It seems pretty easy. If a customer calls, you take care of their needs. However, learning which customer is right for your business can take your company to the next level.
If we, at Plano Overhead Garage Door, were to accept every customer that called in, we would actually be doing them a DIS-service. It is extremely important to realize that ethical business practice includes the ability to pass certain customers on to your competitors that can better suit their needs over time. Thinking in the best interest of your customers will reflect on fundamental ethics at the core of your business model, especially in regards to the service and repair industry. The best example for our business is the fact that we refer an average of 5 to 10 Commercial jobs to a local company in Plano. We know that he is better suited for our customers’ needs, and we know that Commercial jobs are not our bread-and-butter (or our cup of tea).
Realize Your Customer Base
If the bulk of your customers are in a certain area, or if you tend to get a lot of quality business in certain areas, you might consider this to be your customer base. The needs of your customers absolutely must line up with the abilities of your garage door repair company. If you are best at installing residential garage doors, make sure that you accept and target a customer base that reflects your capabilities. If you can get the best prices on retail parts in your area, cater to retail customers and consider opening up a storefront. Defining your target audience, and aligning yourself with your customer base is extremely important.
Two one hour jobs within your defined service area can be much more profitable than one two hour job outside your service area. It can be tempting to take that big job that’s 30 miles away, but consider the fact that the demand for services is extremely volatile. Choosing to chase a job off the beaten path to keep your guys busy is a great way to end up with nobody around once the phones start ringing off the hook. Evaluate what you will be giving up in order to achieve a specific task, and whether it makes since to do one thing versus the potential gains from another. All this being said, it’s worth noting that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. There is a very complex methodology to the balance between keeping technicians busy, but leaving just enough room for incoming business. The companies that last are the ones that have learned to keep their technicians busy all day, while not having to turn down their bread-and-butter customers.
Be Considerate to Your Customer
Many start-up companies have a hard time turning away customers that aren’t within their customer base. It has taken almost 40 years for us at Plano Overhead Garage Door to expand to a service area of roughly 500 square miles, and we have 8 full-time service technicians. Our company has stayed true to it’s roots and referred jobs from outside our service area or expertise to other companies since day 1. If you cannot provide reliable service to a customer the same day that they request it, then you shouldn’t be greedy. Same day service is something that has kept us in business, as well as the ability to address warranty issues within a few hours of initial calls- regardless of how busy our phones may be. If you don’t leave room to schedule repairs of broken garage door springs, your customers will likely be trapped in their garage and be forced to call other companies. Certain garage door repair jobs just cannot wait. Be flattered and grateful that these customers chose your company, but remember to do what’s right for the customer- not just yourself. You can either equip yourself to be available at all times with proper staffing, preparation, scheduling, efficiency, and so on; or choose to allow your competitors to capture a portion of your potential revenue.
Evaluate Your Costs
How much are you willing to spend to acquire certain customers? How much excess cost would be associated with expanding your average job by 5 miles? Is it worth the cost of gas, materials, human capital, wages, time, and effort? Does it make sense to go after those customers that are outside your target service area? What type of jobs and associated costs are involved with different types of customers, or different cities?
Consider Your Competitors
How competitive is the region in which your customers are coming from? If you grow in a particular area, are you likely to get snuffed out by a larger competitor? Is there any advantage to supplying your competitor with customers that you can refer to them in order to concentrate your own efforts?
Draw it Out
Put it on paper. Draw a line. If you don’t have a defined service area, it can become tricky when it comes to communication within your company. There is nothing worse that promising a customer your services, only to tell them down the road that you cannot take care of what they have asked from you.
From our experience….draw the line in pencil. Business is an ecosystem, always evolving.
Call Plano Overhead Garage Door with any garage door repair needs in the Allen, Frisco, Garland, Plano, Murphy, Richardson, Wylie, Dallas, McKinney, or surrounding North Dallas areas. 972-422-1695
By Nick McGregor