A reader writes: “Although I agree with a lot of your articles, I find that you do not seem to take into account the customer’s needs in many cases. We just want the promised job done as per specs. I do not expect you to agree with me.”

Actually, I do agree with you. You ultimately pay all the bills and your needs and perceptions are absolutely important for a win/win outcome. As in many cases, I tend to focus on conflicts where there is no one right or wrong position. You will find that I oftentimes take the BSC (Building Service Contractor) to the proverbial wood shed when I note that they are failing to fulfill the specifications they agreed to perform.

It often gets down to interpretation of the specifications that causes the conflict. When the contract is being negotiated, everyone is focused on the bottom line while putting in next to impossible cleaning outcomes for the money available. Once the contract is signed, the BSC and the customer can often times have a reality check due to either misunderstanding the standards, frequencies or other outcomes.

I remember an opportunity where the customer clearly indicated that a 90 foot lobby (with multiple window ledges and other areas were off limits to the stated “high dusting.” The BSC did not price in scaffolding or a forklift to fulfill the “high dusting” function. They also failed to clarify what is “high dusting.” My definition that I insist on is between 7-12 feet maximum. Of course if the ceiling is only nine or 10 feet, the point is wherever that ceiling stops. In the situation I described the customer’s new Quality Control inspector used binoculars to point out “unacceptable dust” above 12 feet all the way to 90 feet. Since it was already a tight contract, the BSC reluctantly gave their 30 day notice and walked. The customer started the bidding process all over again which has it’s own embedded costs that no one seems to notice.

Lesson learned: Clarify and get it in writing. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.