Customizing is another concept Franco introduced to help custodians keep customer service top of mind.

“Every customer may want something different as far as cleaning, the type of cleaning, and the time of cleaning for their office or their classroom,” says Price.

Customizing helps custodians find out what each occupant prefers. They are required to sit down with three customers per quarter to discuss things like whether or not they want their area vacuumed while they are in it, whether the custodian can move things on their desk, if they want their offices cleaned every day or every other day, and more.

“There is a form to fill out and they have to ask specific questions of each customer,” says Franco. “It’s not a survey. We are trying to create a rapport and start a conversation so that our custodians are empowered to get the job done. It’s all about the people.”

It’s an important program, adds Elam, who explains the bulk of cleaning occurs during the day when building occupants are present.

“We become part of their day and we need to build a relationship with the people on campus,” she says. “It’s not like it used to be when the cleaning crew came in at night and the customers never knew who they were.”

Franco adds to customizing a healthy dose of Five-Star Customer Service Training, which teaches employees to provide a high level of customer service as they clean. Other training includes English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, taught by Rice students, which helps improve the language skills of employees where English is not their primary language. Computer classes round out the training opportunities so that employees possess the skills to write up and answer work orders as needed.

When asked why Franco provides the opportunities he does for his employees, he laughs and says simply, “That’s why I’m here. To serve. People helped me along the way and I’m paying back what’s been given to me.”

His statement shines a bright light on how this cleaning veteran earned the title Mr. Franco.

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