New customers are the life-blood of your cleaning business.
Because every cleaning or restoration contractor suffers from what I call client erosion. This doesn’t mean you lose customers because you do “bad work.” What happens is people move away, adjusters get transferred, previous customers lose your contact information, or old customers buy new carpet. And, sadly, some of them pass away.
You want to grow your business, which means you require a steady stream of new customers.
Think about this. A new prospective customer sees your glowing five-star reviews, calls your company, and you book the job. Great! But your challenges in this process are just beginning. Let’s count the issues you face:
New customers are clueless. All they know is you have good reviews. They don’t know much about you, your company, or your procedures. And they don’t know how to prepare their home for the work you are going to do.
Even worse, given our industry’s sad reputation, most new customers (even with your good online reviews) will be nervous about having a new company enter their inner sanctum, their home.
New customers likely are not aware of all the different additional service options (ASOs) you offer. These add ons can be done while your company is already on site. This is good for your client and even better for your company.
What you want to hear is this: “So, you can also clean my tile and grout, renovate and seal my garage floor, clean my upholstery, and re-apply my carpet’s protective treatment all in one day? Let’s do it!” But remember, your customers can not buy these ASOs if they don’t know you offer them.
Are you getting depressed by these challenges? I know I was. And then I came up with…
I realized my new customers needed to be “pre-oriented” on what to expect from my company. The old saying, “Clearly defined expectations are the basis for all successful relationships,” makes this essential.
I started this pre-orientation process by adding a “how to get ready” section to our telephone format. We reviewed this with our first-time customer right after they booked the job, and we had their address and contact information.
This helped. However, people only retain 15 percent of what they hear. Plus, many times, our new clients were calling from work or even while driving in heavy traffic. This means their retention level was zero, and all too often, our techs heard, “Your office never said anything to me about that!”
Then I developed a “how to get ready for your big cleaning day,” “Residential Client Pre-Orientation Letter” with a checklist. We also printed this on the back of each work order. This way the client automatically was pre-oriented on what to expect when they reviewed their work order after their pre-inspection.
We also emailed each customer this letter immediately after booking the job. This email also served as a time/date job confirmation, introduced their technician in advance, and let us share all the other ASOs that could be done while we were working on their home. In that email, we included a link to each ASO’s landing page on our website.
Reasons why this system works
This Residential Client Pre-Orientation Letter gives you a great business reason (excuse) to request your new customer’s email address. Once clients realize you just want to send a “how to get ready for your big cleaning day” checklist, most will readily give you their email addresses!
First-time customers feel nervous, vulnerable, and above all else, very afraid of this new company and the techs that will invade the secure refuge of their homes. Calm your new client’s fears when you include a link to their assigned tech’s “employee profile” on your company’s website. This employee profile should include photos of your employee’s family, pets, and hobbies, along with a few reviews that mention your employee by name. “Pre-introducing” our techs made their lives much easier.
By emailing my new customers this Residential Client Pre-Orientation Letter, I could create a very positive impression of our company right from the start.
Even better, from a practical standpoint, when clients knew how to prepare their homes for our services, it made our job go faster and reduced my damage claims. After all, it was much better for the homeowner to break their delicate vase while moving it instead of my techs!
Maybe most importantly, by introducing my tech(s) in advance to the homeowner, it greatly lessened the fear factor of an unknown worker in the customer’s home. This made life so much easier for my employees and for me.
Finally, once customers were pre-oriented on the many different ASOs we offered, my net profits per job skyrocketed! These profits let me reward my loyal employees, helped me in building a successful business that ran smoothly without me, and greatly increased the value of my company when I sold it.
Steve Toburen started and ran a world-class cleaning and restoration firm for over 20 years. He is now the director of training for Jon-Don’s Strategies for Success program. Toburen also founded HomeFrontSuccess.com, a resource portal with training programs for contractors working in customer’s homes. Reach Toburen at firstname.lastname@example.org.