For contract cleaning companies office cleaning is the most competitive market to break into. Some organisations change their cleaners on a regular basis, every year or some even every six months because they cannot find a company that will consistently meet their requirements. What we find is that these companies do not have a clear indication of what is expected from the clean. After some time they complain that standards have fallen.

This phrase ‘standards have fallen’ is oft repeated by a company representative who is complaining about the cleaning. So you ask what aspect of the cleaning has or is not being done. The reply is often along the lines of, well its all being done but the standard is not what we have come to expect. So you then ask if they can give specific examples so that these can be rectified. Answer; ‘not really its just that standards have fallen’. This is the most frustrating part if you are the cleaning services company. So you go in to visit the premises, talk to the company and to the cleaners. Quite often you can find nothing is actually wrong with the cleaning and that everything according to the contract is being fulfilled. This may very well be the beginning of the process of the company trying to replace you.

Why does this happen? It can happen for a number of reasons, but the principle reason is that the customers expectations of the cleaning process is not reflected in the cleaning schedule, as it changes with time or it may simply be unrealistic and does not take account of natural deterioration in the building.

For example it may be that some employee has found cup rings on their desk and complained that these are not being cleaned. The cleaners when approached about this maintain that they can never clean that particular desk because it is always full of documents. Or somebody has moved their workstation and complained about the amount of fluff and dirt accumulated around the wiring of their computer. As a result the cleaners are obviously not doing a good job.

How are these problems overcome? The best way of avoiding these problems is to carry out a cleaning survey of the premises in which such details can be highlighted and a possible remedy suggested. For example desks can be polished on a rota system and when it is time for a particular block of desks to be polished the individuals whose desks are being done are informed of the impending clean and instructed to clear their surfaces. If they do not then they cannot complain if they are not polished.

Having produced a detailed cleaning survey it should then be possible to sit down with the client and discuss which parts they would like to take up and which can be ignored. On this basis a quote can then be provided. Both parties are then very clear as to the extent and standard of the clean. So what was subjective before becomes objective and measurable. The cleaners should know exactly what is expected of them and the customer should have a more realistic and objective appraisal of the cleaning. Cleaning surveys carried out correctly can save you complaints and the potential loss of contracts.

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