Learn how janitorial tasks like restocking restroom consumables contribute to your customer's overall satisfaction.

Does your commercial cleaning company want to improve your client retention rate? Learn how your janitorial quality control program affects customer satisfaction.

On average, commercial cleaning companies consistently lose 25-35 percent of their clients every year. According to the Harvard Business Review—new customer acquisition can cost from five to 25 times more than retaining current clients.

If that feels intimidating, take a deep breath, Fredrick Reichheld from Bain & Company re-establishes hope. Reichheld states that by improving client retention by 5 percent, you can increase profitability by 25 to 95 percent!

By understanding the correlation between customer retention and your company’s revenue, you have the power to do something about it. You can proactively create an action plan to improve customer satisfaction. As you create your plan, imagine yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Think about your customers and how their facility helps them generate revenue. In an article by The Washington Post, 96 percent of dissatisfied customers leave without voicing a complaint. To make matters worse, 91 percent of those disgruntled customers never return.

If you are maintaining a retail space or a restaurant, the cleanliness of the facility makes an impact on your customer’s recurring revenue. With that in mind, here’s how your commercial cleaning business can improve your customer’s satisfaction:

Connecting Your Customer’s Feelings to Your Cleaning Service

If you are trying to keep your customers happy, you must understand how your products and services influence client retention. According to the Kano Model, a customer’s satisfaction is their emotional reaction to your janitorial business’ service offering and delivery.

Here’s how the Kano Model might categorize the services your janitorial team offers:

Customer satisfaction is a dynamic balance between your team's service delivery and your client's emotional reaction to your service.
  • Performance: Sometimes customer satisfaction is directly tied to the raw number of services you can provide. If your team can remove snow, landscape, and manage the customer’s sanitation needs—your customer has to manage fewer vendors, which is a huge win!
  • Must-Be: From your customer’s point of view, they pay your team to clean the facility. If your frontline team doesn’t deliver the cleanliness your sales team promised, then the customer will be upset. It’s a perfect example of how your team benefits from using janitorial quality control software.
  • Attractive: These features are noticed by a customer when they experience something beyond what they know. For example, our mobile surveys give your team the ability to listen to building patrons. Acting on facility visitor’s feedback in real-time will make your company look more attractive.
  • Indifferent: The services in this category leave your customer with a neutral feeling. Use customer surveys to identify these service offerings so that you don’t waste time developing them.

When you understand the Kano Model, then you know that increasing your customer’s satisfaction is a balancing act. The good news, you directly control your service offering and delivery. In turn, these efforts influence your customer’s emotional reaction to your service.

Identifying the Metrics to Measure Customer Satisfaction

Truthfully, measuring client satisfaction and retention through your business’ revenue is important. However, by the time your customer lifetime value affects your revenue—it is too late. You need metrics that will help you identify problems early.

Make sure you are able to gather a balance of metrics that evaluate your team's service delivery and your customer's reaction to your service.

If you are using the Kano Model as a guide to manage customer satisfaction—you need two sets of metrics. The first set will measure the quality of your team’s service delivery. In the sanitation industry, this is typically measured through janitorial quality control inspection.

In addition to monitoring cleanliness, think about the other parts of the custodial service you can control. For example, when you use CleanTelligent Software, you can easily measure your team’s responsiveness to work order requests.

The second set of metrics will help you gauge your customer’s reaction to your team’s service. If you would like formal metrics, customer satisfaction scores may be derived from a customer survey. However, you may also engage customers verbally, through text messages, or email.

An easy way to start doing this is to keep your interactions simple and sincere. If you are not sure where to start, begin your conversation as a friend checking on another friend. As trust develops, your client will start to openly share how they feel about your team’s work.

Proactively Improving the Customer Experience

As your customers tell your managers what is important to them—share these insights with your frontline cleaners. This way every single one of your employees understands their role in your customer retention strategies.

In Troy Hopkins’ book, Making Cents of a Dirty Business, he shares an experience. A client explained that after every cleaning service he checks the janitor’s closet. Why? Because the client has a nagging suspicion.

If the janitorial team doesn’t take care of their designated space—what other touchpoints were missed? In this storyline, if this need isn’t met, the customer’s emotional reaction will lead them to conduct their own unofficial janitorial quality control inspection.

A clean janitor's closet can make a huge impact on your customer's satisfaction.

Naturally, the client’s emotional reaction will inevitably result in an angry phone call—and a potentially canceled cleaning contract. However, this whole spiral could have easily been avoided by proactively involving your employees.

As soon as your client explains that their emotional trigger is the cleanliness of the janitor’s closet—ask your team to help. As Hopkins found, simply explaining what you need your team to do isn’t enough. Instead, you must also explain to your employees why the task is important.

When you understand the relationship between your service and the customer’s emotional reaction—you can easily improve your customer’s experience. As you increase the number of loyal customers, you may also see an uptick in word of mouth cleaning referrals.

Learn how our software can help you manage your janitorial quality control program to improve client retention.

Blog post by Heather Siefert

Heather Siefert

Heather graduated from Utah Valley University and has been CleanTelligent's PR Specialist since 2018.