Repeat Client Retention-Define Expectations

My theme for the first quarter blogs of 2022 will be defining and meeting client levels of expectation. When I was training in offices across the country the first thing we did was define expectations in detail. Most offices did not have a documented process or procedural manual which is where a clearly defined definition starts.

The pandemic(s) has not helped. With more and more potential clients on the waiting list we are spending less time defining our services to our external and even our internal clients (our cleaners). The pandemic has required us to do many things remotely. The awesome result of this is the efficiency we are all realizing in our businesses. I have always run a client remote business. I never did in-home bidding when I started in 1988 and we had 748 repeat clients at the end of 2007, cleaning 95 homes per day. Unemployment in Austin was 3.7% at a time when the remainder of the country was in a recession. Who had time to go bid a home? Not me.

From the beginning I, and then my staff, spent 20-45 minutes on the phone with potential clients building a rapport and defining our services so the client would be told exactly what to expect.

I have found it interesting that about 20% of the companies I have worked with feel that a home is not cleaned professionally if you do not clean at least the inside of all of the windows each visit, even if they are cleaned weekly. My company made money cleaning windows as an extra so I would never think that way. If I get one of their clients they will not be happy with my perfect service if I do not tell them it does not include the windows. I don’t care how great the cleaners did from my company, the client has different expectations of a great cleaning. That is my fault for not defining what is included in the initial clean and a repeat clean.

If you wet wipe baseboards in the initial clean and charged more but never wet wipe them again with repeat service without asking the client asking for that and paying more then you need to tell them that. The differences in the repeat service, versus how the house looked after they stepped into it after the first clean, needs to be defined at time of sale. If you never wet wipe baseboards again they will not look the same in 5 months. After 5 months the client is disappointed with your level of service. “”You aren’t as good as you used to be. You no longer meet with their level of expectation.” Are they expecting too much? Perhaps. Perhaps they were willing to pay more to meet their expectation level but you never told them they had that option

In my next blog I will discuss ‘What is a client worth? What is a fair expectation level from clients?’