Poor communication can cause a breakdown in the relationship between a customer and a supplier. For office and commercial cleaning companies, this can ultimately lead to a customer cancelling their contract. As well as lost revenue for the supplier, this is not beneficial for the customer because of the disruption in service and the time required to source a new contractor.
To deliver great service, office cleaning companies must have clear lines of communication – not only with their customers but also internally.
Strong communication should start before the customer becomes the customer – i.e. during the quotation process. Not only should a detailed site survey be undertaken but a potential supplier should also ask the right questions to clearly understand the prospect’s needs from the outset. Only then can these needs be accurately reflected in their cleaning proposal / quotation / cleaning specification documentation.
Ongoing customer communication
Customer to supplier
Customers should expect key contacts at their office cleaning company to be easily accessible to report any issues, changes in requirements or for any queries they may have. This includes both members of the office team and, where available, field-based contacts (supervisors and / or area managers). They should also expect their supplier to listen and respond quickly. Where an issue has been raised, the supplier should update the customer on steps that have or will be taken to fully resolve it.
Supplier to customer
Proactive communication from the supplier to the customer is also an important element of great service. This should include updates and advance notifications as appropriate such as changes to cleaning times over holiday periods or changes of cleaning operative due to absence or staff holidays. Sometimes, in the case of unforeseen absence, it may not be possible to provide replacement cover in time and a clean may be missed. It is important that the supplier acknowledges this with the customer as soon as possible and notifies them of any corrective measures being put in place.
Ongoing cleaning inspections of customer premises and regular customer feedback surveys provide the opportunity for customers to either confirm that they are happy with the service received or to report any issues. This allows for any problems to be fixed quickly before customers choose to look elsewhere.
Cleaning operatives should be supported by and receive regular communications from the office team and also ideally a supervisor in the field. Cleaning operatives should feel part of a wider team and understand the values of the company they are representing. Communication is also key to monitoring their performance, identifying any training requirements and ensuring these are met so that standards of service remain high.
Cleaning operatives should also have easy access to the office team and also a supervisor (where the cleaning contractor has a field management team in place) to request stock (both cleaning products and PPE) and to report equipment issues, accidents or any other issues occurring on site. There should also be a process in place for cleaning operatives to report unforeseen absences quickly and easily. Where time permits, this then allows for alternative cleaning arrangements to be made to avoid any interruption in the service provided.