Why Premium Customer Service Builds a Profitable BusinessRamon Ray
Does premium customer service matter? Aboslutley. Premium service helps your business get premium profits, due to customer loyalty and more!
Mickey Fain, owner and president of Stoneside Blinds and Shades based in Denver, Colorado, recently spoke with Ramon Ray, founder of SmartHustle.com and entrepreneur about success in business through great customer service and customer experience.
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Fain, who has been in his particular business for the last twelve years, has been through it all. Stoneside now claims the number one spot in America in the full-service window covering business based on online reviews, but business hasn’t always been so rosy.
According to Fain, the company nearly shut down more than a handful of times over the years. And those in control still debate how the company should be run, to this day. Nonetheless, Fain has grown his vision and it’s working well.
How did he do it? Here are some of his pearls of wisdom when it comes to running a successful premium service business.
How to Be the Best in the Business
Stoneside offers customers access to a five-star window covering service that combines traditional business with the advent of the internet.
You can order from Stoneside online, and they will also come to your home and install the blinds for you!
An agent will come and offer advice as to what type of covering you should purchase for your room(s), and take all measurements.
Once the blinds are ready, they are delivered to your home, and brought inside by an installer.
This worker completes the project by installing the blinds, cleaning up all the packaging, and leaving you with nothing but beautiful new window coverings without all the hassle of DIY installation and the mess of dealing with large packaging. It’s a premium service few are offering.
Fain cites two main books, and his own stubborn mindset, for helping pave the path to his current success. Start With Why by Simon Sinek, and Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne both brought him ideas that stuck.
These books taught Fain to look for a way to be the best in a business.
This doesn’t mean that if you’re in the pizza business, your pizza is the absolute best in the world. But it means that some aspect of your business is the best there is in the community you serve. Maybe you aim to be the fastest pizza delivery service. Or, maybe you have the best choice in size and toppings.
“If you’re number two, you’re going to struggle, for the community that you’re serving. You’re better to choose to be the best in the world at something, and go from that,” said Fain.
It sounds like a tall order, but Fain says the key is to be clear on your “why”. What’s the purpose of your company? What gets you out of bed in the morning beyond trying to pay the bills, beyond just money and surviving? What’s going to inspire your team?
Fain says if you get clear on these things, what you can be best at, and why, the money will follow, (and you’ll have more fun doing it).
Taking Control and Cutting Out Contractors
A major change Fain made early on with Stoneside Blinds and Shades was to cut out his contractors and instead bring them in as employees.
This included designers, installers, and anyone else the company was hiring on a contract basis to complete their work.
“What we realized was, if we were really going to take full responsibility of the experience, we had to hire employees… so we could increase our control of that experience. To have a 5-star experience every time we had to have more control,” he said.
In order to be sure that his company would be able to provide consistent service that matched the goals of the brand every time, relying on outsiders was seen as too iffy. In their place, Stoneside hired its own designers, installers, and other workers, and built a solid company team on all fronts.
Why Offer a Premium Business
Sure, it’s possible to make a bunch of money offering people DIY blinds that they order online and install themselves. So, why decide to provide an all-inclusive window covering service? Why go premium?
For Fain, it all comes down to the need to have a unique selling point. In the age of the internet, everyone who’s selling blinds is doing it online. And delivering them via FedEx to your driveway for you to handle on your own. Fain said he needed, and wanted, to stand out.
“It’s because you gotta be different, if you’re not the only thing that’s left is price. You have to cut corners someplace, pay employees less in order to be a little bit cheaper than the other guys, and win on price. If you can’t differentiate yourself the only thing less is price,” he says.
Fain says he had faith there was a subset of customers who were willing, and preferred, to pay for a 5-star experience. And he was right.