Wednesday, April 29, 2015


In my previous blogs as well in my books and DVDs you have heard me discuss the importance of an ongoing recruiting program for prospective and current employees as well as a systematic method of tracking your applicants. Another important part of this process is the facility where you interview and process new employees, especially if you are in the cleaning business.

Stop reading for a moment and take a walk to the front of the building where you ask prospective employees to apply for a position with your company. When they drive up what do they see? Nicely painted building, accurate well positioned signage, well lighted grounds, neatly mowed and maintained? Please make a note of any improvements that need to be made and who will make them promptly.

Next, walk in the door that applicants enter to complete their application. Okay, so we have a few cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and we haven't had time to vacuum the carpet for a week, but we've been busy starting a new large account. I understand completely but I want to remind you that if you are in the cleaning business and your business is to keep things clean, isn't it important that we begin at our own office so our prospective employees get the message loud and clear that we provide first class, quality, professional service and satisfaction to our customers and we expect nothing less from anyone joining our team? You see, the prospective employee doesn't know you started that large account and so they judge your quality expectations by what they see in the application room.

This reminds me of one of my long term customers who also became a long term friend. Part of the customer satisfaction process was for me to do a monthly inspection tour with him. If things went well, it culminated with a lunch that I bought. 

I should mention this was a large industrial facility sprawled out over many acres and we cleaned the administrative areas, factory offices, lunchrooms, restrooms, etc. with a sizable staff around the clock. When I would arrive for my monthly tour, my customer's first order of business was to walk to the main supply closet in the factory and check its condition. If everything looked neat and clean, mop buckets and trash barrels empty, mops hung up properly etc. he would say "Ollek, looks to me like your crews are doing a great job, let's go to lunch". By the way, part of my deal was that I could not alert the crews as to which day I was coming. I kept my word on that issue although I sometimes wish I hadn't.

On the other hand, if he found anything out of order such as equipment dirty or mop buckets standing full of water with a mop in them or a trash barrel still full of the last shifts trash, we would spend the rest of the day walking the entire facility (without lunch). You see, his philosophy was if we couldn't keep a 20 by 20 supply closet clean, how in the world could we keep his large plant facility clean? Agree?

You see, it does hold true. If we can't keep our own facilities clean and inviting to our prospective employees, how in the world can we expect them to keep our customer's facilities clean? WE set the example in our office as to what we expect in the field.

I don't want to belabor the point but I cannot over emphasize the importance of presenting a neat, clean, and appealing first impression for people who enter our premises. Never know, a prospective or current customer just might decide to pay you a personal visit. How do your facilities stack up?

If you haven't already done so, take a tour of your facilities. What kind of a message do they send to prospective employees and customers, or current customers? 

Hope to see as many of you as possible in Scottsdale at the Executive Management Conference on May 14-16. Should be a great learning experience and I am really looking forward to it. 

Till next time. If you have any comments or suggestions just contact us  at 573.374.1111.

Watch for news on a brand new site, in addition to our regular one that we should have up and running within a month. We're excited about it and will give you more details as we get closer to launch. MAKE IT A GREAT DAY. 

Monday, April 13, 2015


As much as we hate to admit it, most of us will have a customer complaint at one time or another. If someone tells you they don't have complaints, take their temperature and get them to a hospital immediately.

While it seems simple as to how we should handle complaints, as I travel the country I see many ways NOT to handle complaints. Doing it wrong is the surest way to lose a customer so let's review my suggested way to handle that call that will inevitably come.

1. When you first hear of the complaint, arrange a meeting as soon as possible---within a half hour if at all possible.

2. DON'T MAKE EXCUSES.  Listen to the customer and acknowledge the complaint. You see, the customer doesn't care if you had 3 people out last night or if your vacuum doesn't work or if you were short of supplies. They hired YOU to solve these problems. If they have to handle the problems they don't need you. Making excuses is one of the ways some contractors try to talk their way out of a problem. Making excuses only makes you look worse so don't do it. In the eyes of the customer, if you are making excuses, you are not managing your organization and their account. You have just made it easier for your competitor to take the account. 

3. Take notes and get all the facts you can from the customer. Inspect the area with the customer if possible. Know EXACTLY what the complaint is. 

4. Tell the customer WHAT you are going to do and WHEN you are going to do it. Then---DO IT. 

5. Follow up with the customer the next day, IN PERSON, to make sure the customer is satisfied. Thank them for calling it to your attention. 

6. Always ask the customer if there is anything else you can do for them. 


Remember, each time you come in contact with a customer you have the opportunity to solidify your relationship and potentially get more future business. On the other hand, not handling a complaint in a satisfactory manner, or having to handle it again the next day because it wasn't done or done right, is also an opportunity to lose business and in today's business climate we should be doing everything we can to keep our customers. 

It may be necessary to conduct some training with your staff to be sure they know how to do the work correctly that the customer was complaining about. With today's technology you can conduct training quickly and efficiently with the staff right on the job. 

The saying from years ago still holds today---




I have had people challenge me on the saying above. My answer is always the same. You most always have 2 choices--you can follow the rules or cancel the customer, the choice is yours. It is that simple. 

I plan to be in Scottsdale Arizona next month for the BSCAI Executive Management Conference. I hope to see a large number of contractors there to learn and take home ideas that can grow their businesses profitably. If you want more information on the conference you can visit the BSCAI web site at 

Till next time. Let me know your thoughts on this post. Happy April 15 tax day.