For Your Windows

CLOSE THE WINDOW TO INSANITY

I have been thinking a lot lately about marketing, customer service and how both relate to our spending habits and the economy. Nothing like “Black Friday” to stimulate some interesting thoughts.

Back in the 1970’s, I had a retail business in a mall. That particular day kicked off the holiday shopping season. Sometimes it was good and sometimes it was a let-down. Back then the term “Black Friday” had not really spread into all areas as it was a pretty new concept connoting that merchants would actually see “black” instead of “red” in their cash flow.

As a consumer, I still do some shopping in stores and a lot online. However, that Friday is a day that I almost always stay home, purposely avoiding the mayhem. This year, I  am amazed at the way this bizarre marketing strategy has literally crushed the whole concept of Thanksgiving.

How much more money will any given business really make if they open up during Thanksgiving Dinner instead of early Friday morning? I could go on and on and on about all the details, but please someone explain the logic.

Could we just close the window to this insanity for good!

The idea for today is to shop local and support small businesses in your area. I like that idea. I am even going to participate now that my Thanksgiving dinner is digested.

If you do shop online, remember to visit For Your Windows. Gift certificates are available at Wallpaper for Windows, and maybe someone you know would like a neat bird feeder or greenhouse, available at the Outside Your Windows department.

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WINDOW BLOG FOG

It really is more accurate to call what I am in a “spin.” but that does not rhyme very well with blog.

This past week flew by for sure as I needed to catch up after being gone for ten days. And now, we have the beginning of the holiday season to offer another distraction.

I have been doing a lot of research about how to run a business better, keep overhead down and provide outstanding customer service. As I was realizing I had not blogged for a full week – and that reminded me of how fast time flies – I was also pondering how everything sort of stays the same as it changes.

Okay, let me explain. When we first started a window cleaning business, we used “independent contractors”  that we trained to perform the window cleaning. It did not take long to find out we needed to treat them as employees to meet standards set forth by several government entities. Even though there are ways around that, they all involve either more than a typical window washer wants to confront, or they create a situation that resembles setting up your own competition.

This morning, I was reading an article about why “virtual employees” are better than “freelancers.” Freelancers are in business for themselves and usually work for more than one account.  Virtual employee is a fairly new term – you cannot even find it yet in Wikipedia.  Maybe I should start a description there. 

I wonder how long it will take for aforementioned government entities to have rules about virtual employees? Virtual personal assistants and virtual offices I can see, but the minute you use the word employee, you are right back to the independent contractor issue. The content does not change just because the form did. 

And anyway, can you imagine a virtual window washer?

Sure is nice to have a virtual online store though. Check it out if you have some naked windows begging to be dressed up for the holidays.

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CUSTOMER APPRECIATION

Did you know that procuring a new customer costs anywhere from 5 to 8 times more than keeping a customer?  If you have a business, you probably already know that. Of course, you need to have a consistent flow of new customers, but your repeat customer base is the real bread and butter.

In the current business arena, where we get bombarded with half -off coupons everyday in our email, our challenge becomes even more apparent. If the work you did last time you serviced any given customer was not exceptional, they won’t think twice about trying someone new who offers a discount.

Not only do your customers want your product or service, they also want to feel appreciated. Feeling unappreciated is one of the main reasons they will look elsewhere. Depending on the size of your customer base, each week choose between 2 and 10 customers to shower with gratitude. Send them a thank you card through snail mail (what a concept these days). If you do quality control by phone, make sure that you also take time to thank them for being such a loyal customer. 

The holiday season provides us with a perfect opportunity to begin making every week

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION WEEK. 

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WINDOW CLEANING WEATHER FORECAST

How silly is that! Weather is not the problem. Dirt is.

It does not matter what the weather is doing. The window cleaning weather forecast remains the same everywhere for the next 50 days.

Partly holiday with showers of fun, family and gifts to give. 

Rain or snow really does not dirty the windows, or clean them either. Best bet is to HIRE A PROFESSIONAL for that task.  Now that I have the weather issue out of the way, and you are on your way to improving your outlook on life, I am going to go start learning how to put links and pictures here. This is the first time I have used my new tablet to blog and I have a lot to figure out. Please refer to links on the left to visit other sites.  

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WINDOW CLEANING COPYCATS

I use the word “copycats” in a positive way for sure. Over 26 years ago, shortly after moving from Portland to Southern California, I hired a young 20 year-old to work in our new My Window Man office in Orange County. I almost lost her at least two times for various reasons. She stuck around, met her future husband – a 20-year old fellow we hired to wash windows- and later opened an office in San Diego. After they were married, they sold that office and moved up to Ventura County. The Oxnard My Window Man has serviced customers for almost 20 years now. 

Their work ethic and dedication paid off for sure!

Our bags are packed, the fridge is full of food for our son who is house-sitting (and even helping with some painting in the kitchen) and the car is fueled up. We are heading out to visit My Window Man in Oxnard. Time to talk about business and family while we eat some great seafood.

While I am gone, I will still blog, and For Your Windows is still open to help you with all your window covering needs.

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