Without customers, you have no cleaning business. Here’s how to retain clients and keep your company going.
One of the most successful feelings in running a business is closing a deal with a new customer. That’s one of the most obvious ways to grow your cleaning organization. The real trick in developing a solid business, however, is learning how to retain clients.
Steady clients mean steady income, good relationships, and a regular schedule. What business owner doesn’t want that? Plus, when you have a good customer base, you don’t have to stress as much about continually signing new contracts.
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How to Retain Clients: 5 Steps for Steady Business Relationships
Let’s dispel a few myths first, then we’ll get into how to retain clients successfully. To begin with, your clients aren’t going to stay with you because you have the lowest rates in town. If that’s the only reason they’re with you, it’s because they want a deal and not because they value your work. That’s not to say you can’t have competitive rates or that clients won’t leave if they can’t afford you, but if your competitive advantage is a low price, there’s always someone out there who can do the job for less money.
Secondly, you don’t want to retain all of your clients. Some, quite bluntly, aren’t right for your company. Again, this doesn’t mean that just because you disagree with a client or they have a complaint, you should dump them. What it means is that there are two types of clients: those who pay you on time and treat your team well and those who don’t. The latter are those who you have to follow up with continually to get paid, your team isn’t comfortable at their location, or they’re never satisfied. This type of client ends up costing you time, money, and energy.
Nevertheless, you can’t always be picky about which clients you have on the roster, but you can work towards growing your business with the clients you want. At least that way, you’re moving in the right direction. Now let’s talk about how to retain clients, because you really do want to keep those good clients on your list.
1. Value the relationship. Yes, this is a business transaction, but it’s also a relationship. There’s a lot you can do to let your customers know you appreciate them. Stop in just to say hello and find out if they are happy with the work your team is providing. Send cards thanking them for their business. Better yet, handwrite a note in the card. If you really want to stand out, do this for some of the more minor holidays. Everyone sends out end-of-year holiday cards, so it’s much harder to get noticed then.
2. Be proactive. We all make mistakes. Your team might miss a section of the building, or someone may be out sick, and you can’t finish the carpet deep cleaning. Maybe someone spilled cleaning products and couldn’t clean it up properly. Whatever it is, don’t wait for your clients to figure it out and come to you. Instead, go to them immediately with an explanation, an apology, and a plan to fix it.
3. Treat your team well. Happy employees create happy customers. You can read more about that here or here, but the short version is that when your employees feel taken care of, they will take care of your customers. From the customer’s point of view, it feels better to hire a company that treats its workers well.
4. Reward loyalty. There are so many ways to reward loyal customers. From discounts to free swag like hats or coffee mugs to food (a box of donuts can work wonders!), the occasional gift can go a long way in retaining clients. One potential idea for how to retain clients with rewards is this. If you’re working on a new certification or cleaning program, ask if they’re open to a freebie or two so you can try out your new skills.
5. Create a newsletter for customers. This is a great way to personalize your commercial cleaning company. Whether via email or hard copy, send out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter highlighting the people on your team, fun events that your business is supporting in your area, or update them on changes in your business. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, just enough to keep your clients in the loop and let them know what’s going on with your organization. A big part of learning how to retain clients is simply staying in communication with them.
You work hard for your clients, and when you work to retain those clients, your business will be better for it. You’ll get a great return on your investment of time and energy.
Harness the value of Janitorial Manager to grow your business like never before. Learn more today with a free discovery call and find out how to make your cleaning business more efficient and more profitable!