Durabond always strives to ensure all customer needs are met and satisfied, and that our customers are happy with our services – it is our number one priority!.
Recently, The Janitorial Store has put together crucial ways keep cleaning customers happy:
The relationship with cleaning clients is a lot like a marriage. After dating a prospect for a while, you agree to make it official, and then comes the honeymoon period. But when the romance wears off, what comes next? Without work, the relationship can fizzle and, eventually, end.
The key to a cleaning contract (or marriage) that lasts for years is never losing sight of the other party’s needs. It’s easy to keep cleaning customers happy for a few months, but it takes work to not let service slip as you begin courting and caring for new clients. Sadly, many commercial cleaning companies don’t realize their mistake until it’s too late.
Losing Cleaning Customers is Costly
Acquiring a new customer costs 5-9 times more than selling to an existing one and, on average, current customers spend 67% more than new ones.
Happy clients are also most likely to refer others to you—and word-of-mouth advertising is by far the most cost-effective way to land new business. Plus, unhappy clients may tell others about their negative experience, which could result in lost business.
To keep your clients happy for years, you’ll want to…
1. Craft a Quality Assurance Plan
Every commercial cleaning company should have a written quality assurance (QA) plan that defines cleaning service requirements, outlines how you’ll measure performance, and includes a method for soliciting customer feedback and making continual improvements.
Read this post to learn exactly what you should include in a QA plan, how to use it as you train employees, and how to properly use inspections to ensure consistent service and results.
2. Focus on Service
With a QA plan in place, you and your staff will have a clear understanding of the expectation for cleaning standards. But service is about more than results. Equally important is how you treat your clients. Make it your goal to always under-promise and over-deliver.
- Know your stuff. Make it your goal to be able to readily answer any question a customer throws your way. Even better, invest in training so your front-line workers are able to answer more questions without having to defer to their supervisor or management.
- Be accessible. A client will quickly grow frustrated if they can’t easily reach you when they have a question or complaint. Make sure they know when and how they can contact you, and act immediately or as quickly as possible to resolve the issue.
- Be proactive. Rather than waiting for a client to come to you with a complaint, anticipate and prevent fires. Train your staff to watch for and, when possible, remediate potential problems. This could mean a system for communicating what customers say in passing or empowering cleaners to perform services outside their normal duties.
- Make things easy. Don’t waste your customers’ time. Streamline your systems so it’s easy for clients to ask questions or register complaints, to request service changes, and to make payments.
- Share your expertise. Build your authority and deepen trust by creating resources that help your clients improve the look and health of their facilities. This can mean publishing helpful blog posts or videos, sharing tips via social media, or emailing them with the latest best practices (everyone is clamoring for disinfection tips as they deal with COVID-19, as an example).
3. Improve Your Communication
Yes, clients want clean and healthy facilities. Even more, however, they want to feel valued. They want to know that their cleaning company truly cares about them, their buildings, and its occupants. To do this, you must have constant communication with them.
Ask your customers what they want—and do it often. It’s not enough to ask about their needs when they sign the contract and then never check back. Create reminders that prompt you to contact clients at least monthly to ask about their satisfaction and how you can improve.
Also, as previously mentioned, make it easy for customers to reach you or their point person whenever they need help.
When talking to your clients, listen carefully. Give them your undivided attention, ask questions for clarification, and keep an open mind. You may be the expert on cleaning, but they are the experts on their buildings and their needs.
4. Encourage Complaints
Criticism and complaints may not be easy to hear, but avoiding them is a costly mistake. That feedback can help you make changes that mean the difference between a loyal customer and a terminated contract.
Create a system that encourages complaints. The information you collect will help you refine systems and services to improve client care.
When clients complain, answer or return their calls promptly, hear them out without defensiveness, apologize for the problems, and address their concerns as quickly as possible.
Whenever possible, do what it takes to appease the client even if it costs you time and money. Remember, it costs more to find a new client than to keep an existing one. That said, never make promises you can’t keep. Failing to meet an already dissatisfied client’s expectations may be enough to make them end their contract. Handle it well, however, and you can transform them into a customer for life.
5. Make it Personal
In the age of social media and social distancing, people often overlook the importance of old-fashioned service. Sending handwritten thank-you notes on a regular basis is likely to make a big impact with clients.
Whether it’s a personal note, a birthday gift, or a shout out by name on social media, find ways to make your customers feel important.
Also, periodically reward your loyal clients by sending them a gift, helping them generate business, discounting their services, providing a free add-on service, waiving a fee, or giving them early access to a new product or service.
Always look for ways you can demonstrate to your clients that you truly value them and appreciate their business.
Keeping clients happy is the key to retaining contracts for years not months. It not only increases client retention, it also lowers customer acquisition costs by boosting your reputation and encouraging referrals. All of that adds up to more profits. Win-win.
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Steve Hanson has been helping owners of commercial cleaning companies build a more profitable and successful cleaning business since 2005. Steve is also a CITS Certified Professional Trainer (C.P.T.) and business coach.