The Virtual CMO

Building a Successful Fully Remote Local Business with Neel Parekh

August 30, 2021 Eric Dickmann, Neel Parekh Season 6 Episode 6
The Virtual CMO
Building a Successful Fully Remote Local Business with Neel Parekh
Show Notes Transcript

In episode 87, host Eric Dickmann interviews Neel Parekh. Neel is an entrepreneur and Founder and CEO of MaidThis Franchise. He started his career working in venture capital and private equity identifying and analyzing investment opportunities and managing investment portfolios. His dream was to work for himself and to enjoy freedom from the confines of the 9-to-5 office life. Neel pursued this entrepreneurial spirit and founded MaidThis.
 
MaidThis helps homeowners and short-term rental hosts with their cleanings. As a franchise, it helps owners build their own meaning of “freedom” by empowering them to build their own fully remote, new-age business from anywhere in the world. 

For show notes and a  list of resources mentioned in this episode, please visit:
https://fiveechelon.com/building-successful-fully-remote-local-business-s6ep6

A fractional CMO can help build out a comprehensive marketing strategy and execute targeted campaigns designed to increase awareness and generate demand for your business...without the expense of a full-time hire.

The Five Echelon Group - Fractional CMO and strategic marketing advisory services designed for SMBs looking to grow. Learn more at: 

https://fiveechelon.com


Eric Dickmann:

Welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann. In this podcast, we have conversations with marketing professionals who share the strategies, tactics, and mindset you can use to improve the effectiveness of your marketing activities and grow your business. Hey Neel, welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm very glad you could join us today.

Neel Parekh:

Thanks for having me. Eric. Excited to be here.

Eric Dickmann:

You know, I'm very excited about today's discussion because we talk with a lot of small and mid-sized businesses here. But you're truly an entrepreneur, you've gone ahead and built a business from the ground up in a crazy environment. You've got a great remote work story. So I'm really anxious to sort of dive into all the details of how all this started. But you know as an entrepreneur, the place that I'd sort of like to start our discussion today would be just tell me a little bit about how you got the inspiration to build a business. Where did you see that niche and an unserved market opportunity?

Neel Parekh:

Sure. And thanks for the kind words. First of all, Eric, I mean, it's very nice to hear. And I think with most entrepreneurs, um, you know, inspiration that started coming from somewhere, it's either gonna be. You feel a pain, which has maybe I had a job and you hate it and you really need to do it. Maybe you need to provide for family. For me, it was a combination of a couple of things of what started it. was I wanted to quit my corporate job and travel. But so I needed to remote type of side hustles to do that. So that's why I was working on it for a while, and I liked what I did. I was working in venture capital for awhile, and the other part was just providing financially for my family as well. So trying out a bunch of different things, a lot of stuff, which is not local

business-related. So now I run, um, made this and made this franchise, which is a cleaning company, focused on vacation rental short-term rentals, Airbnbs, things like that. So upon starting try a lot of things out, came across to me this, and finally starting to get more clients. And a lot of people started calling and saying, Hey, I'm looking for Airbnb cleaning. Do you guys do that? And it was kind of like a light bulb, which went off and said, oh wow, this is such an untapped niche. Let's dive into it. So I think to be honest, yeah. On dumb luck from just being in the game. You know, it's just like, you're in there. Opportunities will come to you, but if you're not there, you're not going to see them. So that's kind of how it came about. I'm interested

Eric Dickmann:

to explore this a little bit more because you talked about trying a couple of things,. was it always cleaning related? Did you just pivot until you found that specific niche within that opportunity? Or did you have completely different ideas?

