Building owners and occupants have customer rights. Are you fulfilling them?
Many years ago I was working on the strategic position for a large company with a significant janitorial services division. The strategic theme we developed was piece of mind and repeatable success. The idea for peace of mind and repeatable success came from four rights of customer service that I had written into a customer service training manual, which I had authored years before.
From those four rights, we built the technology, systems, processes and culture to support the capability to deliver to our customer piece of mind and repeatable success.
I have seen and experienced other companies that have aligned their activities towards excellent customer service. Yet many facility services (e.g., janitorial services, maintenance services, electrical services) still only go as far as to meet the general expectations or contracted scope.
The problem with merely meeting general expectations is that the value in the relationship is still zero. If you want to increase the value of the relationship, you have to go beyond by assuring the customer’s rights are respected. When the customer rights are honored, it will lead to greater satisfaction from building owners and occupants.
It doesn’t matter whether your facility manager, property manager or janitorial service manager, these four rights apply to any customer. Here are the four rights:
1. A customer has the right to common courtesy.
- Being polite
- Taking care of customer’s property
- Looking professional
As bulleted above, there are many factors to common courtesy, but the overarching goal is to connect with people. The more you connect, the more good service will be noticed. On the flip side, you will also receive more lenience when things go awry with a customer.
2. A customer has the right to easy access.
- Easy accessibility to supervisor or area manager
- Convenient hours to receive service
Making yourself available to your customer helps them feel they are your most important customer. When they feel that they are your most important customer, they are more likely to give more business to you.
3. A customer has the right to responsiveness.
- Quick call backs from area managers or district managers
- Speedy resolution of any concerns
- Full attention to customer’s problem
Being highly responsive to your customer can turn a bad situation into a positive, helping you extend the life of the relationship. When you respond quickly, correctly and sincerely, your customer’s attention and mood will match your response. See my post 5 Tips for Rock ‘n Customer Service to see how to respond effectively, and thefeore, elicit a customer response that mirrors that effectiveness. Also see Note 3 from my post 6 Notes on Customers Service.
4. A customer has the right to reliable service.
- Consistent performance of contract obligations
- Performing service right the first time
- Completing frequency work according to contract schedule
- Performing services correctly or without short cuts
- Accurate billing statements
Today, that company (Varsity Facility Services) still bases its strategic position on the four rights. In fact we refer to it as giving our customers a little R & R – Responsiveness and Reliability is the foundation for our business model. The result has led to a 95% customer retention rate. Our top 20 customers average 14 years with us.
These four rights are not exclusive to janitorial services. You can strengthen your customer retention by providing customer service to building owners and occupants that will assure their rights to common courtesy, easy access, responsiveness and reliability.
In 2011, Marc's team won the large company category, "Best in the Industry" marketing materials from the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI). Marc also directs Varsity's proposal writing, sales process and tools development, marketing campaigns, corporate website SEO performance and customer support center.
Marc has spent his career developing strategic capabilities that enhance value to customers and the company. A Lean Sigma Green belt himself, he developed the company's Lean Sigma offering, providing an innovative solution to customers' need to lower cost while raising quality. He led the development of JanOPS, an industry-leading janitorial operating system, which brings standardization and service consistency to large campus and geographically disperse national accounts.
Prior to this position, Marc was responsible for strategic management at Varsity. He has initiated or directed multiple strategic technology initiatives, ranging from a corporate website, a corporate intranet, a web/smartphone based quality control system, a learning management system, a corporate content manager and knowledge wiki, salesforce.com deployment and customization, and an Android app which facilitates the GROW sales process he has developed.
Marc is the author of several leadership and management training manuals, field guides, marketing collateral and case studies. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and holds a bachelor degree in English/Technical Writing and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Idaho State University. Marc enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and golf. He is happily married, and he and his wife Victoria enjoy raising and spending time with their four children.
Latest posts by Marc Collings (see all)
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