Charlie Sheen may have coined the hashtag a few years ago, but no matter what’s happening, everyone likes winning! The same goes for your business – you want to feel like you’re winning, especially with your customers. And if you’re trying to run a cleaning business, the path to success is lined with good, solid cleaning contracts. But it’s not just about winning the contract – it’s about doing everything you can to keep the contracts you win, and that means focusing on customer service.
The problem with the cleaning industry is that competitors mainly fight over price – every company provides the same basic set of services and tries to convince new customers that they’re the best, the greenest, and the most reliable. Then they underbid the contract and underperform on the job itself. This means that you, a business that works hard to win contracts, must interweave the best aspects of your company into everything you do, and that includes how you write contract proposals, making sure your employees are happy and perfecting the level of customer service you provide to every customer, no matter what kind of customer they are.
1. Clean Up Your Contracts
There are a few key things that must be covered by your cleaning contracts, but you need to remember that, more than your services or your price, you want to promote the solutions you’re providing to potential customers. Start with why. Why should the customer hire you over some other company? Why do you do what you do? By reaching customers on a more personal level, you’re letting them know that you’re interested in a business relationship, not just a quick sale. Here are a few other things you need to let them know:
- Description of your services: A contract should cover what is and isn’t in your scope of work. This is also a great time to include customer testimonials – let your current clients convince your potential customers that you’re worth it!
- Cleaning supplies: Be sure to outline who will be providing all the cleaning supplies that you’ll be using on the job.
- Payment terms: Your contract should address how much the client will pay, in what form, and when each payment is due.
- How to handle damages, complaints, and disputes: While handling complaints isn’t a fun part of the job, make sure you emphasize your commitment to making any problem right. Communication with your customers is key.
- Termination: The contract should have a clearly stated, definitive time frame, and include the way in which a contract can be terminated.
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2. Your Employees are Key
You’ve vetted them out, you’ve worked through the hiring process, and you’ve made the decision to hire each person. That’s a lot of work! How are you showing your people that they’re appreciated, valued, or important to running your business? Take these tips into consideration:
- Keep it Structured: Structure is key to running any business effectively. If you don’t already have action steps in place for managing your people, try using a different approach. Keeping your schedule organized with a management software program can help.
- Train Them Well: The only way your employees will know if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing is if they’re trained well. This means you should be hands-on and give them training materials to reference back to if they have questions.
- Schedule Raises and Rewards: By conducting performance reviews yearly and having a system in place for rewards and recognition, you can decrease employee turnover and increase satisfaction all around your office.
- Have Fun: Working hard is necessary but allowing your employees to have fun builds morale and helps with bonding your team. The fun things to try will vary depending on the size of your staff and your budget but be open to suggestions!
3. Serve Your Customers Well
If you’re thorough with your contracts and have a happy staff, but don’t have any happy customers, your business won’t last very long. Improving the level of customer service you provide can be trying, but it’s necessary to maintain a lasting, successful business. Here are some service strategies to try:
- Go Above and Beyond: A client will give you a list of the things they want to be handled on their cleaning job, but as a professional, you know that while some people will be very specific and detailed, most people won’t be. You need to know when to step up or step back. If a client asks you to keep their bathrooms clean, but you notice that the hallway floors need some work, make it a point to offer more or up-sell what you’ve already agreed upon. This will show the customer that you have initiative and can innovate as needed.
- Clarify Your Terms: Language builds culture, and if you’re working in the cleaning industry world, you understand what certain terms mean, like a flat mop or surfactant, but that won’t be the case for most of your customers. They’re in their own world, with their own business language to deal with. Be sure to fully explain any terms that may sound confusing or could be misunderstood. By answering their questions before they ask, you’ll avoid the customer feeling embarrassed or getting upset when they don’t understand something.
- Be on Time: Punctuality is a lacking art in our culture. If someone says he’ll be somewhere at a certain time, you can almost expect that he’ll be at least 5 minutes later than he said. Don’t be that company! If possible, have your staff come early to each job, even building that time into the work order itself. Being a little early shows the customer that you’re committed to excellence in all areas, not just cleaning.
- Follow Up: A lot of your customers may only need a one-time cleaning, or they may be a long-term contract holder. Either way, make sure you follow up with them after the services have been completed. Ask them about the services provided, your staff, any questions or comments they have, and make sure they feel like they’re the most important client you have. Really listen to what they have to say!
Bring it All Together
If you’re looking for a way to help you win and keep more cleaning contacts, or you need a tool to help your business run more smoothly, it’s time to check out Janitorial Manager. Our cloud-based software program and corresponding app have been designed to help cleaning companies manage all aspects of their daily work: time, schedule, employees, budget, work orders, inventory ordering, and more. Contact us today for a free demo!