Take a proactive approach to cleaning complaints. Find out what your customers think before they tell you.
Word-of-mouth marketing is a goldmine for a small business on a tight budget. A few, very vocal happy customers can send you more business than almost any form of marketing. Unfortunately, word-of-mouth marketing can also work against you.
In the age of the internet, it only takes one or two bad reviews on social media or on a review site to drag your business down. Whether indicative of your business or not, cleaning complaints are your problem once they go public. That can be a pretty scary thing, especially for small business owners.
Even common cleaning complaints sound severe when they seem unwarranted. Someone might say that your service is slow, or your team isn’t thorough. You may even be accused of not cleaning (though real-time inspections with Janitorial Manager can help you counter such accusations). True or not, some customers or disgruntled former employees are more than happy to say your team looks through office materials, steals, or leaves supplies around.
You can avoid some of those cleaning complaints, however, by being proactive and finding out what your customers think before they take it to the internet. How? Send out customer surveys.
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How to make a customer survey and stop cleaning complaints in their tracks
It’s relatively simple to create a survey. Online programs like Google Forms and SurveyMonkey let you generate and customize surveys you can send to your customers. You can also create a survey to print and hand out to customers, though this will be a little harder to score.
Whichever method you choose, include these questions in your survey:
- How satisfied are you with our company’s service?
- Is there anything you’d like to see us add to our service?
- How can we improve our service?
- What do you like most about our service?
- What do you like least about our service?
- Are you happy with the cleaning crew assigned to your job site?
- On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best rating, how clean would you say your job site is when we’re through?
Questions like these can help intercept cleaning complaints from customers before they share their opinions on social media. There are plenty of other things you can ask, too, but this list is a good starting point. Remember, keep your questions focused on service and customer satisfaction. And don’t avoid asking negative questions, like “What do you like least about our service?” This question more than any other can help you learn about where you need to improve.
Once the surveys are returned, read through each of them carefully and compare the answers. If multiple customers write similar answers for specific questions, you know you’re either doing something right (if it’s positive) or you’ve got a problem (if it’s negative). The electronic surveys make this part very easy since they compile all of the information into a single spreadsheet. You can even create charts and graphs if you use multiple choice answers instead of open-ended essay answers.
When you have your results, it’s time to share them with the clients. Yes, all of the results. Even the cleaning complaints. That’s the reason you’re here in the first place. Sure, it’s nice to get a pat on the back if you’re doing a good job, but the point of the survey is to find out where you can improve. Once you’ve determined the areas in which you need to improve, share that information with customers through an email newsletter or a direct mailing. Let them know you’ve heard their voices and you plan to take action. When you do that, you almost guarantee that the customer will keep their assessment of your services off the web, at least for a while. (You’ll still have to make the improvements, of course.)
Thank them and follow up
Lastly, it helps if you thank the customers for taking the time to complete the survey. After you’ve identified some problem areas, set a plan to fix them, then send a follow-up survey in three months to see if anything has changed. Hopefully, you’ll find happy customers who no longer have any cleaning complaints that might end up on the internet.
If you make customer surveys a regular part of your business and you follow up each time, you’ll almost certainly stop negative publicity before it begins. Just the fact that you care enough to ask for feedback means a lot to most customers. None of us are perfect, so it only stands to reason that we take the initiative to find our flaws and work them out, so customers go home happy.
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