Poor Communication Kills Cleaning Contracts
While conducting onsite consulting visits regarding alleged performance issues, I find there are certain patterns repeated over and over regardless of the size of the contract. Following are a few points to consider in the areas of trust and confidence:
1. Most contracts start out with good intentions. The vendor who won the bid wants to satisfy the customer by complying with the specifications and grow the account if possible.
2. The customer has chosen the vendor because they presented the best value based on their perceptions of value, not the vendors.
3. Once the contract starts, the vendor is dealing with myriad issues such as absenteeism, productivity, training new workers, supervision and of course, their bottom line.
4. The customer is usually on guard to make sure that tenants are satisfied with the new service, which usually means new faces and perhaps even different schedules.
5. Once the customer’s phone start ringing or they get complaints via email, they start looking closer at the onsite workers, counting heads and noting when workers are taking breaks, on their phones, showing up late, leaving early or hustling through areas.
6. In most cases, they do not involve the vendor management although they make some comments to the front line staff or onsite supervisor.
7. Too often the onsite supervisor or front line worker will confide in them or a key tenant that management does not support them or expects them to do more than their fair share without proper chemicals or supports.
8. Once the customer “feels” that the building is starting to fall behind, they start blasting management with complaints and threats of termination.
9. At this time, management gets involved and throws a lot of money (think labor and resources) to catch the building up and to mollify the tenants.
10. Usually, the vendor starts resenting the customer and tenants for failing to understand the labor market, difficulties in turn over, higher than expected traffic, etc.
11. The customer’s attitude is “If I had wanted to deal with those issues, I would have kept the cleaning in house. Do the job you agreed to do.”
12. The vendor becomes more defensive and resentful which is evident in their responses to the customer.
13. The customer quietly puts the contract out to bid and starts the process all over since confidence and trust have been lost.
What would you have done to keep this outcome from happening? As always your comments and suggestions are welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...
Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.