The last couple of years have been definitely exciting for the restoration industry. Not only have we been hit with a global pandemic and basically a worldwide shutdown of most businesses, we have also seen a sudden awareness of just how important restorative cleaning really is and what it means to our health.
This has garnered the cleaning side of our industry a lot of attention and caused a sharp increase in the demand for qualified and skilled restorative cleaners when it comes to handling an insurance loss in someone’s home or business.
With Google and Youtube at their fingertips our clients are self-educating themselves and are becoming more aware than ever before of the magic “5” and they want answers.
With that in mind, if we are going to stay on top of our game in this niche of the restoration industry, we better be educating our clients using Google and Youtube so the answers they get to those questions are the right ones that lead them directly to us.
I see two big trends coming for 2023. The first is eliminating stress and headaches in our business. The second is getting the phone to ring without doing program work or dealing with TPAs.
2023: the Year of Eliminating Stress or Headaches - Education Through Client Onboarding
If you are on my Youtube channel or have watched any Ask Annissa videos on the Restoration and Remediation website, you have heard me talk about the importance of client onboarding. It’s funny to hear so many saying this lately as a “buzz term” when I have been teaching how critical this step of the restoration process is for many years. At this point, we set the stage and create our clients’ expectations which sets us and them up for a successful outcome. If you are tired of putting out fires (no pun intended) and writing checks back to clients to make them happy or just flat out fighting to get paid, then you are going to want to pay really close attention to what comes next.
With proper client onboarding you will visually eliminate all client based stress and headaches. That’s right eliminate stress and headaches from your business.
There is a ton of information out there for clients to read and some of it is not only bad information but it is incorrect. So it is vital that we give our clients correct information thru education that is easy for them to find and understand.
This education needs to be available online as well as offline. There are tons of ways to do this.
Here are a few I like:
- Blog on your website
- Writing for a local community publication
- Writing a book
- Educational speaking at community events
Whatever you do, don’t overthink this. Often I see business owners get paralyzed by my list because of a lack of self-confidence. Listen you know so much more than your local community and they are desperate for your accurate knowledge. Your community wants to understand the correct things to do when their home has been ravaged by fire or some other tragic situation. As restorative cleaners, it’s our job to give them those answers. It’s part of our service.
So think of how you want to walk your clients through the process from that first phone call to them handing over a check for payment of services and giving you a RAVING video testimonials about their incredible experience with you and your company. Then get a piece of paper and pen and literally write down step one, step two, step three and so on. This really isn’t difficult but you need to make sure it is full of education for your client about What, Why, When, Where and How.
This is about quality not quantity. You have to be sure that the education in your onboarding process is thorough, clear and full of substance. Meaning give them the meat and potatoes not just a side of gravy to chew on.
Congratulations! You now have a standard operating procedure you can implement for client onboarding that will ensure your clients will see you as their go to expert for all restoration needs they may have now or in the future. All the while teaching your clients how you want them to do business with you thus removing misunderstandings and eliminating upset clients.
Market Domination and the End of Program Work
If I could wish for just one thing to change in our industry in 2023, it would be that every restoration company refused to do program work or deal with third-party administrators or TPAs.
This practice is not only creating incredible suffering for the insured but when a restoration company participates in these programs it makes the industry as a whole suffer. It drives prices down and sets a very bad precedent that we are willing to “negotiate” our bills for work completed. Or that we are willing to let someone who is uncertified and uneducated in proper procedures of work scope to tell us what to do and what not to do when we have all the liability both financially and ethically.
When you agree to program work and accept payment that cuts your bills, it’s not sustainable. You have to make a profit to keep serving your community, stay in business and grow. Most companies find they have to cut corners to make up for the lost revenue and this causes a snowball effect. The insured suffers getting subpar work done at best and the restoration company finds themselves with an understandably upset client and a reputation that quickly becomes sometimes damaged beyond repair. Please don’t do this to yourself or your client.
Instead raise the bar and raise it high!
Marketing in 2023 will come full circle. Back to the sitting on the front porch sipping sweet tea with your neighbors in the evenings kind of days. In order to stay relevant you need to center your marketing efforts around your client experience and enlist your client base as your business development team. The only way to do this is to let them know what matters to them most matters to you most.
Facebook ads, brochures, home shows and fancy wrapped vehicles all have their place in branding and getting our name out in our communities. But the real branding is your reputation, which is controlled by the opinions of others.
So ask yourself…how do my clients feel about their experience with my company?
The answer is your brand.
Be real. Be authentic. Clients are not only expecting it, in 2023 they are demanding it. Deliver it and you will dominate your market.