Some commercial cleaning companies are big fans of the idea that “silence is golden.”
They communicate with their clients as little as possible. The line of thought is this: the only time that clients want to communicate with their commercial cleaning company is when there are messes, mistakes, or complaints. Those are all bad things. Therefore, communication will probably be a bad thing – so the less of it there is, the better.
After winning a contract, these companies do their best to fade into the background at the sites they serve, until, ideally, people forget they even exist at all. The space is cleaned, nobody complains, and no communication is ever needed again.
As you may have guessed, we don’t subscribe to this approach.
The Problem with Radio Silence
Choosing not to communicate might seem like the simplest option. But healthy relationships (including business ones) are based on communication. Thinking otherwise is a mistake.
Here’s what happens. Let’s say a cleaning company wins a contract, and they set up service according to their perception of contractual expectations. Things start off okay, and communication quickly falls off as the months go by. Soon, there’s radio silence.
Then, a year later, a new occupant in the building begins complaining about the carpet cleaning quality. As it turns out, the cleaning company had been operating under false assumptions for a year. They’d been cleaning at the wrong frequency and time in a certain zone, but because there hadn’t been any communication, nobody had realized anything was amiss.
The company had served incorrectly for a year without realizing it. Unsurprisingly, the relationship didn’t last much longer.
Poor communication leads to poor service. Here’s what should happen instead.
A Better Communication Cadence
Instead of dropping off the map after service starts, at The Wilburn Company, we do our best to maintain communication with a cadence that prevents issues from escalating and offers plenty of checkpoints to ensure that things are going the way they should be.
1. A Comprehensive Kickoff
When the contract is awarded, our next step isn’t to jump in and start cleaning a space based on assumptions. Instead, we sit down with the necessary teams and fully vet out the situation, uncovering any challenges or potential issues before they have a chance to materialize.
The reality is that commercial cleaning doesn’t involve waving a magic wand. It’s a people business. It’s predicated on understandings between cleaners (or environmental hygienists), occupants, and building owners – and there will always be complexities when you’re dealing with people.
For that reason, we also request that clients communicate the scope of cleaning with building occupants, letting them know what they’ll be able to expect in terms that are as clear as possible. This can help to avoid unnecessary tensions. For example, if trash removal has been scheduled for 5:30pm and an occupant is unaware of that, they might get their trash ready at 8:00pm – and then complain when it doesn’t get picked up.
With clear upfront communication, those kinds of misunderstandings don’t happen.
2. Regular Progress Calls
The initial communication lays a solid groundwork of understanding. Progress calls ensure that understanding improves over time. They’re a forum for unpacking service success, and they help to ensure that any bumps get resolved quickly so that they don’t become real issues.
We hold progress calls based on need, so the frequency of calls varies. But a common progression is to begin a contract with weekly calls, and then space them out as routines develop and bumps are smoothed out.
3. Nightly Reports
Even more frequent than progress calls, though, are nightly reports. These are designed to identify issues as quickly as possible. They’re viewable at any time, without necessarily requiring direct communication each day (although communication lines are open should there be a need).
Here’s the process: the night supervisor on site files a report documenting any issues that occurred during cleaning. For instance, if a conference room was in-use at a late hour that precluded a scheduled cleaning, that would be noted. Maintenance issues or observations would be, too – for instance, if an office light was inadvertently left on, or if there was water leakage in an area, those items would be recorded.
4. Quarterly Business Review Meetings
We also believe it’s valuable to review service at a higher level on a recurring basis. Our regular quarterly meetings offer a chance to review performance and contract details. We typically review what’s being provided, and discuss any needed tweaks – for instance, if office cleaning at a weekly rate isn’t producing ideal outcomes, we might adjust to clean daily. Or, if vacuuming doesn’t appear to be necessary in low-traffic areas on a weekly basis, we might adjust to make it biweekly.
Open Lines at any Time
With kickoff meetings, progress calls, quarterly reviews, and nightly reports, our cadence (and our entire philosophy of communication) is founded on the idea that touchpoints are far better than radio silence. We believe in keeping communication lines open.
That’s why our clients get access to personal contact information all the way up the organizational chart – from the phone numbers of project managers to the info of our senior staff.
It’s also why we offer platforms that make communication easy, like our mobile app that allows users to review performance metrics, check audit reports, and even submit workorders.
From top to bottom, we’re designed to communicate effectively so that good work gets done, buildings are cleaned, and building occupants stay healthy.
Ready to Start the Conversation?
Tired of radio silence, or looking for a commercial cleaning relationship where communication is key?
At The Wilburn Company, we offer high-quality cleaning services, made possible by high-quality communication. Don’t let the cleanliness of your building suffer in silence. Let’s talk.