant operator. If outdoor pressure washing is something you are considering, ask your current kitchen exhaust cleaning company if it is a service they also provide.
Many of you are already having exterior pressure washing performed at their location because you see the many benefits of this service. If you have never had parking lot power washing performed, you would be amazed in the transformation. And just think, if you come into work the next day and have a WOW moment from looking at the renewed exterior just think of the reaction from your customers.