Bases for segmenting clients in the contract cleaning service industry.
A survey was undertaken for a contract cleaning company in Durban. In order to preserve the confidentiality of the information contained in this dissertation, a fictitious name, Kleen Co, has been used. The aim of the survey was to find further similarities within the existing segments. At present, the traditional geographic and industry-type bases of segmentation (namely healthcare, hospitality, offices and shopping centres in various regions) are used. Recent literature suggests that similarities can be sought in three areas: 1. expectations of service; 2. perceptions of service; 3. unique benefits of the service. In the survey, clients were asked to rate their expectations and perceptions for six attributes (price of the cleaning service, customer service, quality of cleaning, innovativeness of cleaning methods, assessment of cleaning requirements, and consistency of the cleaning service) . They were also asked to rate the relevance of four reasons for outsourcing (cheaper to outsource, need for specialised cleaning, company policy to outsource, and labour problems). The results indicate that price and innovation can be used as further bases for segmentation for the following segments: • offices and healthcare have the same high expectation for price; healthcare and hospitality have the same high expectation for innovation; • shopping centres and hospitality have the same low expectation for price; • offices and shopping centres have the same low expectation for innovativeness; • healthcare and hospitality have the same high perceptions for price and innovation; • offices and shopping centres have the same low perceptions for price and innovation. For outsourcing are concerned, the following reasons were found: • offices: all reasons are relevant except for price of service. • healthcare: need for specialised cleaning and labour problems are relevant; price of service and company policy are irrelevant; • shopping centres: price of service and company policy are relevant; need for specialised cleaning and labour problems are irrelevant. • hospitals: all reasons are relevant except company policy to outsource. Although the main aim of the survey was to identify new segments, client satisfaction was also measured. Clients were asked whether they had raised a complaint with the company and, if so, how satisfied they were with the outcome. This was done in order to test the loyalty of clients, the hypothesis being that the longer the client had been with Kleen Co, the more satisfied they would be with the outcome of their complaints - and more loyal. However, the data reflect that clients who have been with the company for more than four years are no more satisfied in this regard than clients who have been with the company for shorter periods of time.