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Delivering service excellence

07 March 2013

Bradley Reames, managing director of Peartree Cleaning Services, explains how to ensure your contract cleaning service provides exceptional cleaning standards

Bradley Reames, managing director of Peartree Cleaning Services, explains how to ensure your contract cleaning service provides exceptional cleaning standards

Our cleaning philosophy is simple: clean everything, every time. When companies outsource their cleaning they expect absolute commitment that at the end of every cleaning shift the area cleaned will be immaculate. Just as organisations set their own aspirational standards, they expect nothing less than perfection from the cleaning service they employ.

In order to have trust in the contract cleaning company that you use there are many important factors that you need to consider.

These include:

Shared vision
No two businesses are the same.Your cleaning service supplier should take time to understand the company they are working for and approach the work with enthusiasm. Every customer has different requirements, and specialist products may be required to clean specific flooring and surfaces. The amount of footfall will also have a bearing on the cleaning schedule. In addition to daily cleaning, major periodic work will be required, for example for floors and carpets.

Technology and innovation
Investment in new technology that supports and benefits our clients, managers and staff is a key part of our service model. Real time audits, e-ordering, e-training and the flow of information are crucial to our business.We have been able to give our cleaning managers back 20 per cent of their time, which was lost in administration duties by using technology.This time is now spent in our clients'premises supporting the cleaning staff and ensuring client satisfaction.

Our company was the first in the UK to implement the CleanLink iPad application, which has been specially designed for contract cleaners, via the iPad 2. Specialist cleaning software via the iPad can help to easily monitor operational performance and provide a structured approach to quality monitoring for facilities managers, against agreed service levels.

We also use e-platforms to provide training to our staff, providing documents and reports for our clients and e-ordering for cleaning products and consumables.

Accreditations show commitment to delivering quality, sustainability and staff welfare and this third party recognition validates processes and management systems. Environmental standards should be backed up with evidence such as accreditations like ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management certificate.Companies should also be able to provide an environmental policy statement and provide proof of accredited training in this area.

High standards
If your cleaning service provider is a member of key industry organisations such as the British Institute of Cleaning Science and the British Institute of Facilities Management this indicates they abide by codes of practice, and value the importance of industry standards, whilst keeping up to date with the latest cleaning industry developments and innovations.

Transparency of costs
The contract cleaning company should provide clients with transparent costs detailing the number of operatives needed, hours to be worked, rates of pay and all other associated labour, and equipment. Specialist periodic cleaning costs should be included and itemised with suggested frequencies.

Environmental responsibility
Increasingly, regulation and standards are being introduced to encourage businesses to be more sustainable.Companies that wish to demonstrate their green credentials should choose a cleaning firm which demonstrates environmentally friendly practices.The contract cleaner should be happy to explain how they help the environment, and what they aim to do to continually improve their impact on the environment. This should be indicated within an environmental statement or policy.

It's important to use a cleaning firm whose operatives are fully trained to accredited standards. Some companies have initially used untrained cleaning operatives as they believed it would save them money, but this means standards will slip and health and safety risks will increase.Cleaning operatives need to be trained to be able to use cleaning chemicals and equipment properly,to an accredited standard,for their own safety and for the safety of the people in the building.A cleaning operative who is trained to an accredited standard will also be more efficient.This means the premises will be cleaned in a time efficient manner, to the required standard, and good hygiene standards will be maintained.

Exceptional performance
Companies rightly expect service excellence. It is important that the contract cleaning company spend time with businesses to understand their individual needs, meet regularly and conduct site audits to ensure clients are receiving the best service. Following feedback, any necessary changes to the service should be quickly implemented to make sure that needs continue to be met and that customers receive a first rate service.