published by Marta Korowaj

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MindSweep app - cleaning survey results
Men were slightly more eager to answer questions about cleaning.
How young?
Look who's talking
Most respondents live with their families. Living on one's own proved highly unpopular - only one person does this.
Who do they live with?
My respondents are all older than 25 and haven't reached the usual retirement age yet.
Majority of people enjoy cleaning at least some parts of their places. Time plays a big role here which suggests that a cleaning service could be used, if not regularly, on occasions, when stretched for time or for the most disliked tasks.
Do they like cleaning their pad?
Half of the people surveyed say they spend between 1 and 4 hours per month on cleaning. About 30% spend over 8 hours and slightly more than 20% between 4 and 8 hours. It's possible that the low estimates of the cleaning times are caused by a regularly used cleaning service, responsibilities being shared with persons who did not complete the survey or simply lower cleanliness standards.
How much time do they spend on cleaning in a month?
1-4 hours
4-8 hours
over 8 hours
Have they ever used a cleaning service?
Most people have used a cleaning service. Additionally, the fact that nearly 30% use it regularly suggests potential interest in related products / services.
How did they feel about choosing one?
How did they find it?
Mobile apps are least popular with my respondent group - this can be interpreted as a great opportunity. Since most people rely on word of mouth recommendations, it'd be good to offer contact-based recommendations as a cleaning app feature.
Most people didn't expect much when hiring their cleaners - this could be based on their previous experiences or the fact it's a low-paid service. Many people felt convinced they made a great choice and knew the cleaners would be fantastic. Interestingly, the same number of people felt unsure about the choice they made which caused the feeling of anxiety. One person mentioned an app and criticised its "fake choice with all 5 suggested cleaners having 5-star reviews". A valuable remark about how to ensure a reviewing system can become useless without incentive to give honest feedback / opinion.
What traits should every cleaner have?
People value trust, attention to detail and being on time most in a cleaner. These traits could be singled out in a rating system within the app - to make it easier for users to decide on the quality of each aspect of the service. It is also a good feedback for the cleaners - to see straight-away which characteristics will ensure a steady flow of jobs.
Quality ("better than I would have done it")
...the bathroom
Coming home to a clean house, effect of surprise.
Save time
Not having to clean myself
Best part about hiring a cleaner?
All the above can be used in the app language and ways to promote its use. Especially saving time. It can be cleverly displayed as a time bank - "look how much time you saved" etc. - since it's the most precious commodity.
Challenges during the first visit?
Challenges about hiring a cleaner?
Respondents mentioned not enough information about their cleaners - reviews, previous jobs. One couple of cleaners turned up with their daughter and it caused an issue around child labour. This could be address in an app by reviews, verification system based on previous/completed jobs and clear terms and conditions. One person stated that "cleaners come and go, they find better jobs and you might not see them next week". Loyalty could be rewarded within an app - as a feedback system (messages saying "John says thanks! You did a brilliant job" or something similar) or financial remuneration.
Problems mentioned - wrong cleaning products used (a cleaner didn't want to use eco-friendly products or used one cloth to clean a bathroom and kitchen with) - these could be address in initial communication/instructions within the app. To make it easier - they could be pre-suggested, treated as reminders. Incidentally, these reminders could also tackle the "too much information, not sure all details were grasped" problem mentioned by one person. Two people had higher expectations which resulted in lower satisfaction. Again, this is a communication problem that can be solved by clever "hot spots" that a cleaner needs to pay attention to.
Many people take the cleaner around the house and explain what needs doing
20% via website
40% showing and to-do list
40% describing / showing
Methods of communicating cleaning needs?
Clear visual instructions and to-do lists would prove most desirable within a cleaning app - when we consider my respondents' usual ways of communicating what needs doing.