Neel Parekh:

Completely different So look, I started with my end goal in sight and my goal was, Hey, I want to quit. And because of that, I thought, okay, I need e-commerce I need a digital marketing company. I need something which I could do it from my computer. And I kinda just came across a post of a guy on Reddit who started the cleaning company. I thought I'm trying a bunch of stuff. Let me see if this works. And it really, it started to work way better than any of the other ideas I was

working on. And then I started thinking, okay, how do I make this remote, figuring out how to make a remote, and then dove into the opportunity from there. And kind of what I discovered is, at least they, with the cleaning and local services industry, it's kind of two years behind the times in terms of marketing. When I brought it to the cleaning local services world, I was blown away the competition from basic, basic stuff that I was doing. And I think that still holds true to today is like, it's such an unknown market, because I think just the whole industry is kind of behind the times with marketing. So if you're just doing what's current, you're already ahead of the game with local services. So it's such an unfair, competitive advantage, I think for a lot of people who know marketing. You know

Eric Dickmann:

one thing I've found with people who really have that entrepreneurial spirit that drive is they don't get overly attached to a specific idea. If they see an idea isn't really working, they pivot, they try something else out. Whereas creators, you know, people who develop a product and then fall in love with it, they will hold on to that until the very end, even if all they needed to do was pivot a little bit. Have you kind of seen that or felt that in your own thinking, as you've looked at these other ideas?

Neel Parekh:

Oh, a hundred percent absolutely.And look even I was luckily in hindsight, able to have a bias and saying, oh, I totally pivoted as need to. It's hard to do it in the moment, right? So like I could always tell what if his story wasn't now. But even at the time, for a long time, I resisted doing Vicki's frantically. And I said, no, no, no, we do residential cleanings. That's what I've read online. That's what we're going to stick with. That's my idea. And then it does take some time to say, okay, here's a light bulb. It takes some months of like getting used to the mentality of it and then pivoting and shifting. So I think this is very stoop what you alluded to, and I think for most people, it's going to take some time and that's totally okay. But the reality is you do need to pivot or in other words, shift where you're doing. Even In your mindset, just to be able to say, this is how advanced, this is how I'm going to cheat my goal. And my goal is, Hey, I want to travel and I want to help support my parents financially. How do I do that? I got to pivot and do something else.

Eric Dickmann:

We talked so much in marketing about finding your niche and really serving that niche well,. But it's very true I think what you're saying and explaining. You can't always determine what that specific niche is from the outset, right? Sometimes you have to cast a little bit of a wider net and then work on narrowing it down and getting that focus once you find out what's really gaining traction within your business.

Neel Parekh:

Eric, you know this better than I do with marketing. That's marketing essentially. I'm going to do a bunch of different things, let me see which one has the best ROI, then I'm going to double down on that. And you just test different marketing tactics over and over and over until you figure that out, which I'm sure you do literally every day. the same thing with almost anything in life, but let's talk about entrepreneurship is you try a bunch of different things and you say, and you go hard at it. You say, let me give this a real shot, let me allocate the budget to it, let me actually give this a chance. And then see which one actually works and which one actually ticks the boxes that you want. And then you can dive into it more. So a lot of things, everything is a funnel, everything is just testing. Looking at the numbers is making decisions from that. So exact same philosophy.

Eric Dickmann:

It's interesting to me too, that you had a goal in mind when you started this company, as you wanted it to be remote from the start, you wanted to have the ability to do some traveling. But you're also talking about a business that has employees or people that work kind of for you freelancing for you. However, you've got it set up. That's a challenge, right? When you're managing a group of people and a pretty diverse set of customers, keeping everybody happy. So how did that work as you started to grow and added more people to your service?

Neel Parekh:

