Clean Up Your Customer Retention Strategy: Exclusive Loyalty Program Case Study

by Michelle Salater on March 7, 2011

I am positive that all of our blog readers will benefit from reading this exceptional case study! As part of our Customer Retention Strategy series, where we focus on business owners who use effective customer retention strategies, we were delighted to interview Liz Trotter, head coach for American Maid Cleaning, LLC. This remarkable company does it right when it comes to customer retention and running a small business.

One thing that really stands out is a portion of American Maid Cleaning’s philosophy: “We continue to raise the image of our industry in the community by providing necessary services to those in need—free or at-cost service to women undergoing cancer treatment and our monthly community service projects help to illustrate our efforts.”

See below for this exclusive interview:

1. American Maid Cleaning, LLC, is a unique business. Tell us a little bit about your company and what makes it different from other cleaning services and companies.

American Maid Cleaning, LLC, is a family-owned residential cleaning company operating in the Olympia, Washington, area since 1993. Our goal is to be the best part of each person’s day by treating him / her as if he / she is the most important one. This includes our clients, employees, and the members of our community.

Over the years, we have developed a teaching and learning environment that encourages each employee to discover his / her own potential and then offer him / her the tools and guidance to become the person he / she wants to be. We have found that this philosophy has given all of us at American Maid the opportunity to value and celebrate each person’s individuality within, as well as outside, the company. Because of these beliefs and actions, we are able to show every person we encounter a completely different experience than he / she has had with any other cleaning company.

2. What customer retention strategies do you use to keep loyal customers coming back for more?

We do quite a few things from baking cookies (six homemade chocolate chip cookies at each cleaning assures the client will return to the sights and scents of a comfortable home) to sending handwritten cards—and a whole lot in the middle, as well.

Because we believe that customer retention is built on relationships, our overall strategy is to make our clients feel as if they are special and our most important one. We spend a lot of time doing the traditional things that people do in relationships when they want to deepen them. One of these things is collecting information. We call these bits of information Relationship Builders (RB) and Talking Points (TP)—this is information that is collected about each client. RBs are collected daily by the Team Coaches (The Lead Cleaner), and they become TPs for the office staff. Using these give our conversations immediate connectedness.

We also ask clients about our relationship—how happy are they with the service we provide? What do we do that bugs them? What would they like us to do differently? Then we implement those suggestions.

Everyone likes the little niceties that make a relationship strong, and our clients are no exception. We’ve created WOW days. These are days that the cleaning team provides an extra service at no charge—just because.

Along with the handwritten cards mentioned above, we leave gifts at Christmas and a token in a card for the kids’ birthdays.

We spoil their dogs, and we call clients just to check in—all to make them feel and know that we care.

Image of American Maid employees. Image courtesy of Liz Trotter.

3. What specific results have you seen from your customer retention strategies?

Our clients are happy! As a member of quite a few online communities, we hear all the horror stories. Clients are angry, they don’t feel as if they’re getting what they pay for, they feel as if they are being overcharged, etc. I don’t believe that we clean better than anyone else around. We do what our clients want and always add something. Our clients refer their friends and family without being prompted—they do the selling for us. All we have to do is provide the date of the service, and we have a new client. Little to no marketing dollars have to be spent to get clients. Instead, we spend our money to keep the ones we have.

4. In your opinion, why are customer loyalty programs important for businesses to implement?

I believe that by building a strong loyalty program, where your customers are actually your fans more than your customers, you build a strong base of clients, and it frees up resources that may have been needed for marketing to new clients, damage control, and staffing. A good customer loyalty program will go hand in hand with a strong employee retention program.

5. Are your marketing strategies focused primarily on- or off-line? What marketing channel have you found to be the most successful for your business and why?

Social media is a really good fit for our strategy of relationship building, and we’ve had good luck there, as well as with just getting our name recognized online and having the buzz about our company be positive.

About American Maid:

Whether it’s a client, employee, or any other community member, we leave people’s lives better than before they met us. We continue to raise the image of our industry in the community by providing necessary services to those in need—free or at-cost service to women undergoing cancer treatment & our monthly community service projects help to illustrate our efforts.

Our philosophy is built on the core values of Understanding Personal Growth, Integrity, Communication, Caring, Commitment—UPICCC Power!!

We believe that everyone has a part to play in this life and it’s our mission to work tirelessly toward helping each and every person get what they need to realize their own dreams.

About Liz Trotter:

I am Liz Trotter, the owner of American Maid Cleaning, LLC. I have been actively involved in the Cleaning Service Industry for 24 years.

My passion for cleaning homes began at the age of 11. It was how I stood out from my 7 siblings! I cleaned circles around everyone and felt good doing it—I still do today! It’s also where I began learning about Leadership. Trust me when I tell you that if you want to get the best from your 7 siblings, you’d better have a few tricks up your sleeve!

My commitment to each and every homeowner is to do what you want done the way you want it done utilizing only people who are trustworthy. I will work tirelessly to earn your faith through constant training and communication.

View the American Maid Cleaning website, follow like them on Facebook.

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