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A tweak to online tools is helping Housekeep retain customers

Liam Dickerson, Housekeep
Liam Dickerson estimates they were speaking to 30-50 customers a day at the peak of the crisis

When the government announced self-isolation measures in March, home cleaning service Housekeep’s active users dropped by 80 per cent. The cleaning industry was never shut down, but the crisis dented consumer confidence.

Housekeep lets customers manage their accounts online, from booking cleaners to cancelling the service.

The ease with which customers could terminate their accounts was challenging for two reasons: Housekeep couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason customers were leaving and didn’t have the opportunity to convince them to stay.

“Obviously we understood it was related to coronavirus, but there’s a broad range of underlying reasons for that churn,” said head of digital Liam Dickerson. “We needed to learn more about why customers were cancelling.”

Get feedback on why customers are cancelling

The first thing Liam did was to remove the ability for people to cancel accounts online. Customers had to get in touch by email or phone instead, which gave them the chance to talk to every customer who wanted to cancel.

Liam estimates the business was speaking to 30-50 customers a day during the peak of the crisis. The crucial part was to capture data that would help them re-engage customers in future.

“We captured all the data in a Google Sheets spreadsheet. It started out fairly simply: the customer ID and the reason they want to cancel. If we couldn’t save them, we’d make a note of how we would re-pitch to the customer in future.

“We realised that these customers didn’t have a single reason why they were churning. So we added fields for the primary reason – the straw that broke the camel’s back – and secondary reason. The spreadsheet evolved as we found out more about why these customers were looking to close their accounts,” he explained.

Update digital tools to fit customer needs

Housekeep cleaner
As a result of customer conversations, Housekeep built the ability for people to pause their accounts online

One of the most surprising results was that the majority of customers were cancelling because they had more time on their hands and could do the cleaning themselves. It contradicted Housekeep’s initial assumption that medical reasons would be the biggest factor.

Liam realised that a lot of customers didn’t want to permanently close their accounts and had every intention of resuming things in future. Many customers also wanted to continue supporting the cleaners, even if they weren’t currently using the service.

“As a result of the conversations, we built the ability for people to be able to pause their accounts online, instead of cancelling. For any cleanings that were skipped, customers had the option to pay for them if they wanted. Around ten per cent of customers utilised that, which was fairly significant for the business and the cleaners. 

“Those calls uncovered some good insights that we wouldn’t have unearthed otherwise and gave us an understanding of the reasons for churn. The fact customers could retain their regular slot and just put their account on pause helped to stem the tide of losses for sure.”

Technology was a lifeline for businesses under lockdown, keeping teams together or moving operations online. Download our expert guide to find out how digital tools might see you through this next difficult phase.

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