Yeah, it is tough. And I think that's why it's such a hidden gem opportunity and kind of why we also launched MaidThis Franchise, like expand because a lot of people don't realize you can do local services companies. It is totally possible in this day and age with how quick technology's moved now, there's Slack now. Like there's a bunch of systems where you don't really need to be local anymore. But when I was starting, I was doing it as a sign out. So it was literally like, I didn't know what I was doing. So the cleaner would be done with the work in this day. I need to get paid. I'm like, Okay, well, I'll go to the ATM, get cash, ran outside of my building, hand it to them in the car. And it just looked like the sketchiest thing possible. Then after a while you realize I could do this electronically, I could do the interviews electronically. The cleaners get dispatched from their homes straight to the job site. So there's not really like, there's not too much of a need for an office environment, obviously that could help in some cases, many people like to see that people everyday, they think it contributes to culture, which is totally fair. I just think with the way technology has moved and how rapidly it's moved, it is no longer needed. Now remember I said earlier, local services business are usually a couple of years behind, that's true as well with remote work. I think a lot of marketing companies and other companies have figured out how to do remote work a long time ago. Local service companies haven't figured that out and on top of that, maybe they also have a mentality of that's not how this business works, because that's not how we've done it. So if you could move faster than with better marketing tactics and be able to have a remote team, which is totally doable now. You can leapfrog the competition very rapidly. So that's kinda what I found, like you said, just from being in it, like trying it out and saying, Hey, here's my constraints. I want a full-time job. I can't physically go anywhere. Eventually wanting to quit and go out of country. How do I do this? So we built a system systems in a way which allowed that to happen. And I'd be lying if I said, Hey, it's all smooth and gravy with a remote work. It's not, it's tough. You know, you don't have as much as the personal interaction. Maybe some things fall through the cracks. UmBut it's the way I'd like to set it up and now I'm going to continue to run it. You know starting and talking a little bit about the marketing, how you grew your company, talking a little bit about how then you really provide the service, the product, if you will. And then sort of the after the fact how you deal with, as you were talking about payments and service, and customer complaints, cause that all grows with time as well. So let's start with that first point around marketing. So you've got a business, you're an unknown, you're going into a marketplace where you've got to reach a lot of people, right? To get that message out. So I'm assuming digital marketing is the way that you went. Talk a little bit about what you did to sort of raise your visibility. Sure. When I started I had no what I was doing in digital marketing. I was a finance dude, like I knew Excel models. I didn't know anything about digital marketing. So I thought, okay, I want to do this. I don't want to go door to door and put flyers out. I can't, because I have a full-time job. How do I do this? Let me try adwords. So I said, I heard about this thing called Google AdWords. Let me go and plug it in and start. And then we got a first test run that way. I dealt it as a profit customer, but I was just so excited that it actually worked and someone bought a product. I'm like, wow, this is incredible, and kind of kept going from there. And for anyone who's listening, who is a marketer, you have, in my opinion, such an unfair, competitive advantage on the local spectrum because most of the companies, have no idea what they're doing with marketing. don't even know what SEO is, they don't know what email marketing is, data they don't know how to lead captures on the websites. Like none of this very basic stuff they know how to do. So, if you are even average at marketing, As a marketing company, you will crush local competition as far as I've seen. even though I was doing very basic stuff, which I didn't really know how to do, I realized, Hey, we're still starting to get traction. And as I learned more and more, you know, you get involved with forums, see what other people are doing, see what other successful companies do. And you realize that the core aspects of any local company, at least in our industry are three things- one is SEO and rankings, the other is reviews. So making sure you have pristine Yelp, Google reviews, and the other is just email marketing and lead capture. Basic stuff, right? But those are the three things, for example, that we do for our franchisees, because we know how critical it is on the local spectrum. So once after a lot of discovery, I discovered, Hey, these are the three pillars which are bringing us the most business. I just doubled down on that. And we still have other ways of doing marketing now over the course of years that we've tested out just to drive leads when we need. You know, you pull a lever and you're able to get lead flow. Um, but those are the three things that I've found over this eight years of doing it. That this is the foundation. You have to have those three things, and then everything goes from there. I was looking at your website earlier. It's a nice website, but one of the things that I really liked about it is it clearly articulates your value proposition. And if somebody is looking for the service, it quickly gets to the point of figuring out how much it's going to cost, right? And how quickly that you can set up somebody to come and pay a visit. How long did it take you to get that website where it is today? Eight years? I just saw it yesterday, actually just for the podcast.

Eric Dickmann:

Perfect.

