This got me thinking about our *own* brand and how rebranding changed the entire way that we do business.
So let’s start with a little bit of background…When I first came on with the company we were known as Lone Star Maids. We are, after all, Texans!
Our strategy was to chase big-ticket sales, up-sell, up-sell, up-sell, and never-ever turn away business. We loved big messes and wanted to sell deep cleaning as often as possible. We had a laser-focus on quantity over quality.
…and….We did some things that make me cringe today:
- On the phone, it was a mad dash to get the sale and get to the next possible client.
- We relied on an online booking system that allowed clients to book a job through our website, without speaking to an actual human
- We often overbooked our teams, we were “late” for appointments on a regular basis, and we often had requests for re-cleaning.
- We sacrificed our regular clients’ needs when a big ticket would come through the door, and lost our regulars in the process.
We thought we were so cool. We embodied a local, funky Texas vibe. We are based in Austin after all, where the motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” Surely, our clientele wanted a company that was born and bred in their hometown! But this strategy could only work for so long – in our case, 10 years.
I mean, how could we last another 10 years if our work was crap? Our schedule was inconsistent. Our clientele (as well as our staff) was always new!
Remember though, we were still the cool kids on the block and after being with the company for a few months, we began toying with the idea of taking our knowledge and business model and turning it into a franchise system. The first thing that we talked about was our name. “Lone Star Maids” was not really a name that might translate so well in California, Florida…
So we sat and talked about brands – about companies that we really admired and loved. We took a look at big national brands from across the field services industry, as well as small local businesses. We decided that we wanted a name and a brand that people could trust, just by looking at the logo. We wanted to embody a simpler time when people connected with their service providers. We wanted to be the trusty milkman, the consistent mailman, the friendly pharmacist, in their white, starched, trusty coat. We wanted the 1940s!
We brainstormed, researched and being a fairly decisive and small group, we decided on The Boardwalk Cleaning Co. and we began the process of rebranding within about 24 hours.
Our first step was to slowwwww down. We took a new approach to customer service and began to look at our clients from a new perspective. We stopped chasing the big ticket and started to look at the big picture. Our focus was now on not only keeping our current recurring client base, but on increasing it. We started to get to know our clients’ needs. We listened to what they wanted, what they needed, and became an empathetic ear. We became their problem solvers.
We were finally heading in the right direction. A new logo, a new concept, a new company had sprung up and was replacing the old. Everything from our logo, our uniforms, our car wraps, and our policies were re-worked to embody a 1940’s approach to customer service and sales.
And what happened? Our cleanings became more consistent. We filled our schedule with recurring clients by getting to know them and their needs. We became a part of their routine. We gave them consistency by providing them with the same team, at the same time, on their scheduled day – each and every time (barring acts of god!).
We completely revamped our hiring and training. This renewed and tighter *focus* created less turnover. We were also able to focus more on quality and consistency and less time on re-training and re-cleaning. We kept iterating, refining – our uniforms (again), our tools (again. this time not only more professional-looking, but more efficient), our sales script (not so sales-y).
To sum it all up, perhaps we didn’t need to completely rebrand in order to become a better company, but somehow it seemed like the right thing to do. Now when people see our logo it’s recognized as a brand that instills a sense of loyalty. We have grown from 4 teams to 16 teams in less than 2 years. Our growth continues, but these days sometimes we just say “no”, so that we don’t over-stress our staff or compromise our clientele in the process.