ICS Magazine

Quality Control: More Than Just Clean Carpet

May 3, 2001
A good cleaning technique is just one aspect that fits into your customer’s loyalty and repeat business equation.

As a cleaning service company in the 21st century, you may be surprised to know that customer satisfaction encompasses more than just removing soil. According to industry research, customers want and expect your total product package (services) that includes convenience, expectations, courtesy, and everything else that comprises good service.

With this in mind, the owner and manager of the professional cleaning service needs to evaluate his/her operation and make sure that these concerns are addressed. Is your client always treated with the highest level of respect and courtesy? Is every effort made to schedule all work at the client’s convenience and not yours? Does your crew always arrive at the scheduled time, or at least keep the client informed of any unanticipated delays?

It’s these aspects of customer service that will set your service apart from others who are competing for the consumer’s loyalty. It can even go right to the “bottom line” as market trends show that consumers have demonstrated a willingness to pay more for the same service when these special service points are included.

Many cleaning service companies subscribe to this concept of total customer service and give “lip service” to the issues like courtesy, convenience, and reliability. Yet, they don’t have any systems in place to monitor if these ideals are getting outside their office doors and into the field. Follow-up phone calls, customer comment cards, and random on-site visits are a few suggestions of how this can be monitored. The time spent on follow-ups will be rewarded by allowing you to know how clients are reacting to your company’s service and if you are indeed providing the level of service you think you are.

It’s actually “old news” that the successful company is the one that exceeds (not merely meets) their customer’s expectations. Good cleaning is the customer’s minimum expectation. The best way to exceed their expectations is to go beyond good cleaning and include exceptional service.

A recent informal straw vote revealed that , more than 25% of the time, cleaning service companies were late for scheduled jobs. Five percent never showed up at all!

There has been a rash of consumer complaints about service personnel being rude and aggressive while in a client’s home. There have been reports of everything from dirty shoes to felony criminal acts by cleaning services in the news.

The issue of background checks for new hires has become an important industry discussion. The idea of providing mobile phones for field crews with specific procedures for reporting in as the day progresses is very important. Proper training in how to properly speak and address clients with politeness and respect should be included in the required training. Classes in driving etiquette should be offered so those “moving billboards” don’t turn into negative advertising. Specific actions should be outlined as consequences of improper behavior and included in every employee’s orientation.

Yes, good cleaning is important. However, if the goal is to exceed the customer’s expectations and develop loyalty and repeat business, good cleaning is only the beginning.