Neel Parekh:

Yeah. Yeah You should see the first iteration of our website. Like, I didn't even know what Google Adwords was. So that's me trying to set up a website, it was just like terrible. A hundred dollar template, the logo was made in Microsoft Word. Awful, awful. So I went from that within a year, upgraded to another more template of the website. Within another three years, maybe another website. So this website iteration I've had right now is completely customizable, probably did that about two years ago. 2019. I would say since it gets to this iteration took us six years. But you know, I think I should have done it way earlier. Anyone will say that because if we're focusing on digital marketing, if someone looks at your brand and decides based on the website, if they're going to buy you or not. Like, that's your biggest marketing piece right there. And we didn't even get a pristine website like this until six years down the line. Yeah, our website before wasn't bad. It just wasn't custom built, it wasn't fully catered to the audience. So you know, having a great looking website, I think is very key for doing digital marketing.

Eric Dickmann:

I would assume that in your business, there is not a long sales lead time right? If somebody is looking for this service, they're probably going to convert pretty quickly. And so once they click on those keywords that you're paying for, you want to have them on a landing page. That explains exactly what they're going to get and get them to convert right then and there. How important has it been to sort of refine your messaging on those landing pages to have a call to action that actually results in them submitting their information.

Neel Parekh:

Yeah, very good observation. And I think it depends on the industry for us. About 50% of bookings are on the website, 50% are phone calls. We found that usually customers who have a ticket item over $200 will want to call. On ones under $200 for our type of service, they don't mind just booking online. But the bigger ones, they want to speak with someone they're like, Hey, I'm spending a good amount of money. Let me ask you to speak with someone on the phone. Phone sales typically do convert better I think, just because you could consult them and talk to them as well. So you know our calls to action are two things, either you book on the website or you call us on the phone, if you have a concern. So ideally they can just self book and on the booking forward to say, look, if you have any questions, you call us, our numbers here, along with a ton of social proof all around the booking form. And we kind of guide them through the different steps. So the whole goal is to avoid confusion on the booking form on the website. If the way it's set up is they'll click, do you have a one-bedroom? Yes. Do you want a deep clean? They're like, oh, what's a deep clean? There's a little hover bar you can hover over, and it says what deeply and is, and it also says all the time, Don't worry, you could edit this afterwards. Don't worry if you have questions, call us. We try to remove any other clutter which might pop up. So that way they don't click elsewhere. So having a good funnel, and actually just keeping in mind basic stuff like I want to avoid confusion, I want to make sure there's enough social proof, I want to make sure there's enough reviews, I think that's huge. I really used this to key few things you need to do, which will result in 80% of the benefits. I think.

Eric Dickmann:

I think that's so important what you mentioned, because you're really talking about meeting the customers where they are. And so often I see companies forcing people down a very specific path, but that not might not be the path that they're most comfortable communicating. Right. Maybe they do want to actually talk to that person because they've got some questions. They don't want to talk to our chat bot or send an email to some unknown person, hoping to get a reply. And I think you have to understand your customers. And it sounds like that's exactly what you've done there is you understand that a customer is looking for a purchase over a certain dollar amount, they're probably going to want to speak to a person.

Neel Parekh:

Exactly, exactly. And that's what we advise all of our franchisees, as well as like, this is a short sales cycle, right? This isn't like someone's doing a bunch of quotes and getting people out to check the home and then maybe book in a month. This is like, if they like you with the phone, they're

going to book you, so you

Neel Parekh:

