A reader writes: “We have an account that has about 30 air fresheners with C cell batteries. We keep getting complaints about the unit not working, battery discharged or even missing. Any suggestions?”

I am not a big fan of air fresheners since they tend to mask problems and can cause eye and respiratory issues with some people, myself included. I cannot go near a candle shop, sit near someone with a heavy cologne and immediately start tearing when an air freshener activates. Having said that, air fresheners are here to stay so let’s consider how best to handle this situation.

First of all, the person servicing the restroom should be checking paper supplies, hand soap and the air freshener. These units can be numbered (inside the cover or outside) so that they can report that “unit No. 16 is missing a battery, needs cartridge replaced, etc.” They can be trained to note that if the fan is not running that the battery may need replacing. If they do not smell any air freshener they may need to report the cartridge needing to be replaced. Of course, the Quality Control inspector should also be checking these units on a regular basis.

There is also a better alternative.

Why not time study the battery life (example: lasts two months) and the cartridge life (example: lasts 30 days) and implement a replacement schedule (the 15th of each month) so that you can document that all units have been serviced on a regular basis. This not only takes out the guesswork of those who have a lot of things to track already, but it also helps you to budget out your costs. As for missing batteries or cartridges you need to determine who is taking them and why? If it is one of your staff, then deal with it promptly since this is your expense. If it is a visitor or tenant, you need to report it to the customer and have a pricing system to replace these units or note that unit No. 13 is out of order until the next recharge cycle on your schedule.

Your comments and questions are important. 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