Stanley Steemer Empowers Franchisees to Stay Ahead of Local Competition with Yext
Since 1947 Stanley Steemer has been providing professional deep cleaning services to residential and commercial customers across the nation. A household name with iconic vans and a familiar jingle, the biggest carpet-cleaning company in the country manufactures its own equipment, trains its own people, and delivers exceptional service.
Still family-owned, Stanley Steemer has a dual business model in which locations are either corporate-owned or franchised, depending on the market. "The corporate locations are primarily in larger cities, like New York, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and Denver — major markets, basically," explains Chelsea Penzone, Director of Strategic Marketing. "Then the franchises, with a few exceptions, tend to be in slightly smaller markets."
While well-established as a national brand, Stanley Steemer knows how important it is to manage digital knowledge for each individual location."We are the only national presence when it comes to television advertising for our category. In fact, we don’t really have any other true national competitors. Our competition is at the regional level," says Penzone. "There are 50,000 carpet cleaning businesses in the United States. It’s an extremely regionalized and fragmented industry across the country. And there’s a low degree of brand loyalty in the carpet cleaning business. This is a promotion-driven, offer-driven industry," she explains. "Most people do research online, so even if word of mouth is great, people are still seeking out reviews and perusing social media in order to make decisions. Honestly, to win at the local level, it’s essential that our business has consistency across the entire digital ecosystem."
Consistent Digital Knowledge is Critical to Good Business
"We have subsequently given significantly more attention to mobile in recent years," Penzone explains. "Today our traffic from smartphones and tablets almost equals traffic coming in from desktop."
With the exception of a few rug facilities where people can drop off their fine area rugs for cleaning, Stanley Steemer brings deep cleaning services directly to customers’ locations — right into their homes or offices. So its customers do not typically have a need for addresses and directions. However, correct phone numbers, up-to-date reviews, and location-specific social media pages have never been more critical to business. Penzone clarifies, "If someone has an inquiry and sees a local number that is wrong, that person will move on. It’s very easy to move on. Accuracy and consistency are key for us, even though we are not a traditional brick and mortar business."
While customers do not frequently need to access location directions from a mobile device, other segments of people often do. Technicians picking up equipment, new hires, and people interviewing or training for jobs all need to be able to navigate their way to a specific location. "Before Yext we would get complaints from our locations," Penzone recalls. "’The candidates can’t find our location!’ ‘They went to the wrong address!’ ‘The map was wrong!’ That is a big piece of the puzzle that Yext helps solve."
Partnering with Yext Improves Franchise Management
After being referred to Yext by an agency, Penzone was swiftly sold on the platform’s extensive digital knowledge management capabilities. Stanley Steemer uses Yext Listings to manage the public facts about its brand. The Yext Knowledge Engine enables brands like Stanley Steemer to manage the digital knowledge about their people, places, and products across their websites, mobile apps, internal systems, and the entire Knowledge Network — the industry’s largest ecosystem of maps, apps, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo. Now with over 14,000 live listings, Stanley Steemer has increased its overall presence by 32% since launching with Yext.
“We have a really great team at Yext. The attention to our account has been exceptional,” says Penzone. “We are the type of company that likes to take baby steps with our new vendors, so we began with just Listings. Then as we got comfortable and realized the Yext platform comprehensively worked better than what we were attempting to do piecemeal, we asked what else we could do with the platform — how we could extend our use of it.”
Penzone and her team jumped at the opportunity to incorporate social media posting into their account. “Honestly the Facebook portion of the Yext platform has been the most exciting thing we have done,” she says. “Previously, we had quite a few rogue franchises and many abandoned pages. It was such a big mess of content. It wasn’t branded, it wasn’t consistent. For example, if we at corporate were already running a contest on our national page, a franchise might just share it — which would be redundant.”
Stanley Steemer operates 282 separate Facebook pages — one for each location. Yext makes it easy for Penzone and her team to create a post just once, and then choose whether to publish it across all location pages, or only to a select subset of locations. Over a nine-month period, Stanley Steemer received 7.1 million Facebook post impressions.
By centralizing the pages and creating a solid platform for each location, Penzone’s team is relieving franchisees of a burden — while also giving them the opportunity to take their Facebook presence even further, should they choose to do so. “The franchisees were ecstatic,” she says. “So excited. They are happy that they can have the option of a Facebook presence without the obligation and the worry about maintenance. They can control it as much or as little as they wish. They have the option to post locally, but they don’t have to if they don’t want to.”
Looking ahead, Penzone hopes to discover new ways to leverage the Yext Knowledge Engine to empower Stanley Steemer’s franchisees and help them win at the local level. “Yext helps drive consistency across corporate and franchise locations,” she says. “That is ultimately what we are trying to do. Since we have started working with Yext, the amount of issues and concerns our franchisees experience has dramatically dropped.”