Running a janitorial business involves more than just cleaning buildings — it's about making sure customers are happy. For building service contractors (BSCs), loyal customers are the key to long-term success. According to Fred Reichheld's book Winning on Purpose, the real goal of any business is to make customers' lives better. Understanding what customers truly want and meeting those needs is crucial for building loyalty and keeping your business thriving. 

To figure out what customers value, we need to listen closely. For example, a customer might tell us about a bad experience with a previous vendor, which left a negative impression on their boss and colleagues. People who hire cleaning services want to feel confident that they've made a smart choice, one that earns them respect from their peers. Companies that love and serve well strive to boost the reputation of those responsible for purchasing services. 

Building a service model that fosters customer loyalty doesn't happen by accident. It takes careful planning and discipline. Companies need to focus on being reliable, responsive, and resourceful. 

Reliability is the foundation of our business. Customers expect us to keep our promises. Reliable service is achieved when companies develop and implement consistent training, standardize supplies and equipment, create contingency plans for team member absences, and establish schedules for customer site visits and inspections. By doing these things consistently, we earn our customers' trust. 

Even with the best plans, mistakes happen. That's where responsiveness comes in. Companies that develop sound service recovery processes can significantly deepen customer relationships. In fact, a phenomenon called the Service Recovery Paradox states that a customer will feel better about a company after they've solved a service problem than if there had been no problem at all. A good service recovery plan involves prioritizing problems, responding promptly, and finding ways to prevent the same issues from occurring again. 

But good cleaning and problem-solving are just the beginning. To really stand out, we need to ask ourselves, "How else can we make our clients' lives easier?" We must be resourceful and proactive. This might mean offering extra services proactively or discussing price adjustments before our customers start budget planning. Showing that we care about more than just cleaning their building helps us build stronger connections with our customers. 

Loving and serving customers well isn't just good for business, it's the right thing to do. When we consistently deliver reliable, responsive, and resourceful service, we show our employees, customers, and the marketplace that we're committed to making a positive difference in people's lives. 

Jeff Carmon, CBSE, is the Business Development Director at Frantz Building Services. He is also a consultant, content creator, and speaker for Elite BSC, which provides resources and education for like-minded BSCs.