The following scenario takes place every day in the commercial janitorial services industry. A charming salesman shows up early for his appointment. With an effortless charisma that’s not too casual and not too pushy, he glides through his sales presentation with precision. The company representatives are so impressed with the salesman that they’re eager to sign a commercial cleaning contract. They like him, and they believe they’ll receive the high level of cleaning and customer service that he so eloquently promised. Feeling like they’ve just made a new friend, they sit and chat with the salesman about current events. Even though the meeting ran long, they return to their offices confident that they’ve made the right decision.
Cut to a few months later, and everyone at the company is frustrated with their new janitorial vendor. The quality of the cleaning is lower than they expected, but that’s not the worst thing. The primary source of frustration stems from poor communication. After repeated complaints and unanswered calls, there has been no resolution to mounting issues. Because his focus is on sales volume and not customer service, the charming salesman has moved on to other prospects. He knows that once the contract is signed, his customers are unlikely to switch to another provider. This is the “Turn and Burn” business model that has been tarnishing the image of the janitorial services industry for years.
You deserve better. By selecting a janitorial services provider that prioritizes effective communication with their customers, you can escape the Turn & Burn trap and start enjoying better cleaning services.
Poor Communication: A Major Issue for Janitorial Clients
In addition to complaints about poor cleaning quality, poor communication is one of the major issues clients have with their janitorial providers. After the contract is signed, most cleaning companies fail to follow up with their lofty promises to provide excellent customer service. Communication is the key to excellent customer service. There are many reasons you might need to communicate with your service provider. There may have been a problem or cleaning deficiency that needs to be addressed. You may need to have additional items or areas cleaned, such as windows or carpets, that were not in your original contract. You may simply need to communicate new information or instructions. Perhaps the alarm codes or locks have changed.
Whatever the reason for the communication, it deserves your vendor’s immediate attention.
Reasons for Communication Breakdown
Communication between janitorial providers and their clients is a complex two-way process. Unfortunately, in this industry, there are many possible causes for a breakdown in communication.
- Language Barriers – In areas where English is a second language for the cleaning staff, clients may have difficulty communicating instructions to the staff or transmitting messages to supervisors.
- Training Deficiencies – Poorly trained cleaning staff will often overlook issues and forget to relay important messages. They may not adhere to quality standards. In these situations, communication stops at the cleaning staff level, so the cleaning company may not have the opportunity to address the issue before it becomes a problem.
- Lack of Support Staff and Process – Many commercial janitorial companies don’t have the capacity to support effective communication with their clients. Other commercial cleaning companies haven’t invested properly in their back-office systems or established effective communications policies and procedures. Consequently, when a business problem arises, they quickly become preoccupied and client issues get ignored.
- Lip Service – You’ve raised an important issue with your janitorial services provider. The cleaning staff or company representative has assured you that they will handle it right away. Days or weeks later, when your issue still hasn’t been addressed, you realize that you’ve just received lip service. It’s one of the classic hallmarks of a breakdown in communication. The frustrations that lip service causes are just the beginning. When you can’t reach your provider with an urgent matter, or if your needs aren’t addressed over time, minor issues can turn into expensive problems.
Escaping the Turn & Burn Trap
When it becomes clear that poor communication with your janitorial services company is the source of the poor service you are receiving, here are a few things you can do to escape the Turn & Burn trap.
- First, be more proactive. Raise your expectations and take action. Start by reaching out to someone higher up in the company. If the cleaning staff and their supervisors aren’t responsive, it’s time to call a manager or even the owner.
- Document all of your complaints, requests, and instructions. Documenting your communication is critical for several reasons. A written note or letter helps break language barriers. Someone who may not understand spoken English well can have someone else translate a written message.
- Misunderstandings about your wishes can be avoided when they are in writing instead of being passed verbally from one person to the next. And, if there is a dispute about an issue, you can always refer to your documentation to support your position.
- Know your contract terms. Most service contracts have clauses that require written notice to be delivered in a specific way to bring the breach to the contractor’s attention and give them a specific amount of time to attend to and remedy the issue.
- If you find that, in addition to spending too much time managing your communications with your vendor, you’re also dissatisfied with your cleaning services, it’s time to start looking for a new cleaning company. The combination of serious communications issues and poor service will just create more costly problems.
Qualities to Look For in a Commercial Cleaning Provider
The best way to get the quality of customer service you deserve is to pay closer attention to how the commercial cleaning company conducts its business. Instead of being overly impressed by the sales pitch, ask probing questions that shed light on how the company values communication. Although finding the right commercial cleaning provider may take a bit more work on the front end than you planned, you’ll be less frustrated and have fewer headaches over the term of your contract. Here are a few qualities to look for in your next commercial cleaning vendor:
Ask about how they train their cleaning staff. How much contact do staff members have with their supervisors? Are they encouraged to communicate issues to their supervisors? How well do they speak and understand English and Spanish? Having answers to these questions will put you in a better position to manage your communications with the commercial cleaning company.
It’s difficult to predict just how responsive the cleaning vendor will be after you’ve signed a contract. Still, you can try to get an idea of the value they place on their clients’ satisfaction. Do they have an emergency telephone number? What policies and procedures do they have in place to help facilitate effective communication and problem resolution?
Efficient Communications System
In this age of advanced technology, there is no excuse for not having an efficient communications system in place. Look for a janitorial provider that has invested in implementing software for handling communications with their clients. With such a system in place, messages are never lost and there is a constant record of inbound and outbound communications.
The iNX Approach
Over the years, iNX Commercial Cleaning has listened to the many complaints that facility managers, building operators, and business owners have had about their janitorial vendors. Using this knowledge, we’ve developed an effective approach to satisfying customers.
Starting with a clear understanding of the needs of each customer, iNX develops a customized, detailed cleaning program for your office or workplace. Next, your iNX owner-operator leads his or her team during each cleaning, and ongoing training is emphasized so that the program can be carried out consistently. To ensure effective communication with customers, iNX utilizes state-of-the-art technology that channels messages of any level of urgency to the proper recipient in a matter of minutes. With satisfaction surveys, frequent check-ins, and quality assurance evaluations, we hold our franchisees accountable by measuring their results. With these elements in place, iNX can continually measure performance and make adjustments in response to customer feedback. It’s no secret- better communication results in better commercial cleaning services for your office or workplace facility.
Are you interested in learning how iNX cleaning services can help improve the health, safety, and appearance of your business? Fill out this online form or call 1(888) TEAM-iNX now!