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The Three A’s – Part 2: Accessibility

In my last message we looked at the first of the “Three A’s” my new found doctor friend at the Kansas City airport shared with me.

His second “A” stands for Accessible as in: “How accessible do you make yourself to your customers?”

When it comes to our health, we all want the reassurance of knowing that our doctor can be reached if we have a medical emergency. Does he have a 24-hour emergency phone number? If our doctor isn’t available, is there another doctor on call who we can trust?

Emergencies aside, how accessible is our doctor when it comes to scheduling routine visits? Is she so busy that it takes us months to get an appointment to see her? Once we do get in to see her, is she so over-worked and over-scheduled that we feel rushed and that we’re not given the attention we feel we need?

Not every medical concern is an emergency or requires an office visit. Sometimes we have simple questions that can be answered over the phone. How accessible is our doctor to address our questions on the phone?

Now let’s bring home all  these questions to our business in the cleaning industry. It doesn’t matter what sector you serve- carpet cleaning, restoration, janitorial or concrete prep- our customers share one desire in common…

Yes, we must realize that our customers’ desire for Instant Connectivity has become part of their daily lives. Whether it’s their kids, their spouse, or their doctors, they expect to be able to reach someone whenever they want.

NOTE:  If you have any doubt about this obsession with Instant Connectivity just take a look at your company’s mobile phone bill and check out the number of minutes on your employees’ phones! And while you are at it reflect on how your employee’s texting/cell phone addiction appears to your customers!

Guess what?  Your customers’ need for instant connectivity extends to their service providers and that means YOU! If you’ve been in business any length of time, I’m sure you can tell several stories about losing a job because a customer wasn’t able to reach you. As is so often the case, it isn’t always the guy who’s the best at what he does (Ability) who gets the job. It’s the guy who happens to have his pager or mobile phone on (Accessibility).

But what about non-emergency issues your customer has? Here I’m talking about everyday items like scheduling work, or giving progress reports on the large project you’re doing for your customer, or simply answering routine questions your customer has. How accessible is your company for these items?

Freeing yourself from the feeling that you have to be available for your customers 24/7 starts with developing your people. Most business issues and customer inquiries don’t require 20 years of experience and extensive training to address. So get your new people up to speed quickly. And keep them up to date by providing ongoing training opportunities for them.

Obviously no one person can be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have any balance in their lives. But, you can create the feeling of being accessible—and give your customers the time and attention they need—with a little thought and planning…and an awareness that accessibility is a key buying motive for your customers.

Stay tuned for next time … our third and last “A” is Affability.

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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