Choosing or Referring a Service Provider – Part 2 “More Than Just a Billboard On Wheels”

Most everyone has had to invite a service provider in their home.  As homeowners and professionals, you will at some point have to choose for yourself, or be asked to refer, a service provider to clients or friends.  Please understand that especially on professional referrals, your reputation and credibility will be on the line, so don’t take the responsibility lightly.  Last week I asked you to consider technician/employee appearance.  This week I want to keep the focus on appearance and customer perception, but with a focus on service vehicles.  In today’s world, service vehicles are much more than a way to get from the office to the jobsite.  Anyone who has driven anywhere recently has seen some of the most unique, eye catching wraps and logos on service vehicles ever seen.  Technology has truly made vehicles an extension of a company’s marketing plan.  Vehicles, now more than ever, are billboards on wheels and many companies choose to invest and promote their brands as such.  Also now more than ever, those companies that choose not to invest in their infrastructure truly standout negatively among the rest.  Unfortunately, lack of investments like this, often correlates to even deeper issues within the organization.

A customer’s perception is determined within the first few seconds of a visit.  A clean, well maintained, marked service vehicle leaves a professional feel, and puts a customer at ease.  An unmarked, hunk of rust parked in a driveway reflects poorly on the service provider; and unfortunately even more on you and your company if you referred the contractor.  First impressions are lasting and hard for even the most skilled professionals to overcome.     

As with technician appearance, if that same company did not have enough self-pride in their brand to maintain an adequate fleet, how will this reflect on the attitude of the employees?  What are the chances they will take pride in protecting your home, or your referral’s home, while doing work?  What are the chances that inside that fleet of trucks are well maintained and updated tools and equipment? Even more importantly, if their employer takes no more pride in their business than to allow their “billboard” to look that way, what are the chances that they will care if you have a problem or a need during or after service?  All things that need to be considered.

Whether plumbing, HVAC, or my industry disaster restoration, the lack of investment in maintaining a quality business typically doesn’t end with vehicles.  It often extends into hiring, training, and employee retention.  All of which often factor into a poor experience.  Especially in the Restoration Industry where the customer is often panicked and in an unplanned event; professional perception can be the difference between a satisfactory experience through the claims process or one that reflects poorly on the provider as well as the company recommending them.

At Rainbow International of Plum, we only send out clean-cut service professionals with uniforms and identification badges.  They will arrive in clean, well-maintained, marked vehicles.  Our investment in our organization doesn’t stop with our vehicles.  Our technicians are knowledgeable and trained in the latest restoration and cleaning techniques and equipment.  They will respect themselves, their company, their customer’s home, and best of all the referring party’s reputation.  You will not see an ungroomed, dirty, out-of-uniform employee climb out of a beat up, unmaintained vehicle at Rainbow International of Plum.  Just the best trained, most professional employees in the Pittsburgh area, arriving in a clean, well equipped service vehicle.

If your current service provider’s idea of updating their fleet occurs only when the bucket of bolts no longer passes state mandated inspections, perhaps consider changing service providers.  I assure you the shortcomings run deeper than those trucks.  Next week I will focus on industry trainings and certifications.