gotta be ready on the phone to pick up and close the sale immediately. Because if not, they're just going to go to somebody else, right? So there's things that we do and things we teach franchisees, which is like, this is how you make it competitive. This is how you quote, this is how you captured them. But the reality is we found it's phone sales or online bookings, right? People can do chats. It is a little bit harder to manage. And the ROI from that for the time spent on managing the chat function is a little bit tougher. So we just focused on two things, phone sales, as well as getting the convert on the online booking form. And that's the biggest ROI for us. And then comes the hard part, right? Really delivering the service. And you know, you're in unique business. You're sending strangers into somebody's private space, right? You know their homes or their rentals, and that's tricky, right? Because there has to be a trust factor there that you have with the employees who are going in there and with the customers that you're signing up. So how did you really build that trust with your customers so they are comfortable with these people coming into their homes? Eric, I love these questions that your asking me. Since these stuff has taken me years to figure out, you as the marketer, like, of course you have to know that kind of information. This is what it is. He's thinking about what the customer's worried about, which is what you just pointed out. Who is a stranger who's coming into my home. Now the first iteration of our website, talk nothing about the cleaners just said, here's the price you pay, here's about us as the company. The reality is the customer doesn't really care about us as a company. They care about who's coming to the cleaning and how much they're paying. So, what that means is on our website right now, we have to explain to them how we're vetting the cleaners. So we on the website on the first page, it says our five step cleaner screening process, only 2% of cleaners to make do with this process. We outline the steps and make it look very nice. The goal of that is to let the customers know, Hey, Dave, they've done a job with vetting the cleaners, the people who are coming. We feel secure and safe with them, right? But it took us a while to even realize like, oh duh, like of course the customer wants to know who's coming to their home. They don't care about us, the office staff, they care about the cleaners. So now that we know that, everything on the website's kind of geared towards ensuring that they know the exact process their cleaners is gonna go through and all the email communication talks about that as well.

Eric Dickmann:

I love that. And I noticed it so prominently on the website. And one of the things that I love is as a marketer, what you're always trying to do is preempt customer questions, customer concerns. Not just talk about your features and benefits, you know, we leave your windows sparkling clean or something like that, yeah great, you'd expect that, right? But what you're really trying to do is overcome those objections and very prominently on your website, you're doing that. And what, what was the rate? Something like 2% are you accept or it was a pretty low number.

Neel Parekh:

It's a great stat. I love it. It's just like we only saw 2% of applicants who applied to get jobs who made this, like that's just the fact. So now that we have that stat, I can parade it around everywhere. Cause it sounds like such a low percentage and it is, right? We have a very strict screening process. The thing is customers are not going to know that unless you tell them that they're just very strict screening process and here's the data around that as well. One thing we also did on the website is to address exactly what you're talking about is having guarantees around what the customer's biggest worry is, right? For example, we have two divisions. One is regular residential, one is vacation rentals. Vacation rental is the customers are always concerned that the cleaner's not going to show up. Why? Because they only come into us if they work with the individual cleaner who's flaked. And they're like, oh my God, I need a professional company to come out because my guests are going to check into a dirty home. So our guarantee is never a no show guaranteed. Right? Boom. You get that? To get that badge. You put it right on the top of the header and all of a sudden the, where he is, Hey, is someone going to show up like, oh, they haven't ever no show guarantee. Oh, now there's this online booking, there's a phone number I could call, there's a cleaner vetting process here, like it all kind of ties it together. So I think the guarantee is actually extremely important for any business. It doesn't matter if it's local or not, but what is the one biggest worry your customer has make that a guarantee that your next biggest worry, make that as like a five-step cleaner screening process, which you could address somewhere on the webpage.

Eric Dickmann:

Hey, it's Eric here and we'll be right back to the podcast. But first, are you ready to grow, scale, and take your marketing to the next level? If so, The Five Echelon Group's Virtual CMO consulting service may be a great fit for you. We can help build a strategic marketing plan for your business and manage its execution, step-by-step. We'll focus on areas like how to attract more leads. How to create compelling messaging that resonates with your ideal customers. How to strategically package and position your products and services. How to increase lead conversion, improve your margins, and scale your business. To find out more about our consulting offerings and schedule a consultation, go to fiveechelon.com and click on Services. Now back to the podcast. I love that as well. I recently had some service work done at my house and they say, well, the technician might be there anytime from eight o'clock until three in the afternoon or four in the afternoon. And you think about that. So you're just supposed to sit around and wait. So when it's convenient for them to show up, That's not really delivering very personalized service, it's not addressing any of my needs. I'm a working person, I need to be doing my job as well. So I love that you're putting a guarantee behind your service and addressing those specific challenges because I can imagine if you've got a rental business. Yeah. It would be awful if your unit wasn't cleaned when your next guest showed up.

