The Undercover Boss
I am sure that we have all seen the daytime TV series “The Undercover Boss”, which has actually featured many franchised businesses in the past. Well, I took that role on last week, spending some valuable time with some of our wonderful window cleaners. It was interesting, informative and a great opportunity to meet with a few of our clients too.
You may well ask, “Why haven’t I done it before?” Well, I am fairly new to My Window Cleaner and it was a priority of mine, once the initial dust had settled, to spend time in the field, where the real action happens.
So I travelled to Enfield and booked myself into a Premier Inn for 2 nights, having
arranged to spend time with John and Vas on separate days.
I met with Vas first, who has been with My Window Cleaner for 9 years. Vas prefers the “Reach and Wash” system, which uses purified water, held in a tank in the rear of the van. The actual reach length of the lightweight pole (carbon fibre) is quite unbelievable; he was cleaning 3 storey buildings quite easily and with a professional finish. The water is pumped up to the brush and Vas has an on/off valve to control the flow. The main advantages of the Reach and Wash system are two-fold, speed and safety. The system allows you not to have to use ladders, which can eat time by having to continue moving them and sometimes a potential hazard, when used in the wrong circumstances.
Having spent time with Vas (who is mad as a hatter and the kind of chap you can have a beer with), I can really see the commercial opportunities with this system, especially in winning future national accounts contracts, on larger corporate buildings.
It was also great to see the brand “out there” in the real world and Vas and his assistant, Nicolas, looked great in their My Window Cleaner branded work clothes. It may seem so simple, but we add tremendous value and professionalism to the business and gives confidence to our clients via our uniforms.
Having bid my farewells (and still thinking about all the new things I had learnt about our business), I travelled back to spend the night with Lenny Henry.
An early start, after a good night’s sleep guaranteed, allowed me to meet up with John, who had worked with My Window Cleaner for around 14 years! As I drove up to meet with the great man, I already knew that what he didn’t know about professional window cleaning wasn’t worth knowing.
Now John is a remarkable chap and very traditional, both in nature and whilst at work. He doesn’t go for the Reach and Wash systems; instead he uses a ladder, some water, squeegee and a cloth. You may think this is a backward step (not off a ladder hopefully!), but the results were outstanding. The quality of the clean was incredible and you could see, that even after 14 years, his attention to detail was his USP. It took longer than Vas, he has to consider health and safety a little more, but actually he got the job done and he still loves it.
It was great to spend some quality time with a quality chap and I am grateful to John for allowing me to disrupt his day!
Now, what both John and Vas actually have in common, is that great ability to be able to communicate and to create trusting relationships with their customers. Both of them knew all their clients first names, what their kids were up to, where they had just come back from holiday from….everything!
And then it hit me, full in the face; this business is not just about the quality of clean, our bespoke IT system, the prices, the services or whether you use a traditional or a Reach and Wash system. It’s about people.
So, when I am granting My Window Cleaner franchises in the future, it is the person and their personal attributes, which I will be looking at first. Pythagoras came up with a theorem and although mine is not as skilled as his, it still works.
Little trust & difficulty in winning new clients Poor communication & personal skills
Poor performing business
Significant trust & growing client base
Great communication skills
Can keep existing clients
Great performing business
I want to join the team again soon. I want to learn more and I am keen to understand what makes a great window cleaner. Not a good one, but a GREAT one.