It seems like just about every time we go online contacting a bank, a retailer, or a service provider, a day or so later we are emailed a survey, asking for our feedback as to how well we felt we were served.
Sending out surveys is something many contract cleaners fail to do. Often, they meet or hear from their clients enough on a regular basis that they believe if there are any issues, they will hear them directly from the customer, no survey needed.
However, it still can be a good idea for both the contractor as well as building managers to take a closer look at cleaning performance. What we are referencing are called key performance indicators (KPIs). There are five KPIs that are most important for contract cleaners and building managers. They are the following:
How Clean is the Building?
This can be very subjective. What is clean to one person may not be clean for another. So, here's the way to make this more objective. Send out surveys to many building users. Get as many responses as possible asking what building user's think of the overall cleaning in the facility. While the answers may vary, typically a pattern emerges indicating the overall perception of the cleaning.
This too can be very subjective. One way to make this a bit more impartial is to ask building managers and their staff to anonymously rate their satisfaction with the cleaning provided on a scale of one to ten. Also, encourage them to submit their first response. This "gut level" response is often the most accurate. Now average the responses, and you'll have a reasonably accurate picture of how the building managers and their staff rate the cleaning in their building.
Have any of the cleaning workers been hurt on the job in the past year? Have any building users experienced a slip and fall accident or any other type of injury that could be tied to cleaning? This not only can tell us how well we are performing, but indicate if there is a problem that may need to be addressed. For instance, if there were two accidents in the winter at one building entry, it may mean more mats should be installed at that entry to prevent them in the future.
Turnover is high in the professional cleaning industry, but if it is excessively high, that could indicate a problem. Sometimes it is an indication that workers are not being trained properly. Some contractors are addressing this by selecting on-board tutors that provide "pause, play, and practice" instructional videos that can be accessed at any time. Well-trained staff tends to stick around a bit longer and clean more effectively.
While this may not involve an evaluation of actual cleaning performance, the costs to clean a facility must always be considered. In some cases, cleaning-related costs are the number one expense a facility has. This KPI is determined by the building manager. Most likely she has past proposals on file and many times, building manager take estimates on a regular basis, just to make sure what they are being charged is competitive. The good news here is that if a contractor scores well on the other four KPIs just discussed, the likelihood that a building manager will switch services based only on financial issues, is unlikely.
Robert Kravitz is a former building service contractor, having owned, operated, and then sold three contract cleaning companies in Northern California.
He is the author of two books about the industry and continues to be a frequent writer for the industry.
Robert is now president of AlturaSolutions Communications, which provides communications and marketing services for organizations in the professional cleaning and building industries.