Learn how to manage your customers’ expectations in three easy steps with janitorial software — even when your team faces a few inevitable hiccups.
When you win a new cleaning bid, your team’s job is to provide excellent customer service. Why? So that when the bid comes up for renewal, you are positioned to win it again. But how do you empower your employees to make good, customer-centric decisions?
To give your team some perspective, let’s take a small step back: When your team first won the janitorial contract, what happened? Your client — a person — signed the contract. By signing their name, they vouched for your team’s performance.
In turn, if your team doesn’t deliver, the person who signed your contract also looks bad. Now, for the most part, customers are generally reasonable. There is an understanding that things don’t work out 100 percent of the time. However, patience and understanding may wear thin when problems last indefinitely.
Because hiccups are inevitable, here is a three-part strategy to help your team manage your customers’ expectations. Each step is designed to showcase your team’s problem-solving skills while staying transparent, giving your team the opportunity to turn every “problem” into a win!
Communicate Early and Often
In a CleanLink Minute post, Ron Segura explained that the best way to facilitate a strong customer relationship is to position yourself as the client’s partner. Instead of telling the customer what they need, Ron emphasized the importance of listening.
If listening is the key to a strong client relationship, your team must decide how they are going to move information throughout the organization. After all, if your shift managers aren’t present or copied on the client’s feedback, they won’t know which changes to make — if any.
It is imperative that your team records and shares client communication in a central place. Janitorial software gives your team the freedom to set who has access to specific customer information and feedback, effectively ending all internal games of “Who Didn’t Get Copied on the Client Email?” and “Client Communication Telephone.”
With janitorial software in place, your team can proactively listen to your customers and their patrons through work orders and customer and mobile surveys. If your customers prefer face-to-face communication, get your team in the habit of recording each issue directly into the system.
In addition to asking your cleaners to compile inspection reports, you should empower them to share any customer-related observations. After all, your cleaners are visiting these cleaning locations on a regular basis, and they should be able to provide additional information and ideas about how each facility is used.
Problem Solving with Janitorial Software
As your team and customers consistently log account information, your management team can use janitorial software to look for trends in the collected data. As your managers catch negative trends, it is up to them to research what is happening and why.
For example, if during your investigation, you find an issue in employee performance, go the extra mile to understand why. Problems could range from, but are not limited to:
- Insufficient training
- Broken equipment or insufficient supplies
- Unclear expectations from managers
- Inadequate time allotted to a project
- Poor motivation
Only after understanding the “why” of a problem can you strategize an appropriate action plan. After all, providing a poorly motivated employee more training may make the problem worse. Or, like the example from our last blog post, the problem could be totally outside the cleaner’s control, so training wouldn’t help.
If your team implements a fix but doesn’t see the desired results, it is okay to do more research and then tweak your action plan. Keep an eye on the data until you get the results you want. When your team develops the right strategy, you will see the improvement reflected in the data.
Following Up with Customers
Mickey Crowe once wrote, “Although technology is wonderful, there is still a need for the human element.” He is right; it isn’t enough to just solve the client’s problem using data. It is important to explain:
- The investigation and its finding about the problem in question
- How the team is currently working to solve the problem
- When the manager will follow up on the solution’s progress
If you follow this pattern of communication, you’ll make the person who signed your contract look good. When cleaning problems are brought to these individuals, they already have the information they need to update the people around them — making them your advocate.
Communication is important, even with there isn’t a problem. Janitorial software makes it easy to periodically download and send your customers data regarding their account. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your customers and proactively watch for problems together, effectively strengthening your customer relationship.