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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Featured Biz Question

I own a home-office cleaning business. What I'm wanting to do is to provide additional services. The clients are always asking if I can do this or that, or if I know someone who does. So I decided to include these services into my operation. I will not perform all the actual work. I want to outsource the majority of the services but still collect a fee. How do I approach other companies (well established) to even consider being a part of this business and for me to collect a referral fee?

Answer from our Guest Expert Donna Hall of The Right Answer, Customer Service Consultants

Dear Idea Cafe Schmoozer,

You're one smart cookie! Being able to recognize a good service opportunity like outsourcing will help you create win-win situations for both you and your customers. Customers are letting you know what they want, and nothing says, "service smart" more than listening to your customers. Anyone who takes service seriously in their business knows the value of good listening skills. And when your meal ticket calls for additional cleaning services, it pays to be ready to respond promptly.

Adding Outsourcing to the Pot

It's okay that you may not be an expert on each and every phase of the cleaning biz, as long as you respond to your customers' cravings. By going to someone who has a bit more experience than you in these areas is a sure fire way to keep service sizzling for your customers. Outsourcing can work like magic for you. When a potential customer calls for rug stretching, for instance, and you don't do it, find someone who does.

Trust me, you're not alone. Some leading corporations are taking advantage of outsourcing too. For example, Ottenberg's Bakers, Inc., a Washington, DC-based business, decided in 1997 it wanted to expand its business beyond the Washington Metro Area. They began by selling their tasty bread products to schools, delis, diners, restaurants and hotels in other cities up and down the East Coast. Initially, they opened their own frozen food warehouse. After two years, the owners said, "We're bakers, not warehouse experts!" So, they hit the pavement to find a company who specialized in product warehouse inventory, storage, and truck loading and receiving. By choosing to outsource this part of their business, Ottenberg's could continue focusing on what they do best, bake bread.

Now here's some advice for approaching companies to outsource for you. continued

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About the Expert
Donna Hall, President of The Right Answer

Donna Hall
Donna has been making customers happy and satisfied for more than 15 years. She learned to be a customer service whiz in the medical and newspaper industries. more