Building A Loyal Customer Base

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by Tom Watson on April 8, 2010

To have lasting success in the cleaning business you need to keep the customers you worked so hard to get. This is easier said than done if you are not prepared. It is not uncommon to forget about your current customers in your quest to acquire new ones.

This creates a vicious cycle.

Before long you need to replace the customers you lost just to keep your revenue stable. If you lose one a month you will need two each month just to get ahead (that’s assuming the revenue for each was similar). To avoid this you are going to need a plan to keep your customers happy while you pursue even more business. It’s not terribly complicated and well worth your time to perfect this part of your business.

Thank Your Customer For Signing Up For Service

As soon as you know you have a new customer coming on board get a thank you letter out to them (preferably before service even starts). This helps you manage the customer experience from day one by indicating you care. Something along the lines of:

“We really appreciate the trust you have placed in us. Rest assured we are going to work hard to hold up our end of the bargain. We look forward to serving your needs and thanks again for your business.”

Sign it and your done. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It just needs to convey that you care.

Follow Up With The Customers

Give your cleaning accounts a call after a week of service. Ask them about the service they have received so far. Is there any need for improvement? Take the customers input seriously as they will be judging your response if one is warranted. Act on any issues immediately then follow up again to make sure these issues have been resolved. Once the problem has been corrected write them a short handwritten note thanking them for being candid. Talk to your staff to prevent the issue from resurfacing in the future.

Turn A Complaint Into A Positive

When a customer calls you to complain they are really doing you a favor. They are notifying you of a real or perceived problem in your company. Take the issue to heart and solve it. Once the issue is resolved send a card thanking them for bringing it to your attention.

Go Out Of Your Way For A Customer In Need

Many times a customer will run into a problem that needs to be addressed quickly. They will call you at the last minute  for a job and need it done asap. Sometimes you may not have the chance to schedule it at your convenience. Yes this problem is due to a lack of foresight on your customers part. Go out of your way for them anyway. Solve their problem for them.

You will be rewarded for it in spades.

We once had a manger of a large skin care and wellness spa that called on a Friday morning indicating she needed her floors scrubbed and waxed over the weekend for a Monday “Open House” event that was scheduled. This particular customer was one we had just started servicing several months before.

The problem on our part was we were leaving the country on vacation the next morning at 5 am. We had no staff to cover on short notice as we were already booked for weekend work. Instead of turning the work down we said yes and did the entire job that evening ourselves.

Yes we were terribly inconvenienced.

Yes it was a struggle to get it finished in the time allotted. However the customer could not have been happier that we found a way to get the job done. Not only did she refer us to a extremely large account (which we landed) she called us for every floor care job and carpet cleaning maintenance she ever needed. It all transpired because we went out of our way for them and solved a problem.

Throw In A Freebie Every Now And Then

For a solid customer that never complains and is good to you or your staff consider throwing in a freebie. Maybe this customer has a small window cleaning job or something similar that needs to be completed. Do the job for no charge and say it’s on the house for being a great customer. Many times the goodwill you give will be returned in kind with referrals.

Keeping your customers loyal takes a multi faceted approach. The techniques we mentioned are but a few of the ways to keep customers coming back for more. Use your own creativity to mold the examples above to suit your needs. Always try to look at your business through your customers eyes. When you get it right you will keep your customers happy and loyal for a long time.

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