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In the pandemic era of commercial cleaning, staying conventional can sink the prospects of any building service contractor (BSC). Client expectations — be it quality of service, quality of communication and even the mediums in which they are reached — have shifted more in the past 11 months than seemingly the previous 11 years.

As the next generation continues to take over management and purchasing decisions at facilities, many BSCs have followed suit for their own company strategy. Keeping pace requires an openness to fresh perspectives on marketing, company structure, hiring and delegation of responsibility. To gain more insight, Contracting Profits talked with four unique up-and-comers about lessons and strategies learned over their early years in management and how decisions made have propelled business forward.

Connecting With Clients

When it comes to connecting with clients during the pandemic, Kathleen Bands, CEO of My Cleaning Service in Baltimore, says the key to standing out is projecting a position of strength while others are scaling back. As tempting as it is to cut back on sponsorships and other client-related matters, doubling down instead and committing fully to client requests is worth any short-term losses.

"One of the industry groups we worked with wanted to continue their traditional golf outing last year, and we didn't hesitate to answer the call and sponsor it," says Bands. "By embracing a 'we're here' approach, it shows we can weather the storm in a way that others can't and we're the right choice for clients not only in normal circumstances, but in the difficult ones."

The same concept applies to virtual events, Bands adds. Even if it seems miniscule, taking even 20 minutes as a BSC to hop on a holiday zoom invite can leave a lasting impression on a customer.

“The conversations often aren’t work-related, but people are going to remember who was on that call and who went with you during the pandemic,” says Bands.

Danny Kilgore, CEO and co-owner of Simply Right Inc., Ogden, Utah, shares similar sentiments of the lessons he's learned interacting with clients and building trust. As the supply chain has tightened but demand for services expands, the approach BSCs take interacting with customers can mean all the difference.

In particular, jumping right into service talk with little introduction when reaching out can be extremely off-putting for even the longest-tenured clients. Building a personal relationship not only garners trust, but more importantly, it motivates a BSC to do all they can for someone they've grown to care about — beyond just business.

"We get into this mindset where if you're not asking for something in each call you make, then you're not being productive, but I couldn't disagree more," says Kilgore. "I like to call people just to see how they're doing and ask about their family."

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