At the height of the pandemic, having a clean building was the most important thought in every property owner’s mind. Today, priorities have shifted, and commercial cleaning is not as prominently featured. We celebrate that a worldwide health concern is under control and manageable, but at the same time need to adjust to a new uncertainty: how our customers’ purchasing decisions may impact our commercial cleaning businesses.
To be a sustainable business in any industry the mindset must always be about driving the business forward. That might sound exhausting if you’re not in the habit of consistently setting and working towards your goals. However, once you’ve implemented these habits, you’ll become a company with a growth mindset.
There are four habits we work on with our teams, from leadership to management to our staff who provide cleaning services.
Set weekly goals
A lot of goal setting is focused on long-term achievements, and there is a place for that. You need to be able to see the big picture and to make that happen, but you also need to set smaller, more timely goals for the steps that will help you get there.
Smaller goals make success more achievable and empower you to celebrate ‘wins’ with your team. They also help build consistency in your operations and act as a yardstick for your larger goals. If you’re not hitting the smaller goals, this gives you the chance to reassess and refocus, getting back on track to your longer-term goals.
To set small goals, work backwards from your larger monthly or yearly goals and set benchmarks you need to meet along the way. Pro tip: never miss a weekly goal review as a way to stay on top of your progress and stay on course.
Choose smart tools
One of the most challenging aspects of running a company is choosing the technology and tools that will contribute to your success, rather than simply supplying statistics that don’t move you forward. This can require a balance of giving tools enough time to produce results, but also paying attention to whether those results are viable for your operations.
Take lead generation as an example. When you’re working to grow interest in your services, you want to be very specific about the audience you are trying to reach. The strategy must be very tailored to that kind of customer, so they see that you know their needs. You develop a strategy and then monitor every aspect of the plan while it is being implemented. (This is where weekly goal setting can be a great benefit.)
If your lead generation tools are not producing results, you need to know where you are losing the potential customer in the process, and then make changes to drive better results. Sometimes, the best tools are not the latest fads or trends, but rather a return to tried-and-true techniques that resonate with customers. Other times, you need to reach customers on a new level and smart technology can help you do that. Choose your tools carefully and evaluate them regularly for opportunities to improve the results.
Prioritize your relationships
Client retention is key to running a successful cleaning company, and that happens through developing solid relationships. Everyone on the team needs to know how to communicate, and your role as the leader of the company is to teach them how to succeed.
For example, if a cleaner stains a carpet, they should know who to contact in your organization so the customer can be informed immediately. When you build a good relationship with your cleaners, communication will flow more easily which helps keep issues at a low level. When you build a good relationship with your customer, you can communicate issues and propose solutions that manage the problem for the customer, which builds trust in their relationship with you.
Relationships take time to build, and communicating effectively is the key to making that happen, allowing your teams to hold each other accountable and take pride in their work. Communication also creates a bond of trust and reliability with a customer, so prioritizing communication is a critical contribution to growing your business.
Be boringly consistent
Assuming you are already providing great service, being consistent is an equally important factor in retaining customers. When a customer knows they can rely on you to do a good job, it is one less thing they have to worry about, and that raises your value as a service provider.
Consistency means you are adhering to standards in your business, building good habits, and becoming a reliable company. Think of how often you have had an experience as a customer that is inconsistent with what you anticipate; it likely lessened the trust you had in the brand and perhaps impacted your decision to spend money there in the future.
It is important to remind your cleaners and managers how to celebrate consistency so that it continues to be a strong asset for a customer choosing your company. Keep the motivation high for continuously providing excellent levels of consistent service.
Spend the time
We live in a time of more uncertainty than we might have had a few years ago. When the business landscape changes, commercial cleaners feel an impact, and that is certainly happening today. However, we have been through impactful times before, and one of the things we can offer our clients is the certainty of good, reliable service.
As an industry, we are important in the daily achievements of other businesses. By holding ourselves to a high standard of operations, and being dedicated to those customer relationships, we can grow our own commercial cleaning businesses while remaining a much-appreciated constant in a changing landscape.
Doug Flaig is the president of Stratus Building Solutions, a janitorial services franchise organization. Flaig has spent over 20 years in the world of multi-unit retail overseeing hundreds of franchise retail locations. Prior to joining Stratus Building Solutions, he served as Chief Operating Officer with Safe Facility Services, a janitorial services provider headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California.