What strategies do you use to aid in employee and customer retention?
Two of the biggest challenges a cleaning organization can face is retaining existing customers and retaining quality employees. Losing customers and employees can affect your business financially, operationally, and culturally. Studies show it costs 5% more to gain a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. An often-unforeseen impact of losing a customer is the effect on your employees. If your employees see or hear of customers leaving, they may become concerned about the future of your business and their employment status. This may cause them to leave to pursue other opportunities.
Next, when employees leave, you now have the costs associated with hiring new people, training them, and integrating them into your operation. In 2016, the average cost to replace an employee making $10.00/hour was over $3,000. Not only does it cost money to advertise, interview, hire, and train a new employee, but when your business is short staffed, customer service suffers. As a result, if customers see a high level of turnover in your business which is affecting the service they receive, they may start wondering why people do not want to stay with you. This could encourage them to start looking for another service provider. Meanwhile, when customers leave, staff start to get concerned. Therefore, you see the vicious circle affecting your long-term success.
How do you break out of this cycle? Here are 3 ideas you can implement that will increase both employee and customer retention:
1. Employee Gift Budget
Why not give each employee a small quarterly gift budget for the customers they service? For example, you give your custodian $30.00 a quarter. They buy donuts for the office they clean. They leave the donuts with a note to the staff, “Thanks for making my job easier! I appreciate working with you”, or something similar. Office staff will most likely be blown away. Who gets donuts from their custodian? When the custodian feels special, the customers will feel special. Added bonus: all the office workers now appreciate the custodian and will most likely be tidier in their daily activities.
2. “You Rock” Award
Share with your custodians and your customers that you are offering a “You Rock” award. This is exactly what it sounds like. First, get a large rock and paint it with the words “You Rock.” Then, monthly or quarterly, give the rock to a custodian that a customer acknowledged for doing a good job. It doesn’t hurt to include a small gift certificate for your employee. This builds a stronger relationship between your cleaning staff and your customers, solidifying your customer retention rates.
3. Customer Business Reviews
If you are not doing business reviews with your customers on a consistent basis, you may want to start this practice. Involving the custodian in this review brings clear and open communication about customer expectations. Reviews also allow the custodian to feel like a valued member of your team.
Business reviews do not take a great deal of time to execute. It can be as simple as a conversation over coffee about what is working well and what can be improved. A business review can be detailed with inspection history reports, special services you have performed for the customer, a recap of the time, projects, results you have produced for them, and information on their requests’ response time. This is just a starter list. With a robust management system like Janitorial Manager, these reports are only a quick click away.
Whatever idea you choose to create an engagement platform between your business, your cleaning staff, and your customer, the benefits of employee and