Neel Parekh:

You know, we have a one hour arrival window and I had a customer recently ask me, Hey, I've a very tight deadline, Can you make that 30 minutes? I would love to tell them, yes,

don't worry, it will be

Neel Parekh:

done in 30 minutes. Hey, look, I'd rather not over promise and under deliver. We have to keep the one hour arrival window, LA traffic sucks. I'm so sorry but that's part of our guarantee. It could only be guaranteed if these are the parameters around it, which isthe one hour arrival window. So also being transparent with the customer with what are the parameters around the guarantee, I think that's critical as well.

Eric Dickmann:

I would imagine that because you're a remote managed service based business that you can't go out and inspect every house that's being cleaned to make sure that these cleaners are doing a good job, so you're relying a lot on your customers to really validate whether the work is being done correctly. How do you manage that with your customers and keeping up customer satisfaction?

Neel Parekh:

Yeah. And look at it's, that's probably the toughest part of any business, So I think are a lot of our focus is on customer service more than anything, right? Because the cleaners get dispatched from their home straight to the job. So hopefully we've onboarded a good cleaner, and we have a good way of screening out the bad matter what things are going to, cleaner's going to get through, which is the bad experience for the customer. So if there is a bad experience, we're always following up after the first cleaning via text messages saying, first of all, How'd everything

go? Cool? Once you leave us a review on Facebook, Google, Yelp, anything like that. If it's bad, we address it immediately. We are very generous with our refund policy, with a refund policy, anything to keep our reviews pristine and the customers happy, honestly. So it is a pain, but the reality is for any market, you know, that your existing customers are 10 times easier to sell another service then, and you got. So the fact that you're giving them, let's say a free cleaning just to keep them happy as well. Just

Neel Parekh:

keep your existing customers happy and just bite the bullet on you know, when issues come up and just make sure they're taken care of. And it's painful, like especially at the beginning, we were like, I am giving this customer all their money back for this specific small reason. I think it's complete BS. Then you know the trick I found is you write it as a budget line item. So my mind is more of like sanities. Like I am budgeting $500 a month for refunds. It's okay. It's in the line item of my budget and I feel okay with it. So that's like, we want to get over it, but that is key, that is key.

Eric Dickmann:

That's a great way to look at it. And it's interesting to me because oftentimes with growth companies where they really fall apart is on service delivery, right? It's after the sale service, because they've spent so much time and energy investing in their product, in developing their marketing to sell their product, that now all of a sudden the product or service is going out the door, but they really don't have the infrastructure in place to service those customers once they get the service or the product. How did you approach that? You know you're talking about having a call center like function where people can call in and talk to a sales agent as well as being able to call in if they have any service delivery problems. So how did that work as you grew the company?

Neel Parekh:

Yeah. You know, when you asked that now it makes me so jealous of like our franchisees, who don't need to reinvent the wheel. Like, I don't know how many hundreds of thousand dollars she probably lost from not having that set up, but that's the entrepreneur's journey. When you get started, you summarized it perfectly. You have a product, you put it out, you're like great people are buying, we're growing, things are awesome. Then you realize, oh, there's the other end of it where after you've done the sale, now you have to take care of the customer in case there are issues, and seem to take you a long time to figure out that system of how do you keep the customer happy? Which is part of marketing to be honest, the marketing, sales, it's all related because customer retention, right? If you have a great marketing funnel, but then the customers don't stay, what's the point of the marketing funnel? So we've tried a ton of different things, and we're still constantly iterating what we can do for customer happiness. The number one thing which is going to solve 90% of the issues, just to make sure you have a good product, right? Sometimes it's tough, especially when humans are involved to make sure you have a good product and a consistent product, but that's going to solve most of the issues. And then after that, you just have to realize or take account of what are the biggest complaints I'm seeing? And having someone constantly analyze it. So on our weekly management meetings, we look at every single complaint for the week and try to find the common thread. Is this a quality and scheduling issue? Are customers just moving away? Are we communicating with them too much, so that way they don't like it. So we're constantly looking at what are the common threads of why people are canceling and trying to button those things up with patchwork kind of. So that's all I'd recommend is make sure your product's good, and then afterwards, analyze, analyze, analyze data points of why customers are unhappy, and then button those up one by one.

