Responding to Competition-Part 2
Your second task is to turn up the quality of your business a notch. One way is to change your business plan. You have two options before you namely, broaden your business activity or narrow it. Both are risky options. If you broaden your business by expanding the number of animals and services you provide, you run the risk of declining quality. It is sort of the idea that the Jack of All Trades is the Master of None. If you narrow your business activity by becoming a specialist in one problem (say bats), you run the risk of not finding enough work. Nevertheless, deciding to do nothing is also a risk. I suggest you look hard at the type of calls you are getting. Try to determine if there are any trends you could take advantage of. For example, do you see a demand for deer control or exclusion services? You could test the waters by getting some training in these areas and beginning to implement some low cost advertising such as announcing the special service on your answering machine.
A second way consists of expanding and improving your customer service. For example, if you use your home phone for your business, add a business line. If you have a business line, add a cell phone. If you have a cell phone, consider an answering service. If you have an answering service consider a secretary. Make sure you can accept all sorts of payment options. If you don’t accept credit cards start. Contact NWCOA for information on their program which is relatively inexpensive. You can also think about what you would like to have from an animal control company if you were a customer. The idea is to try and wow your customer. It won’t be easy but you need to think of possible ways to do it.
Another way to turn up the quality of your work is to look at the appearance or image of your business. If you want to be treated like a professional then you have to make sure you live up to the image of a professional. Do your uniforms appear tattered and worn? Perhaps you should buy some new ones. How often are you on time? Are you always giving excuses to your customers because you overbooked the day and end up arriving late?
More tactics on handling competition in the next blog.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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