Turn a Critical Eye on Your Own Presentation

Spring cleaning is now entering the minds of your current – and hopefully future – customers. Your phone will start to ring more as customers request what you have to give: professional cleaning.

Just as your customers want “fresh and clean” in their homes, it may be time for you to start thinking along the same lines with your van and equipment. I am a big proponent of “looking the part,” presenting a clean, professional image in all you do. If you will, try and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Look at yourself, your equipment and your presentation from your customer’s eyes. Hopefully, this doesn’t scare you to death.

Here are three things to consider:
  1. What if your customer needs to run an errand while you are cleaning and looks at the outside and then the inside your open van?  Is she going to cheer up or throw up?
  2. What happens when you show up to clean your customer’s carpet, and you begin by stringing dirty hoses into her home? Does the customer want to strangle you with the hose?
  3. How does your customer feel when you’ve come to clean her carpet, yet run your hoses, sprayers and yourself, seemingly without a care, over her hardwood floor or marble entryway? Does she worry about how this other floor will look when you are done?

As you might have guessed, I have some solutions for these three customer relation concerns.

If your van is dirty and cluttered on the inside, I suggest you solicit your mother to help you clean it up; I am sure she is used to cleaning up after you. Failing this, get after it yourself. There are many organizational accessories to help you get a handle on all the “stuff” you must carry with you.

Look into van shelves, hangers that hook on the shelves, walls or ceilings, holders for your sprayers, foam and plastic blocks, wands and rakes. Have a spray bottle with glass cleaner or your favorite cleaner, along with a towel, handy to keep your truckmount, portable and other equipment looking clean.

After cleaning your entire van, it is easy to maintain a high level of cleanliness if you always keep things neat and in order. And always clean up spills immediately; don’t tell yourself you will get to it later, because you probably won’t.

Vans get dirty on the outside as well. Another valuable tool for the outside of your van is a pressure washing gun. Considering that most of you have a built-in pressure washer (your truckmount) right in your van, it takes just minutes to squirt off your van once a day. Your van is a moving billboard, and a dirty one does not give off the right message. Bringing dirty hoses into your customers’ home is never a good idea. You have to get them clean. I’ve talked to cleaners who will wind up their solution hose while wearing cotton gloves, running the hose through the gloves while cleaning at the same time. Others will use a towel. You may consider laying out all the hose, spraying it with a heavy-duty cleaner and then pressure-washing the soil off.

The easiest solution to this issue is a hose washer designed to clean the hose as it is rolled onto the reel. This tool will wash the hose on all sides and vacuum most of the water away while you wind it onto the reel. This only takes an extra minute or two, while leaving your hoses clean and ready for next job.

Last month we discussed the use of shoe covers or booties that you wear to protect floors from outside soil as you move in and out of the house. Now I’m going to give you an idea that is just as powerful as it relates to customer service.

Often, you are working over another surface, such as wood or stone, as you make your way to the carpet that needs to be cleaned. You may track soil, leave footprints or drops of water on these non-carpeted surfaces as you work.

When you complete your work and move your equipment out of the house, take a flat mop with a terrycloth cover, spray a little wood or stone cleaner on the floor and mop over it. There is little you can do – other than doing a great job on the carpet! – that will impress your customer more. The flat mop takes very little room in the van, it uses terrycloth heads that are easily laundered, and it cleans great! It will make a huge impression on your customer.

Like Mom always says, “Clean up your act” and have a great spring cleaning season.

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