Eric Dickmann:

When you mention

Neel Parekh:

How would you measure?

Eric Dickmann:

You mentioned earlier, reviews, things like Yelp and Google reviews, and I'm sure customer referrals play a role in the business as well, where friends refer other friends or, uh, other Airbnb hosts recommend their friends who are doing the same. How important is that to your business or to the growth of your business?

Neel Parekh:

Especially on the vacation rental side. It's huge because any vacation rental community in your city is going to be a pretty small community. Meaning all the hosts, like they're on the same Facebook groups, they know each other. They're going to ask each other, Hey, my cleaner's late, can your cleaner come out? Thus we have to do co-hosting. So even if you can't take care of the clients, letting them down in a nice way, or even if let's say I'll give an example, we're fully booked, so there's some new hosts who are trying to contact us and we can't take care of them. So I'm telling my team, contact them still, even though they've inquired and we can't take care of and tell them, I'm so sorry. We can't take care of you. But at least call them and tell them because the reputation is so important in the small insular community and word gets around rather quickly. So I have not been able to attribute a certain percent of our business, which is referral-based. I know I should be focusing on that more. I'd say that's one of the biggest pillars that any local service companies should be focused on is what is your percentage of business coming from referrals? So I don't know that exactly. I do know it is vitally important to keep your reputation overall in line because the world has lost smaller than they think.

Eric Dickmann:

Oh, it is. And it's a shame how some companies handle it. I had an experience recently where I had some problems I had called into the company to try to get them resolved. Wasn't happening. I left them a negative review on Yelp and Google. If I didn't get a phone call the next day, you know, but by that time, it's too late, right? The damage has been done. And I think for a lot of companies, they don't take that after the sale service seriously enough, they let things get out of hand, which then results in people leaving a negative review because let's face it. People are more likely to vent their frustrations in a negative way if they've had a bad experience, than a positive way. And so you really have to be proactive when it comes to customer service to get those positive reviews.

Neel Parekh:

Eric, question for you. How would you recommend someone do that if they don't have the resources to have someone call every customer and say, how do your experience go? Do you have an automated solution or would you say, Hey, this will help prevent negative views online.You know, companies which are rapidly scaling, they might not be able to devote resources to that.

Eric Dickmann:

Companies sometimes or people just want to be heard. And so I think a lot of times, if you can just provide them a venue to be heard, maybe it's a survey, or maybe it's a survey with a small incentive, you know? We really appreciate your business. If you would just take a few minutes to fill out the survey, I want to send you this $10 Amazon gift card or $5 Amazon gift card, or something like that. And then you could prompt them at the end, you know, if you've been really happy with our experience, would you be interested in leaving us a review? But if it feels real, if it feels genuine, and you're really trying to improve you know, their experience as a customer. I think people respond well to that. They just need a voice, but not like calling into the bank. and after every phone call they say, would you mind taking this brief survey. That just feels inauthentic, right? It just feels like that's something for HR needs. It's nothing for me as a customer, it's not gonna make any difference in the service that I get.

Neel Parekh:

You know, it's funny. I was just on my Chase website and I logged in. And as a marketer, you appreciate how ridiculous this is. They took over the entire page just to get me to leave a survey. And I couldn't figure out how to get out of this. Chase

did this. and I was like, okay, I'm just going to exit the whole window, I guess and not log back in the chase to do my banking for now. It was just kind of ridiculous. We were like these large companies, sometimes you're so out of tune with how this works, Exactly

Neel Parekh:

what you said that you can't just make an impersonal, you can make it intrusive for the consumer, but a lot of times companies do that.

