Historically, the professional cleaning industry has been considered immune or resistant to economic downturns.
The industry has done very well during good times but has been impacted little, if at all, by economic downturns, such as those during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
However, the current downturn has negatively affected even the professional cleaning industry, eliminating any assumption that it is recession-proof.
For instance, many building service contractors (BSCs) report that their customers have stretched payment processing, impacting cash flow.
BSCs also report that some customers have asked them to reduce cleaning frequencies in order to cut costs or lower their monthly service charge. When that is not possible, some of these customers are taking bids from other services in the hopes of finding a less costly cleaning service.
In the March 2009 issue of Kai-leidoscope, the monthly e-newsletter of Kaivac, Inc. (developers of the No-Touch Cleaning® system), subscribers were asked what steps they are taking to hold on to their customers during this difficult economic downturn.
According to Matt Morrison, Communications Manager for Kaivac, the two key steps BSCs are taking to hold on to their clients and weather the current economic storm are:
Improving service (28 percent)
Finding ways to reduce cleaning costs for their customers (28 percent)
"Nearly 15 percent of the respondents also report that they are lowering their service charges when asked," adds Morrison. "And about the same number are asking their customers how they can serve them better."
Increasing customer contact, either by phone or in person, was also noted as a way to hold on to customers during this period.
"This probably should be at the top of the list," says Morrison. "If the customer is having problems, confronting these [economic] issues head-on is the best way to deal with them and build customer loyalty."