What Maids Can Teach Us About Earning Repeat Business

I recently started working in a co-working space after working from home for the last three years. One of the things I love about leaving my house and coming to an “office” everyday is that I get to meet some really interesting people who are growing exceptional companies.

On the flip side of meeting cool people, I actually having to wear pants to work everyday. Apparently, they kinda frown on pajama jeans here.

Anyway, I’ve been working here for a few months now and while I try to just put my head down and get my shit done, I am fascinated by the conversations other business owners are having with their clients and their teams. Creeper alert! (It’s terrible, I know).

So, one of the companies in my workspace is an app company that connects in-home cleaning crews with people who want their homes to be dust-bunny-free. The guy who’s in charge of recruiting and new hires does a lot of phone interviews and always asks the same question: What room do you like to start in when you’re cleaning a house?

Isn’t this kind of a funny question to ask maids? I mean, why does it matter where they start if the house is clean in the end? So, I asked him about it.

Your first “win” with new clients matters

Me: Why do you always ask potential cleaners what room they start in?

Him: Because the client cares Yes, the whole house needs to be clean at the end of the service, but if a cleaner tells me they start in the bathroom, I usually don’t hire them.

Me: Why does that matter?

Him: Do you want someone cleaning your kitchen right after they’ve cleaned your toilet?

Me: Gross. Ok, you’re right. So why can’t they start with the bedrooms instead?

Him: Nope, they need to start in the kitchen, then move to the bathroom, then the rest of the house. Think about it — let’s say the kitchen and bathroom take wayyyyy longer than expected. Clients don’t ever complain if you breeze through their bedroom or living room. But they always notice if there wasn’t enough attention paid to the kitchen and bathrooms. If those two rooms aren’t clean, the whole house feels dirty.

Here are a few takeaways for the rest of us as we’re working with new clients.

Tackle the big + nasty stuff first

If you’re anything like me, you’re more than willing to make your bed and vacuum every once in awhile, but mopping floors really kinda sucks. So, when you bring in a cleaning crew, you could probably care less about whether they dust the living room or not. Did they scrub the floor? That’s what’s really important.

The same thing goes for service based businesses like ours. Think about how you can provide your client with early wins. After someone puts their trust in you and pays a deposit for your services, mop the floor first. Find a way to quickly show them that they made a really great decision.

Not sure what the big + nasty is for your client? Ask them during the consultation phase.

Are You A Toilet Specialist? Charge More.

People will clean their own living room — no big deal. But when it comes to scrubbing toilets, things get a little dicey.

If you specialize in the big, nasty projects you get to charge more. Now, I’m not a fan of all these online business owners who arbitrarily decide that they get to charge $850/hour for “consulting” services because it’s been three whole months since they increased their rates — and isn’t it about time? I find that to be a short-sighted strategy.

However, when you know your client hates to clean toilets and you know that you clean toilets better than anyone out there, you shouldn’t be paid the same amount as someone who cleans bedrooms, tidies up living rooms and has been known to run a vacuum cleaner in a family room once and again.

You do the dirty work. What’s more, you specialize in it. When you’re willing to tackle every kind of toilet scum known to man, go ahead and charge accordingly, my friend.

Earn your next “yes” now.

So, you’ve wrapped up the project and thanked the client. It’s time to start thinking about how you can work with them again, right?

Nope! According to maid rules you start earning repeat business before you even finish the first job.

Even if they don’t verbalize it, clients are paying attention to the way you work and how you interact with them just as much as they care about the results. They have a lot of choices. Results are expected, but a memorable experience will keep them coming back for more.

Now it’s your turn

Clients care about your process. And they are making decisions about whether or not they’d hire you again right from the start. What’s one way you WOW clients early on to earn their business for the long term? Leave a note in the comments and let me know!


2015 business growth Customer Experience featured

Jules Taggart is a human-centered content strategist, speaker, consultant and educator. She believes intelligent business growth is fueled by creating meaningful experiences, one client at a time. Jules teaches small business owners how to leverage the relationships they already have to sell their services more consistently. Connect with Jules on Twitter.

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