Zombies don’t think. They don’t feel. They just look for human brains to eat. To a certain extent, they’re rather Zen-like un-people. They just live in the moment. They go with the flow. Smash a shovel over their skull, they just keep going like nothing ever happened. And once they get to you, well, now you’re a zombie too. The status quo of any system is very much like a zombie. It plods forward with little regard for new ideas hitting it in the head. It lumbers about looking for new brains, but acts exactly the same once it eats them. The status quo likes things just the way they are – just like a zombie.
As a uniform rental customer, you know exactly what we’re getting at. Rental providers, for the most part, adhere to the status quo. They don’t like change. They like the appearance of change, but they shun deep, industry shifts. Consequently, you experience the brusque nature of how these services are designed. “We identified the ruin in the plant. Pay the invoice.” “Your inventory is adjusted upward when we see spikes in your activity. You need to pay.” “We don’t lose garments in our facility. You need to pay the loss charge.” BRAINS! GIVE US BRAINS!
THE SERVICE DESIGN IS MEANT TO MAKE YOU THINK CHANGE IS TOO COSTLY
Perhaps you’ve also felt the way the service design encourages you to just let things ride. For instance, have you ever told your provider that you want to terminate the contract? Only to be told that you can expect a $45,000 bill for liquidated damages. Or a $35,000 bill just for ruin and loss alone. They make you think that they have all the facts. That it’s simply not worth the hassle. That, maybe even a lawyer would have to get involved. These bad service design elements are meant to make you feel like it’s not worth it. How can this design be countered?
Data. Documentation. And a strategy that uses your provider’s poor service design as a basis for leverage. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – this isn’t about trying to demonize your provider. We simply want to create transparency and show you what’s really going on. Ultimately, we want to help your provider know more about you in order to make you a happier customer. We realize that’s a tall order, but we’re ready for the task. But it all comes down to you. Are you up for the challenge of challenging your provider?
THE STANDARD WAY OF PROCESSING INVOICES HAS A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW
We won’t go down the rabbit hole here of how and why we know the invoice-to-pay process is intrinsically inadequate. Suffice it to say, you likely believe you have processes in place that perform sufficiently, and that trying to improve them has very little ROI. Especially when it comes to uniform rental invoices. The feeling that cutting any more cost is too costly to achieve is exactly what a zombie would want you to think. If you take for granted that your provider is actually managing your services in your best interest, then you have likely been zombified. That’s a disparaging thing to point out, but it is also a data-driven and provable assessment of the uniform rental industry.
Even if you are satisfied with your provider, we still challenge you to look for signs of zombies. You like your driver? Great. When’s the last time he or she did an inventory that indicated a reduction was in order? Think your pricing is fair? Awesome. Do you know what the oil shop a mile away is paying for the exact same items? Have you been told you lose 5% of your shop towels and believe it’s a hassle to argue anyway? Okay. Then you accept that you’re paying an extra 20% for nothing.
The uniform rental industry KNOWS that you do NOT know the multitude of ways your invoices and services operate. They are confident that their zombie horde will slowly eat your brain away. You’ll stop asking the right questions. Then you’ll stop pushing back. You’ll just pay the invoice, even when you know it’s not exactly correct. We think things can be better. We ask you to push back on the zombie mentality and demand better service levels and service design from your provider. Do it through data, facts and leverage. Whatever you do, don’t get zombified.
Have a fun Halloween!