Eric Dickmann:

People want to feel like their comments are going to lead to action. That if they leave a negative comment that somebody is going to call them and follow up and say, I read this that's really concerning. Tell me a little bit more about what happened, or even if somebody leaves a very positive comment in a survey, follow up and say, thank you so much for that nice thing they want to feel heard. And I think so many of these big companies, none of this stuff makes anybody feel heard. It just feels like it's an intrusion.

Neel Parekh:

Absolutely, absolutely.

Eric Dickmann:

So, where do you see growth in the future? So you talked about franchising. That's an exciting thing as an entrepreneur, right? To be able to scale and franchise out. Is that the future or is this going to be the start of several business ventures?

Neel Parekh:

For now, I'm full force into the franchising. And I think with any entrepreneur, you're going to get the itch and say, you want to do 20 different things. But for now I'm trying to, I focus as much as I can because I'm loving what we're doing with franchising. So we are franchising our operations and expanding pretty much everywhere outside of California and the US. So we just started, we have our first location up in Denver and maybe a couple more coming this year, and really just on the hunt for people who fit the corporate culture, the vibe who understand that. Hey, you can bring your marketing prowess to this old school cleaning industry and just kind of dominate, right? So we're really excited about being actually the first franchise, which is focused on vacation rental cleaning, period. just expanding on that and just trying to be the new kids on the block in a very old school franchise industry. That's what's exciting to me right now. You know, you're the second guest that I've had on the podcast. A similar kind of entrepreneurial concept.I had a guest on who had a lawn mowing business, but he sort of taken this national and the idea was the same. You would go onto a website, you would punch in your address, they would display a quote of what it would cost to get your lawn mowed by vetted services. And then they would take care of all the payments and arranging for it all to happen. But you know, lawnmowing is, you know, that's the first job we all had sort of out of high school, you know? It's, it's doing that, it's not a new kind of a thing, but they're taking technology. And I think your point at the beginning of the show was so important that a lot of these local businesses, the small businesses, they don't adapt, they don't see the opportunities. And that's where there really are some opportunities for entrepreneurs. So I love it. Yeah, I love the dirty, old industries, right? The ones where it's like you don't, those are used as a cash cow. It's just not the super sexy nuance, but like the old school cleaning, trash, lawnmowing, painting. Like that's what excites me because I know the competition is probably not gonna be up to par, I know there's money to be made if you just do at par marketing. You're going to beat the competition. So I love that.

Eric Dickmann:

You know I went to a Tony Robbins event a couple of years ago. I love Tony. And you know, he brings some of the success stories on stage, you know, to talk about the great things that they've achieved, and it's exactly what you talked about. It's the guy who runs the port-a-potty business or the metal recycler, or it's not the app developer. That's not who ends up coming on stage, but I think a lot of people look for the glamorous, the, what. you know, appear to be kind of sexy jobs or entrepreneurial activities, but oftentimes those aren't the ones with the most potential.

Neel Parekh:

Yeah. Exactly.

Eric Dickmann:

And, you know, I'd love it. If you could just share with the audience a little bit more about the company and where they could find you online.

Neel Parekh:

Sure, yeah. If you're interested talking with me with franchising, whatever you'd like, just go to maidthisfranchise.com. You can also find me directly on neelparekh.co. We're actively looking for people to join us and franchise. A lot of the people who've had the most success with local businesses are ones who have somewhat of a marketing background, somewhat of a tech background, and also looking for just kind of remote work. So if you are interested just go to maidthisfranchise.com and you can contact me there.

Eric Dickmann:

I love that. And we will make sure to have all of that linked up in the show notes so that people can find it. But this has been a great conversation, I've really enjoyed it. I love your entrepreneurial energy. It sounds like a great business and I wish you all the best and future success as you branch out and franchise.

Neel Parekh:

Thank you very much. Good being here.

Eric Dickmann:

Thanks again. Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. For more episodes, go to fiveechelon.com/podcast to subscribe through your podcast player of choice. And if you'd like to develop consistent lead flow and a highly effective marketing strategy, visit fiveechelon.com to learn more about our Virtual CMO consulting services.