Large group of people lined up as a question mark. Vector illustration on white background. Concept of the opinion poll.

Contributed by Janitorial Manager

Building service contractors who don’t ask customers the right questions in the right way could be missing valuable information/feedback about the work they provide. 

The best source of new revenue is from the clients BSCs already have and there are plenty of ways to keep those clients on the roster. One very simple and constructive way is through a janitorial survey. Surveys give clients the opportunity to evaluate their BSC partner and provide feedback that might improve the relationship.  

The challenge is, BSCs can’t just make up four or five random questions and send it out to their client base. Those who want the janitorial survey to do what it’s supposed to do will need to put a little effort into asking the right questions — and asking them in the right way.  

As an example, there are those “surveys” on social media that go something like: “Does pineapple belong on pizza? A) No way B) That’s disgusting C) What kind of monster would do that?” Clearly, the survey writer doesn’t like pineapple on pizza and is just having some fun.  

It’s not uncommon, however, for more serious surveys to ask questions and provide answer options that follow this same track. Here’s what one of those might look like in the commercial cleaning industry: 

“Are you satisfied with your cleaning services? A) Yes B) Yes, but I’d like more frequent appointments. C) I don’t need all the services you offer.” 

On the surface, this seems like a fair question-and-answer combination. The problem is that the answers don’t directly address the question, except for A) Yes. There’s no space for someone to say they’re mostly satisfied, or perhaps they’re not satisfied at all.  

Fortunately, there are some approaches that will make a janitorial survey a more powerful tool for customer retention. Before first, here are a few rules of thumb for surveys: 

• Make it easy by providing multiple choice answers with additional space for comments.  

• Try to avoid yes or no answers. Yes or no answers are sometimes necessary. However, a range of 1-5 or 1-4 can give you much more detailed information. As an example, Is this helpful? Yes/No vs. On a scale of 1-5, how helpful is this? 1 2 3 4 5. If you don’t want to use numbers, some people offer options like Poor, Fair, Average, Good, Great. The concept is still the same. 

• Keep it short. BSCs can get a lot of information from clients in less than 10 questions. Depending on the goal, only a few might be necessary.  

• Make it anonymous, so clients feel free to answer truthfully.  

• Don’t overdo it. Check in with new clients after a few weeks on the job, but otherwise, limit the janitorial surveying to two or three times per year.  

• BSCs that experience trouble getting responses should consider offering an incentive, such as entrance into a raffle for a free add-on service for a month. This would negate the anonymity but if it helps generate more responses, it could be worth the trade-off.  

So, what questions should be asked? Here are five questions BSCs can ask on a general janitorial survey: 

• How satisfied are you with your overall janitorial services?  

•How professional is our janitorial team while on your premises? 

• How satisfied are you with the communication from our business? 

• How satisfied are you in being able to reach our team with questions or concerns? 

• How likely are you to recommend our janitorial services? 

BSCs could also go in-depth with a janitorial survey if they wanted more specific information. Here’s an example of what that might look like regarding a complaint or request from a customer about a change in products or services: 

• Overall, how satisfied are you with the outcome of your recent request? 

• How well did our team respond to your communication? 

• How well does the new product/service meet your needs? 

• Were we able to implement these changes in a timely manner? (This is a question where you may need to switch from a scale to a yes/no/somewhat answer format.) 

There’s one last question that should be on every survey sent out:  

• Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

Set this up to be a short answer response. Respondents should have the opportunity to write anything they need to communicate. And again, keep the surveys short since it is more likely to get responses that way. Clients are just a call away if more information is needed.  

Setting Up The Survey

There are more than a few online survey offerings available, some of which have incredibly helpful data collection options. In many cases, though, BSCs will probably be fine using Google Forms. They aren’t fancy but they are user-friendly both for the survey creator and the recipient.  

Janitorial Manager also recommends emailing these to clients so all they need to do is click the link. BSCs can add surveys to their website, too. However, the goal is to make this as effortless as possible for clients.   

Remember, even a seemingly simple survey can provide valuable information that can help turn a commercial cleaning business into a successful, profitable endeavor.