Delivering an exceptional contract cleaning service

26 March 2019

Maintaining service levels and managing customer expectations in an industry with a traditionally high staff turnover can be challenge, but it’s one that every service provider needs to meet if they want to be successful. Jan-Hein Hemke, MD of soft service and contract cleaning specialists, Facilicom UK, thinks that as well as improving pay and conditions, improved communication skills are key to delivering an exceptional contract cleaning service.

It is often said that behind every successful business there is a great team. This is particularly true in the case of contract cleaning companies. After all, these businesses rely on operatives providing an excellent cleaning service for their clients. What’s more, competition is fierce, so if the end result isn’t of a high quality, and the retained contract cleaner is not adding value, then the contract may not be renewed, and instead, secured by a competitor. 

Despite cleaning services being vital to maintain healthy and hygienic spaces – and therefore organisational success – operatives themselves are often held in low regard. Together with the hard work, seeming lack of prospects, and often poor pay, there is frequently little long-term commitment to the industry. Some statistics have shown annual turnover to be as high as 70%! This means higher recruitment and training costs, and potential difficulties in meeting clients’ requirements. 

To overcome these issues and continue delivering an exceptional service, contract cleaning companies must add value to their services, whilst also demonstrating their appreciation for, their staff and the work they do.  Two ways in which we do this at Facilicom, is through ‘Hostmanship’ training and paying the Living Wage. 

Training to add value

As well as providing training in the usual skills required to ‘do the job’, Facilicom also trains all of their colleagues in ‘Hostmanship’ (‘the art of making people feel welcome’). This training programme not only helps build the confidence of our colleagues to communicate and engage with colleagues, clients and customers effectively, but is also a way that, as a business, we can add value to our clients. 

By developing and honing colleagues’ interpersonal skills, a caring, yet professional, approach is introduced to our work. It also helps our colleagues to see the ‘bigger picture’, so that they are more adaptable and able to perform other duties, e.g. they can assist with directions, or help on reception. Colleagues are more motivated and committed to their tasks, have a better understanding of a client’s needs and are more likely to engage in issues rather than just doing the minimum amount of work. 

Put your money where the mouth is

As well as investing in staff training, it is also important to offer a fair remuneration. We believe that those that are willing to work hard for their wages should be rewarded sufficiently, to be able to live and enjoy life. That’s why, as a Living Wage Recognised Service Provider, we advocate that people receive a fair pay that reflects the real cost of living. 

This not only benefits the employee, but also has many commercial advantages. In return for a fair wage, our colleagues repay us with their loyalty and dedication. As a result, Facilicom has enjoyed low levels of absenteeism, increased retention and high job satisfaction. Because of this, our business has continued to grow.

Increasing low-paid workers to a realistic pay level is an important first step to improving their wellbeing, and combined with the development of transferable communication skills, a happier workforce is created. Facilicom takes this one step further by providing every staff member 24/7 access to an Employee Assistance Programme, where they can discuss any issues that might adversely affect their work performance, health and wellbeing. 

This is important, as we believe that ‘happy people make happy people’. This motto encapsulates the business benefits perfectly. By creating a more positive workforce, we gain better teamwork, greater loyalty, and higher staff retention; but also, importantly, our clients will receive a much better service.