Five Marketing Phrases That Don’t Mean Much in Window Cleaning

Whom Are We Trying to Kid?

“We’re the best window cleaners in the area because……….” Fill in the blank for companies offering carpet cleaning, landscaping, child care, builders- you name it- and this same thinking will apply.

Most any service company who is at least making an effort to market for new customers will devise a reason or reasons why they are the clear choice. I like to look at what other companies are saying, especially in my field of expertise, which is window cleaning. There are several common reasons put forth that have, in my opinion, become catchphrases. I will review five of them and why those words might be just words. First, please take a look at this window cleaning pro.

A window cleaner trying to look professional

Would it be obvious to you as a customer that this is the gentleman you should hire to clean your windows?

Here are some of the things he may have on his website, or social media page:

1. We only use state of the art equipment

Now don’t get me wrong- state of the art equipment is great and often a game-changer for efficiency and safety. But does it really guarantee that better and/or newer equipment  will yield better results? The x-factor will always be the operator or technician. Does he or she know how to properly use the amazing equipment? Does he have the patience and integrity to take the time to be thorough and careful? What happens when a problem arises and a different approach may be needed for some of the project? Ultimately, the professionality of the human behind the equipment will get you the win.

If you are a homeowner, do you ever miss your old window cleaner? Hopefully not! But if you do for some reason, is it because he used the best ladders or squeegees you’ve ever seen in your life? Or is it because you knew that whatever challenge may have arisen, he would make sure everything was right in the end?

So, yes, state of the art or SOTA is wonderful. But is it a deal-winner? Probably not on its own.

2. We give attention to detail

C’mon! Isn’t it simply expected that any service company, window cleaning or otherwise, will give attention to detail? I’m quite certain this catchphrase is not meant to imply that all other competitors don’t care about detail. It is true that some technicians will agonize over the minutest detail while others will go 99% of the way. The point is that any professional will give due diligence to detail. A ‘splasher and dasher’ will not.

3. We are a family-owned business

Again, I have no qualms about family-owned businesses. I’m part of one, happy to be so, and wish there were more of them. But does family-owned itself automatically mean you will be better served? Not automatically. Some families, sadly, don’t operate above reproach in business. Some families may feel they have such a strong reputation in the community that they can cruise on that alone and relax in the customer service category. At the same time, a nationally-known company may vet their subcontractors so carefully that you’ll actually do better with them. This is not to say that these scenarios are typical or expected, but the catchphrase ‘family-owned’, as with the others, needs to have teeth. I feel as I mentioned earlier, that it is great to support family-owned businesses, especially when they are your neighbors, if it is a good fit. You expect that a local family business knows that in rural America word spreads fast. They can bolster their reputation in the community or ruin it by how they deliver during and after the transaction.

4. We use a proprietary solution

Somewhat similar to the ‘state of the art’ saying, this one is assumedly used to imply that it is better than the solution that the other companies are using. Or perhaps the company touting this has the secret sauce that nobody else knows about. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of chemical suppliers who sell proprietary solutions for cleaning. Most are very good to excellent. Some are run of the mill or largely ineffective. Proprietary in this context simply means specifically designed for a certain application. And, of course, the x-factor, like with state of the art equipment, is the operator. The proprietary cleaner needs to be applied and used properly. That said, it is better to use proprietary cleaners than all-purpose cleaners, as a rule on windows, siding, and roof shingles.

5. Organization membership or certification

Yet another horn toot that doesn’t seem to mean much to a prospective window cleaning customer. It means a lot to the company marketing with it, for sure. In 38 years of speaking to customers, I don’t think anyone has ever asked me if I belong to an org or have certifications. To be clear, I don’t have any problem with window cleaning companies spending time and money to become further educated and trained in proper procedures and safety. In my experience, the fact that some test was passed or course hours were spent or money was paid, or all three, does not automatically translate to a better choice for a customer. Who is going to enforce the standards that are to be upheld? If they are broken, how does the customer get compensation? The reality is, a window cleaner can become a professional without vaulting over even the lowest bar. Once he buys basic equipment and completes his first of many transactions, he is a professional. His inclination toward honesty and integrity is probably just as strong as the organization member and certification holder. I would venture to conclude that knowing one is accountable to a committee or industry peers may help keep him on the ‘straight and narrow’ when it comes to upholding industry standards of excellence and professionality, but it doesn’t necessarily make him more ethical at heart. You don’t need the next organization or certification opportunity to make you an ethical person. I believe that how a contractor handles the challenges of the trade and customer relations will be the key.  I’d venture to say that the average consumer trusts good standing in the Better Business Bureau more that membership in some organization that few have heard of and less know anything about. Thus, touting one’s piece of paper or passing grade bespeaks effort, but is no guarantee of excellence. To be fair, neither is it an indication of less relevance.

Concluding Comments

It is understandable and expected that service companies will provide plenty of reasons they feel they should be your choice. The five I listed above and certainly some others are overused in my opinion and may not have the convincing power that is hoped for. I’ve actually found that good and believable reviews are mentioned to me as a convincing factor to give me a call or email. At least that’s my experience.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this subject you can email me at
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