Case Study – Service Business – How Hard Is It Really to Do It Right?

Wow, what a disconnect between promises and service these days?

What happened to the proverbial handshake and promise to give good service and do what you said you were going to do?

What happened to those time-honored traditions of American values?

I am taken aback. Let me give you a recent event, a slice of life in the service world, and an example of what is happening out there today.

You see, I am in the truck washing business. The other day, we picked up an account where we clean new trucks on a sales lot for a truck-like dealership, among other things. They fired the company that was doing it before us, then hired us. We were less expensive, with better credentials, lots of testimonials, and a good reputation. The company fired, well, basically none of those things. Wait, it gets worse.

After personally overseeing the cleaning of all the vehicles on the first visit, I noticed how dirty all the tops of the trucks were. It looked like they hadn’t ever been cleaned, seriously. Which makes sense why there were black streaks down the sides of all the truck cabs. To clean off the black streaks the company was using a flash-wash method. This is where you use a foaming agent and hydrofluoric acid, and leave it on for about 15-20 seconds and then blast it off. Sure, it takes off all the dirt and grime, and with it all the wax and some of the clear coat too. It does wonders for the rubber and plastic trim; I am being facetious here.

The last company used three to four people and two vans, lots of unnecessary chemicals and soap. It took them 3.5 hours to complete the job of cleaning basically 50-trucks using that method. Their crew was lazy to say the least. Also looked like hell, out-of-shape, dirty uniforms (if you can call those uniforms), old vans that looked like crap. Get this, they charged 4-times what we charge. No wonder the truck dealership was so eager to switch?

Now something about our company’s effort. It took one of guys 4-hours using one truck and only 150-gallons of water to clean all 50-trucks. Yes, he hustled, but think of it, it took him 30-minutes more but he did it with one person. The trucks looked much better than the other company, no streaks, no dull chemical look afterwards, and perfectly dried windows and chrome.

You know what I think? I think this good economy has gotten the best of a good many companies who will not survive the next economic downturn, nor do they deserve to survive in my humble opinion. What’s my advice?

• Look the Part

• Give Good Service

• Stop Cutting Corners

• Hire Competent Help

• Don’t Take the Easy Way Out

• Keep Your Prices Competitive

• Stop Overpromising and Underdelivering

So, what has changed in the last 40-years? Nothing. Well, except what passes for acceptable these days.

Note to the Service Sector: Crappy Service – Isn’t Acceptable.