Retaining customers is something which every company aims to do, however sometimes customers leave. In the commercial cleaning industry we know this only too well. Your company might provide a reliable and personal service as well as a fair price, which keeps a customer happy for many years. Unfortunately the end of a relationship could be just around the corner, but it is how that relationship ends that matters.
In this post, we talk about some of the common reasons we might lose a customer, often temporarily, and why ensuring they leave happy is key. Our most recent case study is by Lodestar Experiential, a customer who just left us, but they left happy.
When a business relocates, it can sometimes be possible to move with your client, but not always. Likely reasons for parting company, if only temporarily are: the new premises is outside of your operational area or the office already has existing long term contracts with another provider, such as another office cleaning company.
Cutting Perceived Costs
Cost cutting is one of the most common reasons for changing providers, especially in the commercial cleaning industry. Whilst a review of cost vs value every so often is sensible, constantly trying to reduce costs can bring about the opposite result. Within office cleaning for example, we may be given notice because someone else will provide the ‘same service’ for cheaper. We could count on one hand the number of times this has actually been the case. A perceived cost is what the customer thinks the service costs them, but when a bad service brings about extra admin time, replacement of fixtures and furnishings, loss of custom and other obscure costs, it would be hard to argue that cost has actually been saved.
Change of Personnel
Relationships are only as strong as the people who are in them. With a transient workforce or upon retirement, relationships and memory of service can be lost through a number of ways including: a lack of handover, a new contact who has a previous relationship with another cleaning company or pressure to make an impression, for example a Facilities Manager being pushed to cut costs.
Whether moving premises or reducing capacity within the same office, downsizing can bring about a need to reduce costs or simply no longer require a product or service, such as daily office cleaning.
Upscaling or Going National
Being a regional commercial cleaning business, we are used to catering for a number of customer premises such as offices, showrooms, schools and surgeries across an area the size of 9 postcodes surrounding Milton Keynes, and therefore can benefit from the addition of sites whilst a business upscales. Sometimes though, a company can outgrow your services, especially if the company goes national and choose to take on a single national provider. Just because they leave for a national company, doesn’t mean they won’t return one day for a more reliable regional service.
As part of a supplier and cost review, supplier consolidation can be a good solution for certain companies. Being able to pay one invoice rather than two for example makes sense. The difficulty comes when knowing whether to put all of your eggs in one basket, or just a few in each. Whilst it might be quick easy to consolidate all your requirements to one provider, it is not always so hassle free moving away. What happens when 3 out of the 5 services are fantastic but 2 are dismal and you are tied into a 3 year contract? In the cleaning industry, we see certain companies offering it all from security and office cleaning to catering and healthcare. At aZtec Commercial Cleaning, we have been careful to review what we offer to our clients and ensure it doesn’t overstretch us, therefore diluting our service. We offer additional services such as carpet cleaning, hard floor maintenance, washroom services (sanitary bins/hand dryers/air sterilisers etc.), matting (e.g. lift and lay entrance mats) and window cleaning, but we don’t provide every service under the sun.
Why a Happy ‘EX’ Customer is Key
In our most recent case study, Lodestar Experiential wrote, “We hoped to use their services again in our new location, however our cleaning needs have been reduced. I’d be happy to recommend aZtec’s office cleaning service.” And that recommendation starts HERE – as a written testimonial to everyone who reads this article or the case study. Should their company now upscale or relocate again, and assuming there is not an entire change of personnel, we would hope to rekindle this relationship. Should anyone ask if they know of a good office and commercial cleaning company, they would have the opportunity to recommend our services. Someone saying they’d “happily use aZtec for office cleaning again” is almost more powerful than “we currently use aZtec for our office cleaning”. In addition to providing a good service, making it easy to part ways has its benefits, “Having needed to move premises, it was a benefit choosing aZtec who didn’t tie us into a long fixed term contract.” Those who have had negative experiences in the past or are concerned because they don’t know how long they could commit to a business relationship for, value the chance to have a company who makes it easy for them to leave and hopefully someday return.
For more ‘customer’ related articles, see ‘Is the Customer Experience The Only Impression That Matters?’