3 Ways to Revamp Cleaning Business Loyalty Programs

Focus on customer retention and low-customer acquisition costs in a post-COVID world

loyalty programs

The coronavirus pandemic brought a wave of upheaval to the residential and commercial cleaning industries. Cleaning businesses adapted to navigate the start-and-stop nature of facility reopenings during the summer that will likely continue into the fall as the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 persists.

Meanwhile, as many businesses and households face economic uncertainty, competition for customers is intensifying. With the current emphasis on safety, cleanliness, and hygiene, cleaning businesses will remain in demand, but customer experience has taken center stage. As a common marketing strategy that began long before the pandemic, many companies offer  rewards or loyalty programs to engage with customers and grow business. Now is an important time for cleaning businesses to focus on customer retention and low-customer acquisition costs by revamping their customer loyalty programs for a post-COVID world.

Here are three ways to revamp your customer loyalty program:

  1. Personalize your customer communication for changing behaviors

    Customer retention begins with consistent positive engagements before, during, and after a cleaning visit. A good loyalty program builds relationships with customers through effective communication. As your state moves through different reopening phases, tailor these programs to your customers’ changing needs.

    Consider personalizing existing communication channels, such as email, while investing in new channels, such as mobile texts, which allow you to reach customers more conveniently with targeted messages. Targeting based on basic demographic information is no longer sufficient; you’ll need to understand behavior shifts and solve for disrupted habits. In terms of commercial cleaning, with the start-and-stop nature of reopening across the country, this is an opportunity to tailor your communication to businesses that might be temporarily closed with reopening discounts or personalized gift cards for upcoming holidays.

  2. Put data at the center of your loyalty strategy

    Reward incentives offer promotions but don’t present total visibility of every customer interaction. Loyalty programs, on the other hand, are great tools to reveal meaningful customer insights. They can help you better understand shifting client needs and behaviors by providing snapshots of customer likes and dislikes in real-time.

    Use your loyalty programs as if they were a consumer sentiment survey and tailor your communication strategy and services to the insights it reveals. Improved customer experience will increasingly rely on data, and loyalty programs are a great way to source this data.

  3. Offer referral and nonmonetary incentives

    As competition for new customers grows and belts tighten, cleaning businesses will look for less expensive ways to attract new customers. Referral incentives are a great way to do this in an industry driven by word-of-mouth. For example, by simply waiving $25 of an existing client’s fee for every new customer they refer, you can simultaneously build loyalty with your client and grow your business quickly.

    Another way to build loyalty is to appeal to a customer’s interests and emotions. Leverage customer data to personalize nonmonetary incentives that speak to customers. For instance, if your cleaning business is contracted with a school that is navigating the shifting schedules of remote and in-person instruction, your loyalty program can offer donations to charities such as to build goodwill on a deeply personal level.

Build lasting relationships now

At a time of dramatic change, customers are more open to revamped products and services than ever before. Loyalty programs are a great way to make sure your existing customers stay with you while also attracting new long-term clients. However, according to Jess Huang, a McKinsey & Company partner who manages their loyalty program, the most common problem with failed programs is a lack of customer engagement. COVID-19 has reset everything, and what engaged customers a year ago likely has changed. The best cleaning businesses will be the ones that double down on their loyalty programs, use data to consistently adapt their message, and update their strategies to engage with new customer needs.

Posted On October 14, 2020

Anand Subbaraj

CEO of Zuper

Anand Subbaraj is the CEO of Zuper, provider of a leading intelligent workforce management platform for service businesses such as residential and commercial cleaning, HVAC, electrical, internet service providers, plumbing, and landscaping. Subbaraj is a seasoned product leader with over 17 years of experience in technology and 13 years at Microsoft.

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