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Tag : office cleaning

When Cleaning Marriages Go Wrong: Common Cleaner Complaints, and Our Solutions

 

‘About us’ Flyer

 

Whether Office, Domestic or Industrial cleaning serves, these basic rules apply to across the board. We live by these. Read on to find out more…and then call us for a quote:

Does everyone deserve a cleaner, if they want one? We think so. It can be hard for a businesses and families to hire a cleaning service, despite the high level of available service providers. Some might have the feeling like it’s an unnecessary luxury, or somehow a poor reflection on them. But the simple truth is that our lives are busy and often stressful, with increasing number of daily tasks to accomplish  within the working day and with many other demands to consider. If we can make a customer’s day easier, improve general hygiene standards and freeing up time to allow our customers to focus without added stress, then this is a marriage made in heaven. We feel this is what we bring to the relationship.

That’s why we hate to hear of cleaning stories gone wrong. If a customer has put in time and expense to find a cleaning service, it’s a real shame when that relationship sours. When we began TotalCare Hygiene Services, we spent some time researching common complaints and turned these into strengths – this could explain our 5 star reviews.

Here’s what we found.

First – and this goes without saying, really – cleaning is a personal service. A customer’s home, workspace and social areas are safe spaces: it reflects who they are and what’s important to them. Letting a stranger in can be stressful! Customers, more than anything, want to feel that you understand and respect their needs and can carry out their wishes.

When things go wrong, it’s usually because this basic premise has been undermined.

Time management and ‘getting your money’s worth’

Some customers report finding their cleaner on the phone, talking to friends, or scoring in the janitors cupboard, during designated cleaning hours.

Other workers do not stay for the whole allotted time, but appear to ‘rush through’ the job as quickly as possible, in order to leave early.

Sometimes the customer feels like important tasks have been ‘skimmed over’, with more time spent on less important areas.

Safety and communication

Sometimes a cleaner has invited others to help with the cleaning, without notifying the client, whether or not these people are authenticated or professionally monitored. This feels unsafe and inappropriate to a client who has opened their home – It is true that some circumstances may occur where cleaners are unavailable, due to sickness or other issues, however and open and honest approach goes a long way.

Customers report that workers do not notify them about changes in schedule – whether in personnel, date and time changes, or even which cleaning tasks can be covered on which day. From the cleaner’s perspective, these changes are often out of their control and cannot be prevented – but poor communication has made the situation worse.

Many problems arise when the customer and the worker have not fully communicated their expectations. Some workers feel they are creating a strong customer relationship when they stop to chat, or play with the family pet – whereas the customer may see this as wasting valuable time. Other miscommunications may include the customer not understanding how long a task will take or how much it should cost, a worker not prioritising the customer’s most important requests, or expected standards of cleanliness not being met.

Professionalism and quality control

A common complaint is that, after a while, cleaning standards drop. The employee is no longer motivated, poorly remunerated, or given inadequate feedback.

Just because someone cleans their own home well, doesn’t qualify them to uphold the standards of a professional service. We employ Hygienists, because we train them in all aspects regarding the prices they offer, from the method to the theoretical.

Cleaners often appear to have a short shelf life: cleaning companies sometimes have a high turnover or send a different cleaner every week, meaning there is no opportunity for consistency and long-term relationships.

So what have we learned?

Here are our three key priorities:

Communication. Right from the beginning, it’s vital that expectations are communicated and understood on both sides. The customer needs to understand what they can expect for the price they are willing to pay, and the hygienist needs to know what the customer’s priorities are, and how best to meet them.

Consistency. Whenever possible, the same hygienist should be sent to the same customer. Any necessary changes should be communicated promptly and transparently. Long-term relationships of trust can be established, and expectations met.

Investment. Our hygienists are not temporary, under-valued or left to their own devices. For the sake of their motivation and the customer’s satisfaction, we invest in them and their future. Training and mentoring programmes, incentive schemes, continual feedback and quality control: it all helps to keep our standards high and our employees – and customers – happy.

It’s what we’re here for, after all, isn’t it?

Want to find out more about TotalCare’s domestic cleaning services? Contact us here.

 

TotalCare: A Big Solution for A Hotel’s Biggest Problem

 

Hotels are big business here in the UK: 36 million overseas visitors came to the country during last year alone[1]. It’s safe to say the economy would not function without the revenue the hospitality industry provides.

From a hotel manager’s perspective, return customers are everything: it costs five to eight times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one[2]. Give the customer an experience that is comfortable, easy and enjoyable – whether they’re a couple celebrating a special occasion, a tourist exploring the local area, or a business employee looking for a stress-free stay – and they’re much more likely to come back. Which means steadier revenues and a better reputation – vital in today’s era of internet reviews and viral complaints.

So let’s talk logistics for a second, because the organisation involved in keeping any hotel running smoothly can be staggering. Hotels aim for 80% room occupancy over the year: around 10% of occupancies are lost to no-shows, and staff generally over-book to compensate for these. Since the final unoccupied 10% represents only a loss in revenue, it’s vital that room turnover is as efficient as possible.

Where does that leave the cleaning schedule?Rooms are prepared for new customers after every departure, of course, but deep-cleans and refurbishments take time – and most hotels aim for a minimum of one deep-clean per room, per year. Imagine a hotel with 178 rooms: around 15 rooms will need to be cleaned per month, if every room is to be cleaned at least once within the year. It’s the hotel manager’s task to schedule the cleaning of those 15 rooms at times when occupancy is lowest, and revenues will be affected least.

The average three-star London hotel charges £128 per day[3]. So putting 15 rooms out of use for a full day means a loss of £1920 over a month, and therefore £23, 040 over the course of the year. If the type of deep-clean requires two days to fully dry and air, as some do, then that loss of revenue is doubled, to nearly £50 000.

 What do these figures tell us, here at TotalCare?That the method used to deep-clean a hotel room is far more crucial than it appears. Most carpet cleaning systems use high volumes of pressurised water and cleaning agents to penetrate the carpet, and the dirt is then lifted out using a specialised vacuum. Depending on the environment, the carpets treated this way may take anywhere from four hours to two days to completely dry. The room, at least, will need to remain unoccupied for at least a day. For older hotels, carpeted floors without underlays may trap moisture from the cleaning, resulting in condensate stains that will also need to be cleaned. More time, and more expense – and if a customer is accidentally placed in a room with a still-damp carpet, there will be complaints, possible health and safety implications and a loss of reputation and revenues via refunds or a free nights stay.

So we decided we could do things a little differently, and developed a method that will allow for same-day turnaroundfor deep-cleaned rooms. Our aim is to complete our pre-scheduled rooms (between 15-20 at a time) between the hours of 6am and 12pm. If check-in starts at 2pm, it’s possible for a room to be completely refreshed without losing any occupancy at all.

 

What are the benefits?Well, we hope the general manager’s schedule will be considerably less complicated as a result, as well as the schedules of housekeeping staff and sales teams. A hotel cleaned with our method can maximise bookings and revenues, minimise unoccupied rooms, and increase customer satisfaction. So more of those gold-standard returning customers, and fewer wet carpets. We think we can all get behind that.

 

You can read a real-life, recent case study about this method in action here.

 

[1]http://www.bha.org.uk/2609_bha_lobby_day_briefings_uk/

[2]http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/11472/10-tips-for-retaining-loyal-guests

[3]http://gb.hotels.com/hotel-price-index/7-average-room-prices-by-star-rating.html

 

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