"The Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning supplies and equipment welcomes a group of new products and participants. With both newcomers and some familiar names represented in the group, the SOA program now stands at 376 solutions, 444 vacuums, 94 deep cleaning extractors and 104 systems for a total 1018."
This announcement was meant to demonstrate the importance of being part of the CRI/SOA program. But why are so very few CRI approved products advertised by their manufacturers or distributors as having the Seal? Sears® is using the Seal, but it's advertising for in-home carpet cleaning service. Very few professional cleaning companies advertise the SOA.
In our own service company ads, we use the limited space where it will do the most good. For example, we don't feature the SOA because of its lack of consumer recognition We use Angie's List and Better Business Bureau Logos because many millions of consumers recognize them as a symbol of high quality.
The SOA program began in 1996 but didn't come on line until 2002. It took ten more years for CRI to sign up 1,000 Certified Service Providers (CSPs). A look at their web site now shows that number has shrunk from 1,000 to 822. Many carpet cleaners see little value and are not renewing their annual membership. The other note of interest is that CRI touts 1,018 products approved for use on carpets. Ironically, CRI has more approved products than it does CSPs to use them.
Vacuum cleaner Infomercials are another story. The thing they all have in common is that they demonstrate how much dust and dirty air are spewed from their competitors' machines. This has been going on for years and the overriding message to consumers is that carpet is the source of filthy, germ-laden dust particles that are blown into the air we breath from a simple chore like running the household vacuum cleaner.
CRI's own technical spokesman, Dr. Michael Berry, described carpet as a "sink" or a collection place for filth. Cleaning industry teachers (many with no credentials) travel the land and espouse the message "Clean that Sink" in an effort to sell their miracle cleaning stuff. Well-meaning carpet cleaners parrot this information in their advertising and the public is inundated with the idea that carpet is the source of dirt, dust and grime.
Watch those Informercials and especially those for rental extraction machines that have the highest CRI rating and advertise the SOA. Consumer appetites are guaranteed to suffer if they watch these poorly produced shows during meal-time. The brains in the carpet industry haven't figured this out yet as they scratch their heads and wonder why sales suffer.
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