If you feel like the majority of your time is spent dealing with complaints regarding housekeeping, perhaps you should review your approach to customer service.

Continuous communication, tracking and evaluation are essential to any customer service program. To improve your customer service practices, consider the following steps:

  1. Make the commitment to deliver fantastic customer service to your facility. Then discuss the challenges and benefits of your customer service plan with your staff.

  2. Start developing communication and evaluation methods for your customers. Ask your customers: What are you happy with? What could my department be doing better? What are your concerns about the cleaning operation? What is the best method of communicating these concerns? Establish service goals. Track and measure customer issues regularly.

    Develop a functional pipeline for complaints and discussing issues. Ask customers throughout the organization to be key contacts and make sure these people know how to get in touch with you when they have complaints. Distribute a list to other department managers with your office and cell-phone numbers, e-mail, pager, etc.

  3. Designate a liaison on your staff with the skills necessary to handle complaints and problems quickly. Your department should respond to customers within 24 hours of being contacted.

  4. Schedule a monthly meeting with other managers within the organization to discuss your service, including problem areas, things that are going well, personnel issues, etc.

    While it is important to receive your customer’s input, it is equally important to use meetings to inform customers of your accomplishments. Tell these internal managers if you have met goals, realized safety improvements, reduced absenteeism and turnover, or improved training methods. Show your customers that you take pride in your cleaning operation and its achievements.

  5. Finally, continual evaluation of data is crucial. If you stick to your plan and track the data on customer complaints, you should have a clearer picture of what is going on in your operation. Evaluate your response time to complaints. Compare your quality inspections with your complaint logs to see if there are any correlations. Share your evaluations with other managers and inform your customers of any corrective actions and results.

    Planning, implementation and constant evaluation should have equal importance in your customer-service program.

If you take time to install effective communication protocols, track the data and evaluate processes, you can really define what’s going on in your operation.

John P.Walker is the owner of ManageMen consulting services in Salt Lake City. He also is the founder of Janitor University, a hands-on cleaning management training program.