Challenges: Sending Reminders, Collecting Payments, and Earning Reviews
- Sending customers service reminders
- Office staff spending too much time on the phone and leaving too many voicemails.
- High accounts receivable and too many missed payments.
- Not enough quality Google reviews
American Housekeeping is a family-owned residential housekeeping business founded in 1989. It’s a business built on quality cleaning and communication. Their fleet of vehicles and 50 staff members service over 1,000 customers every month.
With housekeeping, there’s a lot of communication between office staff, housekeepers, and customers. The office and cleaning staff have to communicate every day across multiple locations in Nevada and Texas for:
- Logistics (staffing, vehicles, and optimizing coverage across service areas)
- Appointment scheduling for cleanings
- Daily service updates and cleaning reminders
- Payment reminders and receipts
- Asking customers for Google reviews
The office managers in each city act as schedulers, dispatchers, bookkeepers, and receptionists all at the same time. Managers like Brittanie and Shannon were consistently spending too much time reminding customers of their appointments and getting them to pay on time.
“I spend about three hours on the phone starting the minute I get into the office. I start off by calling all of the customers who are scheduled for service that day just as a reminder. Without a reminder, customers forget and it creates problems and inefficiencies where sometimes we have to skip the cleaning and not get paid.” - Shannon | Manager, American Housekeeping
American Housekeeping was also emailing invoices to clients every month. But their invoice collections rates were suffering because their emails were getting lost in the shuffle.
So office managers like Brittanie and Shannon were also calling customers to collect on overdue payments.
“Calling clients just to reduce our accounts receivable wasn’t working. For the most part, we were sending emails and leaving voicemails that no one was listening to.”
Aside from spending too much time on the phone, American Housekeeping also needed a better way to manage their reputation and create more customer referrals.
Housekeeping is a business built on trust - reputation is everything. But controlling the conversation around Google reviews was a challenge.
Despite providing excellent customer service, happy customers just weren’t leaving Google reviews in the volume that American Housekeeping needed.
“With reviews, it tends to skew towards the negative side since unhappy customers tend to be the most vocal. At the end of the day, we needed more reviews. But leaving voicemails wasn’t really the best way to ask customers for reviews.”
So after 30 years of business, American Housekeeping sought new ways to send reminders, collect payments, and manage their online reputation.
Solutions: Text Reminders, Text-to-Pay and Review Requests
- Automated text-to-pay invoice collection and text message payment reminders
- Daily automated text message service reminders
- Started texting customers after service asking for Google reviews
After researching various solutions, like Google Voice, Brittanie at American Housekeeping suggested they try texting their customers instead of calling them. The main objection from the other office managers is that they didn’t want to use their personal phones to text customers.
But after more research, Brittanie found an article from MessageDesk about how to text from a computer. She saw that with a business text messaging platform all of the office staff and housekeepers could text as a team from any device, including desktop computers.
So they started a MessageDesk trial and scheduled an onboarding meeting.
Brittanie integrated MessageDesk with their QuickBooks Online account and set up automatic texts to go out on an invoice’s due date that included a link to pay the invoice. She also set up text reminders to go out if the invoice wasn’t paid after the due date.
After finding success with payment reminders, they expanded their use of MessageDesk to service reminders and started sending text messages asking for Google reviews.
Results: Less Phone Time, Reduce AR, and More Reviews
- Reduced missed payments and accounts receivable by 64%
- Incoming phone calls reduced by half
- Daily phone time down 92%
After using MessageDesk for just one week, every American Housekeeping location experienced relief from phone calls and their accounts receivable started to shrink.
They set up:
- Text reminders for their cleaning appointments
- Scheduled texts to ask for reviews
- Automated invoicing with text-to-pay links
- Automated missed payment reminders
- Customer support text line
“Now we send out all of our payment reminder messages automatically. Our accounts receivable got cut in half from what it was before we started text messaging.” - Brittanie | Manager, American Housekeeping
Text message reminders ultimately helped improve on-time payments by 64%.
And they’re getting more quality Google reviews too.
“Collecting Google reviews has been so much easier. All we have to do is schedule an automated text to send when we finish cleaning.” - Brittanie | Manager, American Housekeeping
American Housekeeping’s text line also helps them handle customer service issues.
“Customers don’t need to call us anymore, whenever they need to reschedule or skip service they just text us.” - Brittanie | Manager, American Housekeeping
Overall, business text messaging has helped them improve their online reputation, and reduce daily phone time by 92%.
American Housekeeping has since reduced using their phone to remind clients of their cleaning days. Managers no longer have to spend most of their mornings calling customers and leaving voicemails.
American Housekeeping’s future plans with MessageDesk
American Housekeeping is looking to use MessageDesk to communicate more with their staff members.
Office managers communicate with every housekeeper with their personal cell phones.
Transitioning more staff communication to MessageDesk would help separate personal and professional communication lines for Brittanie and Shannon.
Brittanie and Shannon are also considering giving staff members limited access to the MessageDesk account. That way housekeepers can text clients when they are on the way.