Many people choose to show the cleaner what needs doing and also leave a to-do list for reference afterwards
A small proportion of people use an online list and tick relevant boxes about what needs doing
If we believe that "it's hell yes or no!", then only half of the respondents were satisfied with their cleaners' work. Two persons mentioned having expected more. Lack of punctuality, poor quality, "not the right person for the job" and no attention to detail were mentioned in most situations. One person stated they kept explaining and explaining what needed doing but it was going nowhere. Also - language barrier was mentioned (which was not addressed by either party). All the above suggests a reliable feedback system within the app could prove useful. Also, if required by many cleaners with a limited knowledge of English, a solution to the language barrier could be introduced (I wouldn't see it as a priority at this point though).
Satisfied with the cleaner's work? If not, how did they let them know?
Ever stopped using a cleaner? Why?
Again, quality was the most important factor when it came to deciding whether to keep a cleaner or not. One respondent mentioned being able to do the work themselves - suggesting the work is not that hard after all. One person stopped using the cleaning service when out of work. Two persons used the service once only (for a deep clean). So-called exit interviews performed by companies, when genuine, prove very helpful. A cleaning app should have a similar exit strategy - one respondent mentioned nobody contacted him when he cancelled the service which means people expect to be asked for feedback or even being convinced to change their mind. A good opportunity to keep customers happy.  
I spoke to five people (remotely and face to face) about their present and past cleaning habits. All were asked about their current living conditions - renting / owning / sharing accommodation, size of the property and often elaborated in detail on their previous living arrangements and how they related to different cleaning methods. My hypothesis - cleaning rotas don’t work - was proven right but not at all in a sense I expected. Four of my respondents found cleaning unpleasant and an utter waste of time and preferred outsourcing it to a cleaning service - this was true for co-habiting couples and flat mates. All but one interviewees reported feeling too tired and busy to sacrifice their free time and weekends - they choose “quality time” instead. Because of these findings, and the fact that rotas were not being used by majority of my respondents, I decided to focus on the pains mentioned instead - all related to outsourcing cleaning tasks. Three of the respondents have used cleaning services - two regularly (on a weekly and ad-hoc / “when things get out of control” basis). One respondent attempted to use a cleaning service four times and each time was let down (no show). This is something that could be explored as a feature of a cleaning app - a review system asking specifically about punctuality/cancellations/no show. The way my interviewees looked for a cleaner varied: provided by a landlord, local newspaper/noticeboard, leaflet, app (Hassle) but all mentioned somebody local as the usual preference. Nobody used a cleaning agency. Trust was also mentioned as very important. One person described lack of transparency in Hassle (app) - he wasn’t sure if the cleaner received the feedback or not, as there was no reaction once he stopped using the service (he compared it to AirBnB and how it was clear who - AirBnB team or the house owner - would read his comments). This is something worth considering in the design of the cleaning app. Especially, since another respondent spoke of how he tidies up before the cleaner’s visit and, even when not happy with the work, would never complain so as to not affect their rapport (“I don’t want to be seen as a spoilt white woman” - said one. “I don’t want to be her manager. I just want her to do the work well” - said another). Communication in general seems to be an issue. One respondent described how they (him and his flatmates) don’t know in advance when the cleaner would be on holidays - when she’s off, they simply pick up the work themselves - or which areas of the flat need / need not be cleaned on each visit. A feature that would allow users to quickly pick rooms / areas to clean each week would be useful, it would need to be confirmed before the cleaner’s visit in order to stay relevant. Overall, my respondents justified using cleaning services because of work (3), dislike of cleaning (3), less frustration when sharing (1), living in too big a house (1). Budget definitely affects their choice and frequency of use of the cleaning service. One respondent mentioned that he’d use the service more often weren’t it so expensive. Another mentioned that even if his flatmates wanted to stop using the cleaning service, because of money, he’d still push for it as he believes her work prevents many conflicts within the household. This makes me conclude that cleaning is likely to be outsourced more and a cleaning app could prove effective in addressing pains of this outsourcing.
MindSweeper - cleaning interviews results
by Marta Korowaj