As a startup, it’s important to first identify your market, and then begin the process to win their business.
When you land a new contract, you’re excited, and rightfully so! You have proven to yourself and your new client that you are a viable business with an in-demand service – but now is when all the nuts and bolts have to be in place, and the work begins.
But winning contracts and retaining them are two very different things.
The main reason cleaning companies fail is because their service is not consistent – did you know that the demand for our services is actually growing with all the aging Baby Boomers who will need or want our services?
For 28 years my focus has not been solely on growth, but more on retention. This is the key to growing success. I currently have over two handfuls of clients that I have retained since 1995. I have learned that success is not completely measured by numbers, but more determined by a long-term, consistent client base.
Being in the service industry, you will be faced with many tasks. I have made it a priority to be focused on my day-to-day operations to ensure that customers’ contracts are being adhered to, and that my staff is clear on expectations, in order to provide a consistent customer experience. Once you have those systems in place, your service will become your greatest marketing tool.
Your service is your best tool to grow your business in this digital world we now live in. We can use that to our advantage to find free ways to promote our businesses with Google, Facebook, and Instagram pages where you can post your finished product.
I have found two key components necessary to continue to win and retain customers; the first being the quality and marketing strategy behind your work. Taking pride in your work will give you access to new clients by way of referrals because clients always share good experiences with friends and family! But, the way that you promote your work also matters. For example, the signage on your car helps neighbors know who you are. I now have company cars, but I started with only a $20.00 investment and used my personal car, which I adorned with affordable magnets. Now that’s a creative marketing strategy!
The second key component to winning and retaining customers is who you employ to help you. If your employees feel valued and part of a team, they will be happier and take pride in what they do each day. Communicating positively and clearly with them so they know what is expected of them, and making it known that they are part of a company that cares about them on a personal level, will keep them performing to their highest ability. Having consistent customers also sends a message to your staff that you are busy, which gives them a sense of security knowing your company is in demand. Personally checking in with customers from time-to-time, (especially if you are not on-site with your staff) will keep you in-the-know of the relationships between your clients and employees, and ensure everyone is happy. Furthermore, by spending time listening to your employees’ feedback on how to improve processes, you will keep your daily operations running smoothly. Your employees are in the field encountering different scenarios that may either need to be addressed with your customer or with your employees. When you create an environment where employees thrive and customers feel valued, you foster a virtuous cycle of success that can propel your business to new heights. And that is what I have aimed to do for the past 28 years.
Having a successful business is not hard, but it does require you to create a culture with your customers so they know you value them, and meet or exceed their expectations. Also, making sure your work culture allows for clear employee expectations, coupled with an open dialogue of feedback, ignites a culture of mutual success. This relationship helps processes run smoother, ensuring that you won’t only win contracts, but retain them. Nurture a culture that values and invests in both your customers and employees, and watch as success becomes a natural byproduct.