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Management And Training

Letters To The Editor

January 11, 2012
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Editor''s note:

A recent discussion on the Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online Bulletin Board centered on maintaining satisfied clients.

Thoughts pertaining to the various lengths some are willing to go to ensure stellar customer satisfaction follow below.

Posted by:
Amanda Martini-Hughes

How do you keep your clients happy?

Are there certain things that you, as the service provider, can do in order to ensure that your client gets exactly what they want, without you having to break the bank or your back?

What happens when a customer is dissatisfied?

How do you go about soothing riled tempers?

What advice can you give others who have to deal with perpetually unhappy customers?

John Markey

Lots of Chapstick — if you know what I mean.


I hope I can help you.

There are some that are never happy — no matter what you do; it''s just their personality.

When I take on a job, I ask them what they want with my services and then go one step above.

Also, communication could be a factor here.

Instead of waiting for them to complain, ask them first: "Are you happy with our services; is this what you wanted; what can I do to improve things?"

By approaching them first, it shows that you take pride in your work.

Good luck.

John Markey

Actually, we start with establishing what is to be done and how many times each task is to be completed through good specifications or scope of work.

Stay away from using the term "as needed," because your "as needed" will be different than the client''s "as needed."

The tasks and the frequency are the most important part of a service agreement.

If it says in our service proposal that something is to be cleaned once a week, then we clean it once a week.

We do what we say when we said we''re going to do it.

Excellent communication is a must.

We use building or suite logbooks for associates to sign in and for our clients to leave messages to our team leaders.

Supervisors and managers review these logbooks when visiting accounts.

We also keep those pages within the logbook for over a year to train new associates on past issues.

Establish a special e-mail address for clients to use when an issue or compliments need to be relayed.

In our company, theses e-mail messages are automatically distributed by our server within our office to the vice president, the director of operations, the quality control inspector, the division manager and to our administrative assistant as a back-up.

We use a series of four comment cards during the year — which are soon to be web-based — asking different questions about the quality of our cleaning for different areas of the facility and inquiring as to the quality of our associates onsite.

We refrain from using the same card over and over.

Our cards have a seasonal color photo on the front to make them pleasing and, more importantly, they grab the attention of the client.

We have an inspection person who interacts with our contact person and to key tenants; she is on the road every day and visits some large clients every week, smaller facilities every other week or once a month.

When a customer is dissatisfied, we reclean the area or object — and the sooner the better.

There have been instances that our vice president has gone out to facilities to empty trash containers that have been missed during the previous evening''s service.

We do have a small gift basket of office supplies — about $70 worth of tape, sticky notes, pens, pencils, thumbtacks, etc. — to which we attach a preprinted "sorry" note asking the client to "forgive us."

We deliver that as soon as possible.

If we screw up, we over apologize and do our best to retrain associates not to repeat mistakes.

How do we handle perpetually unhappy customers?

We have an 80/20 rule: 20 percent of one''s clients will be responsible for 80 percent of one''s headaches.

We "fire" those clients; yes, send them a letter of cancellation.

We have only had to do that three times in 35 years.

Editor''s note:

A recent discussion on the Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online Bulletin Board pertained to finding an aggressive carpet bonnet. Insight into the aggressive carpet bonnet query follow below.

Posted by:
Derek B

Hi, all.

Does anyone know if there are more aggressive carpet bonnets than the brown striped Tuway Brush Bonnet Combination (BBC)?

I have looked all over the Internet, all over the globe — can''t find anybody who can make one for me.

I''ve called Malish Corporation, Golden Star Inc., Continental Commercial Products, Tuway American Group and Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC.

If you can give me a company name and/or website address, I''d appreciate it.

Ed Samson

Too aggressive a bonnet might tear up the carpet.

Perhaps you need a deep clean with a good hot water extractor.

What are you trying to do?

Derek B

Clean commercial glue down (CGD) carpet.

It can handle quite a bit more aggression than a little brown striped.

Unfortunately, brown is as aggressive as is currently made, it appears.

Ken Galo

Then, why not use a shampoo brush on the machine?

Derek B

I''ve used brushes on my Cimex, soft and course ones.

For me, nothing out cleans the BBCs.

The same type of bonnet with a courser stripe of bristles would clean better.

The combination of the white synthetic material allows for some soil removal.

I don''t know the exact reasoning why, I just know that it works for me better.

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