An Idea From America
A Great Idea From America
If you’re feeling that things could perhaps be a bit better in the UK market at the moment, spare a thought for our American friends.
On a recent trip to the US I met with some of the managers of many of the top home improvement companies in the states. Many companies are reporting business is down 40% or more from last year, and are making the necessary adjustments. One of the frustrating things to them is that the price of houses has deflated so much that a home “improvement” no longer seems like such a smart investment. According to CBS News there are now over 2 MILLION vacant properties in the US – so it really is a buyer’s market. In some parts of the US you can now buy a house for $5000 or less!
However, with their optimism, energy and imagination they’re facing up to the challenges in a typically American way.
A Great Idea!
One great idea I heard was used by a sunroom company in the US. A month or so after a job is complete, they call the customer and arrange to come in for a complimentary service visit. They park up their shiny clean sign-written van (with logo, contact details, web site etc), and two neatly dressed “installers” get out (neat ironed cotton shirts with logo emblazoned on the pocket – no ripped jeans covered in mastic in this game). They then give the windows and roof a thorough clean, check all of the locks, fly screens etc and make sure the customer is totally satisfied. Finally they leave them a small gift. The whole process takes an hour or so.
The company who suggested this said that their referral rate had rocketed since they started to do this and it was now ingrained into their business.
A word of warning – clever marketing like this isn’t going to help in the long term unless you’ve got a GREAT product and GREAT service to go with it!
I've heard of this being tried some time ago in the UK, but I'm not sure how successful it was. The key is in the planning.
If you decide to try this, please let me know how you get on. If you know others who might find this useful, please pass it on!
How do I act on this?
I'm not sure if this would work for you, but I think the important idea is to carry on doing the stuff that works, and replace stuff that isn't working with something else. Start small, keep the risk and costs low and see what you can do. If it fails, you'll have learnt from it, and if succeeds, great!