Window Washers (Issue 844)

In which we are reminded to target and differentiate when we want to “steal” customers from other providers.

We started washing our house windows this weekend. There are 17 windows on the first floor. 11 of the windows are more than 72 inches high and, as far as we can tell, original to the house which was built in 1873. I asked my wife, “Why don’t we just hire some people to come help us with this.”

“Because nobody does windows the way that I like my windows done,” she said. ” I’ve seen what commercial washers do at other houses. They slap around some water with a squeegee and think they’ve done a good job. I like to see my windows. I like to get up close and look at the wood and make sure that the sills are OK. I want to fill-in any divots in the wood and make sure the paint is in good shape.”

I would add, “We like to use safety razor blades to scrape off the bits that don’t come off with water or Windex.” “Smooth as glass” is what we strive for. No bumps.

Window washing at our house isn’t really “window washing;” it’s “meticulous window maintenance.”

We are not in either the window washing or the meticulous window maintenance businesses. However, if we were, we would be very clear about the segment of potential customers on which we would be focusing and the differentiation between our service and what passes for “window washing”.

And, since it’s expensive to replace old windows that rot because you don’t take care of them, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too hard to persuade people living in antique houses that our meticulous maintenance service would be worth extra money.

One of our readers wrote to us asking: “Do you have any ideas (other than slashing prices) about attracting potential customers away from their current providers?”

My answer would be the question, “Do you have a compelling and differentiable expertise or client experience that would be attractive to the companies you want to attract?”

Because, if you don’t, then, like water-slapping window washers, you’re pretty much a commodity waiting until their current provider makes a mistake.

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