Recurring customers are the lifeblood of your business. That’s why, this year we are focusing on strategies to make all of our customers not just repeat customers (and certainly not one-offs) but recurring customers.
Recurring vs. Repeat Customers: What is a recurring customer?
A recurring customer is someone that is set up in your system at a specific time and interval. Whether it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, this customer has a standing appointment with you. The marketing dollars to acquire them has already been spent and you can base your next month’s revenue, schedule and hiring based around projected growth and your stable base of recurring clients.
Also, if you are ever considering selling, investors will care more about your recurring customers than your total sales because this is guaranteed revenue for them. This is what they are spending their money on.
Additionally, recurring customers tend to spend more and because cleaners are familiar with the home, it takes them less time to get in there, do a good job and get out.
So basically, recurring customers are goals for any cleaning business. Because of that, here are the strategies we are using to increase our recurring customer list.
Make payment seamless
As a customer, I am more likely to book and keep service with a company that makes payment as easy as possible. I don’t want to have to get cash every week to pay for services. I am more likely to book a first time if the company allows me to input my credit card and less likely to leave if they already have my card on file and charge at the time of service.
Of course if you use Launch27, this is a given, but many cleaners and cleaning companies still don’t have an easy way to accept, per-authorize and charge cards.
Offer a recurring discount
Again, it may seem like another given, but offer your customers a recurring discount. Some companies offer steep discounts after the initial clean while others offer 10% to 20% off with recurring service.
But it’s not just about offering the discount, but also how you present the offer. Highlighting the discount both on your homepage and on your booking form can make a world of difference in how often the option is chosen. Adding the social proof of “most popular” also prompts people to choose the option that other people also choose.
Advertising for the type of clients you want
Being specific about seeking recurring clients will help your clients identify the type of service you offer when they hire you. Offering benefits like “the same team at each job” or “priority scheduling” can help you close clients seeking recurring contracts.
Another thing to consider is what and where you are spending your advertising dollars. Don’t focus on move outs because they are harder to convert, especially if the person isn’t staying fairly local.
This ad below was shared in a cleaning group we are in. The content of the ad works because while it focuses on recurring contracts the ad isn’t intimidating but feels professional. Also, it doesn’t discourage one time cleanings either.
Hire great teams
One of the best things I did to increase my recurring customers/ my retention rate was to hire great teams and to assign those teams to the customers they make happy. To find better teams, I tightened up my hiring process and also offered better wages. This immediately recruited better people and I instantly saw an increase in happy customers which led to an increase in recurring customers.
Follow up calls, emails and our comment card
Following up is a great touch point and is not only proactive in handling angry customers but also can lead to the upsell for satisfied customers and resolution of issues for anyone who isn’t 100% happy.
We also follow up with every new customer. If they are first time recurring we thank them and touch base letting them know the same team will be there next time. If they are a first time client, we thank them for using us, we speak about their experience and then if all is well we upsell recurring mentioning our discounted services and other benefits.
Each of our customers receive the Launch27 email asking them to rate every appointment. If they don’t rate the appointment well we immediately follow up. The benefit of this is, no matter how many times your team have been there you can always keep pulse on your client’s satisfaction. If something isn’t up-to-par, they will let you know and you can correct it.
Also, with these emails going out, I have found that it typically prevents customers from leaving public reviews on review engines. This gives them an avenue to complain and you have the opportunity resolve their issue before they put it somewhere else.
Our comment cards are another way we gather feedback. It has worked well for us and serves as in-person touch point that shows that we really care about their experience. We hand the customer comment card in an envelope, they fill it out and give it to their cleaner and then the cleaner gives it to us.
Again, these touch points allow us to follow up, assess the client’s experience and then upsell based on their feedback.
Create a loyalty/ referral program
A loyalty/ referral program in place makes clients less likely to leave you for a better price or convenience. If they have a reward they are trying to reach they will continue to use your services to reach that reward. We offer a free hour of cleaning for every referral which works out for everyone. Clients work hard to refer as many people as possible, we get extra work and extra clients while only paying labor costs.
Sending regular emails is another way to touch base with your clients. Don’t just send emails when you want them to book or to offer them discounts, they won’t become recurring customers if they are trained to book only when the price is low. Speak to your customers, update them about local events and provide useful information to them. If they feel like you are a friend rather than constantly selling them, they are likely to use you over and over again.
Again, customers love convenience. If they have an account with you, their credit card on file and your app on their phone, they are plugged into your ecosystem and more likely to schedule you for regular/ recurring visits.
So our key to more recurring customers in 2018?
- Great experience
- Touch base often