For many traditional window cleaners, the prospect of making the change to the water fed pole system is probably a daunting one. Your customers have been used to and may even have a preference for traditional window cleaning methods, and have likely been happy with your work for a long time.
Yet, you’re also aware of the benefits the water fed pole system has to offer – speed, safety, opportunities to offer new services and ultimately the ability to earn more money.
But what if some of your customers don’t want you to use the pure water system? Can you make the move without losing lots of customers?
Well, the good news is that it is possible, and we’ve highlighted some of the steps you can take to successfully change from using traditional window cleaning methods to the water fed pole system:
1) Communicate the change effectively and with enough notice
It’s really important that you communicate your plans to change to the water fed pole system to your customers, taking the time to clearly explain how it works. You need to do this with plenty of notice, ideally on or before the last traditional clean you carry out for that customer prior to the changeover.
Doing this in person gives you the maximum chance of getting this information across in the right way, and making sure they’ve understood it, but whether you get to speak to your customers or not, you should provide written notice of the change. This should also briefly explain how the system works, mention some further points which we’ll go onto cover, and give them the opportunity to call you with any questions.
2) Get the benefits across to your customers
You can alleviate any concerns your customers might have about the water fed pole system by highlighting how it benefits them. You could highlight how you’ll be able to do a better job of cleaning the frames, how the system reduces the risk to their property and how not using detergents is better for their garden and the environment. You could also take a look and see if there are any extra windows you will now be able to reach with the water fed pole system that you hadn’t been able to previously – for example Velux windows or roof lights – this can be a huge selling point.
You can also mention that the system will allow you to offer a wider range of useful services to them – for example fascia, soffit, conservatory roof and solar panel cleaning. More on that to come.
3) Set your customer’s expectations
As we mentioned here, sometimes, if a window has been cleaned for some time traditionally, it can be difficult to get good results the first time it is cleaned with the water fed pole system. Make sure your customers are pre-warned, include it in your letter, and ensure they are aware that the finish improves after the first clean. Some window cleaners demonstrate their confidence in this by offering a refund for the first clean if it is not to the customer’s satisfaction.
Another issue some window cleaners have faced having made the move to the pure water system is how much quicker jobs can be completed. You’re probably wondering how that is an issue? Well, from the customer’s perspective, they’re getting charged the same price for a job that takes noticeably less time. Some window cleaners choose to address this only if it comes up, but you might want to pre-empt the question – particularly with your more scrupulous clients!
You could point out that the water fed pole system is more expensive to buy, run and maintain than traditional equipment, thus balancing time-savings against their existing pricing.
3) Know how to use the system
The water fed pole system is a tool, and like any tool, you need to know how to use it. Read our guide on the proper technique – and get some practice in before you start on real customers
4) Be thorough and use extra rinse
They say first impressions count. Whilst you’ll have pre-warned your customers about first-clean results, you can alleviate potential issues by spending a little extra time on the job the first time you do it with the water fed pole system. Brushing more thoroughly than normal and using extra rinse can help to get rid of the residual soap build up that can cause problems. Inspect every job when complete, and redo any windows you’re not happy with, or that you suspect might need it.
5) Inform your customers about the extra services you can offer
As we’ve mentioned, using the water fed pole system allows you to offer services you probably couldn’t have previously. Look for opportunities on every job you have – keep an eye out for fascias & soffits, conservatory roofs, cladding & solar panels that could benefit from your services. Don’t go for the ‘hard sell’ at this point – come at it from the perspective of the water fed pole system benefiting them and allowing you to provide them with a wider range of cleaning services, rather than earning you more money! (Once the customer is more familiar with the pure water system, you can push a bit harder for extra jobs like this.) Of course, there’s a good chance you’ll take on additional work at this point, which can help you see a quicker return on your investment in the water fed pole system.
6) Be flexible and / or expect some customer loss
These days, the water fed pole system is fairly well known and accepted, even by homeowners. Despite that and following all of the above steps, a small percentage of your customers may refuse to let you use the water fed pole system. It’s up to you how you deal with this – you can either continue to complete these jobs traditionally, or you can drop the work. If you choose the latter option, it’s highly likely that the time you save and additional income you make with the water fed pole system will more than outweigh any customer loss.
By carrying out the above steps, you maximise your chances of making a smooth and successful changeover to the water fed pole system, and minimize the risk of customer loss to the greatest extent possible.