Increasing Customer Retention in Commercial Cleaning

Measuring success in your commercial cleaning business.

The sheer volume of data that commercial cleaning companies accumulate can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a way to quickly summarize and use it. In the next two blog articles, we will look at how you can apply metrics to your customer experience to increase retention.

Making business decisions can be like choosing what&s behind door number one.

The business world is buzzing with the term “data-driven decisions.” The idea of making decisions based on data rather than gut feelings can mean the difference between staying in business or going out of business. But while it is easy to generate reports, it is harder to figure out what they mean and how to act on them.

One way to make sense of these reports is to use key performance indicators (KPIs). According to data solutions consultant Unilytics, a key performance indicator (KPI) should immediately show how the business is doing and what action needs to be taken.

For example, if you work in the jan/san industry, you may have heard that the average commercial cleaning business turns over 100 percent of its accounts every four years. Or, put another way, the business loses 25 percent of its accounts every year.

Because you need to run a commercial cleaning company that works smarter, we are going to look at goals and metrics that you can use to maintain current customers. In part 1 of this blog series, we will focus on setting SMART goals and identifying critical success factors.

Set SMART Goals

SMART goals are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound. This type of goal setting makes setting KPI metrics easier because you have already started thinking about how to measure both where you are today and your progress toward your goals.

Set SMART goals for your commercial cleaning business.

The first step to setting SMART goals is understanding where you are. Look at your historical data, including employee logs and customer interactions. If you don’t have any such data, look at industry averages. Next, decide where you want to be at the end of a quarter, year or ten years.

Based on the customer retention problem mentioned previously, in which the average commercial cleaning company loses 25 percent of its accounts each year, a good goal for your business could be to retain 85–90 percent of your customers who are renewing their contracts. With that direction in mind, let’s define what actions you can measure to keep you on track for improved customer retention.

Identify Critical Success Factors (CSFs)

CSFs are actions that you and your team have direct control over. Each item on this list is designed to increase the likelihood of achieving success. In our example of increasing customer retention, you could track the following:

  • If your team delivers a fast work order response time, let the customer know!

    Work order response time: Don’t pass up an opportunity to make yourself look good. If you get to a customer’s work order in record time, it would be beneficial to let that customer know.

  • Inspection scores by location and item: If you are proactively monitoring these data points, you can identify and solve problems quickly. For example, if you notice that soap dispensers are not being filled, you can look to see if this is an issue at one or many locations.

  • Compare your planned maintenance work orders against the number of unplanned work orders: According to Plant Wellness Way (PWW), a manufacturing consulting company, this comparison indicates how well you are anticipating your customer’s needs. Think about it: If most of your work orders are planned, then you are doing a good job anticipating your customer’s needs. Here is how to calculate this percentage:

  • 100% − Number of unplanned work orders / Total number of work orders = Percentage of planned work orders
  • Customer survey results: You could choose to collect either anonymous or direct customer feedback. A customer survey signifies your commitment to a consistent clean. This CSF gives you direct insight into what your customer is thinking about your service. To succeed as a company, it is critical that you listen and adjust to feedback in real time.

  • Customer outreach: Don’t let your customers forget about you! You should show off the great work your team is delivering while also proactively communicating problems and solutions. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be annoying; it is important to find a balance that works for both you and your customer.

This is the first article of a two-part series. In the next article, we determine what your individual key performance indicator is, how to collect data and how to use data to re-adjust your goals when needed.

CleanTelligent Software is built to help you make data-driven decisions with Business Intelligence dashboards and other reporting features. CleanTelligent will also keep your customer work on track with regular work orders, inspections, and customer surveys.


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