Put customers first: Top tips from a successful CrestClean business owner
A new chapter is about to begin for successful CrestClean business owner Rakesh Bhan.
After 12 years at the top of his game, the Tauranga franchisee is hanging up his cleaning gear for good to start a new business venture with his wife Mohini.
The couple, who fled Fiji in 2001 with their young daughter as civil unrest gripped the Pacific island nation, are moving to Auckland to purchase an after-school tuition centre on the city’s North Shore.
Mohini, who has been a teacher for the past 27 years, will oversee the tutoring side of the franchise business while Rakesh assists with the centre’s management.
Rakesh says they’ve loved their time in Tauranga and owning a cleaning business had been incredibly fulfilling. “I’ve had a wonderful journey with CrestClean. I have seen how the company has grown in my 12 years as a business owner.”
They moved to the Bay of Plenty after Mohini landed a job at Bethlehem College as a maths teacher. Before buying his Crest franchise Rakesh worked at a wholesale food company in Tauranga.
“When we came from Fiji we had no idea what New Zealand was like but we’ve been successful here,” says Rakesh.
Rakesh says it’s his customers that he’ll particularly miss when he sells his business later this year.
Over the past 12 years Rakesh has worked hard. He’s grown his business by more than 50 percent, with all the extra customers having been acquired through personal recommendation.
He says he can’t stress enough the importance of putting customers first. “Whether you do cleaning or any other professional job, at the end of the day it’s about customer service.
“If you have a high level of customer service the customer will never complain.”
For Rakesh, many of his long standing customers have become friends. “Over the years we’ve got to know a lot about each other’s family,” he says.
He says it is vital to get off to a good start with a new customer. Checking they were happy with the cleaning should be done immediately after the first visit, he recommends.
“Go in the next day and present yourself and ensure everything is okay. If you go and talk to the customer one to one it is the start of a good relationship.”
But looking smart and professional was also equally important, he says. “When you go on site to meet the customer you must look presentable. Taking pride in your personal appearance goes a long way.”
He says like any other service industry, reputation “is everything”. Any issues, however small, should be dealt with immediately they arise, Rakesh says.
“Everybody knows me by name. In the past 12 years I’ve never lost a customer due to my cleaning.”
Jan Lichtwark, CrestClean’s Tauranga Regional Manager, says Rakesh is a model business owner. “He’s had many years of experience and he’s been very good at encouraging other CrestClean business owners.
“He’s so good with his customers. He cares and has excellent people skills. He visits customers regularly and has built up a high level of trust and respect.”