NOBODY LIKES CHANGE
That is why client’s go repeat
I have created the habit of making dinner while listening to Cleaning Business Today Live hosted by Tom Stewart, Liz Trotter and they normally have a guest. It is at 5:00pmEST Mon-Wed and I recommend you also make it a habit to listen to them. Not a day goes by that I am not enlightened by some tidbit and I have been in this business for 34 years! It is recorded so any time you can listen I would. Joe Walsh was their guest yesterday and he is ‘spot on’ in his approach for running a company driven by a repeat client base. Consistency drives his company in everything they do and he has found a way to make everything consistent, including massively reducing his absentee rate for cleaners. This might be a great day to learn from Joe.
I had 754 repeat clients in 2008 and consistency was a large part of how I reached and kept that number. I did a video in 2011 outlining 6 ideas I used to attain and keep repeat clients. The major ideas:
- Give them some kind of gift each year. A free periodic task (wet wiping baseboards, etc) if that is not included in your regular repeat service. We would give $10 off of window or carpet cleaning, which we provided in house, for every year they were with us. That generally resulted in income because the client would order more than what we gifted to them. It also made their home look cleaner which made them stay for another year!
- Keep bids consistent. If someone refers you to a home the same size as they are and you price that new client lower you could easily lose the current client
- Even if you use an automated follow up system also call the client after the first and third visit and every 6 months after that. If they responded through your automated system still call and say thank you personally. Tell them how important they are and “how the cleaner(s) loved cleaning their home”. No one calls anymore but they should.
- Call after every complaint or call any response that is less than a 4 from an automated response system. Then call them again on the 3rd visit after the less than 4 response was received to be sure it remained fixed. Call them during the day.
- Have your cleaner(s) leave a personalized note after every visit. i.e. “Love the new dog, can we give it treats?” or “Love the new couch” or “Thanks for letting us clean your home”. Establishes a trusting and familiar relationship. People don’t change from the familiar and from people they trust. This is even true of client’s who never even met the cleaner(s). After time they feel like they know them and they are part of their family. It is up to the cleaner(s) to establish a relationship through notes
- Pay attention to special concerns of the client. i.e. Do not let their precious dog get out the front door, make sure the recycled trash goes in the container in the garage, etc. etc. Again, this is why a client stays with the same company. They know you are familiar with their special concerns. Don’t blow it! Be sure every concern is documented. A common short fall to sending the same cleaner(s) is they have a tendency to keep everything in their memory and not document what the client has shared with them regarding their special concerns. If they are ever absent the new cleaner can make numerous mistakes because nothing is written down. There is a good chance you will lose that client because it would not have mattered if she used a totally new company. That is one of the reasons I preferred teams. If someone was absent someone else always new the home and the client felt comfortable leaving them alone in the home. No rescheduling because their regular cleaner was sick and the client didn’t want an unfamiliar cleaner in their home.
- Always honor a repeat clients request before a one time clean request. i.e. When we had a one time or first time in clean we did it last in the day on their first visit. We had no idea how long it would take and we would not take a chance at not meeting our commitment to our current client. If the new clean was not OK with being last or taking a different day we would not clean them. At many companies if a one time client insisted on the morning and the scheduler had no solid opening but did have a repeat client with key access whose window was 9:00am to 3:00pm they would book the job. They are kidding themselves when they are thinking it is OK to get to the other job by 2:30pm. It is not and the greed to book the one time job could certainly cost you a repeat client when she walks in her house ready to prepare dinner for company and you are still cleaning the kitchen. But before you turn down that new one time job don’t forget to call the repeat client and see if a later arrival might be OK. The problem occurs when a scheduler just schedules it and ‘hopes for the best’.
- NEVER CHANGE CLEANER(S)-Familiarity breeds efficiency and quality. It also breeds trust. There will be less cancellations because the client will not be home. The client will be more willing to ‘forgive’ an error and not request a redo. You will receive more referrals, often in the same area for the same cleaner(s) which is truly the home run we are all looking for. It also helps with cleaner attrition an absenteeism. They show up for work when they know what they are facing nd do not want to lose the tip that Mrs. Smith always leaves them.
You can listen to the above ideas in more detail on the original video. Sorry for the poor quality audio but the content will still help you build 754 repeat clients.