We recently started an online discussion about how cleaning companies "measure clean". Someone had made a comment that "people would know the difference between clean and not clean", but as cleaning professionals, we all know that one person's idea of clean may not measure up to another person's idea of clean -- every one has different perceptions.
Here are the original questions:
What does clean mean to you and how do you all measure clean? Is it visual? Do you use an ATP meter? What is your company's standard for clean and how do your employees know they have met that standard?
Responses were varied and many hit on some key points:
1) Expectations must be conveyed to the staff what your interpretation of "clean" is what the customers interpretation of "clean" is, and their training should reflect both of these values.
Good point. Many employers assume their employees should understand what clean means, but it is your job to explain what it means to you and your clients and make sure you train them to meet your standards.
2) Clean is a complete and professional completion of specifications decided on by a professional discussion between the client and the provider. It may not be "clean" by our professional standards but if it meets all the clients specifications and they are happy then it is clean to them.
This is also a good point, but we must use caution if our clients accept lower standards of clean just so they can save money.
3) A clean building has to look clean, feel clean, and smell clean. Let’s start with "Looking" clean. If you clean a conference room top to bottom, and don't push in the chairs then it will not "Look" clean. Feeling clean describes the initial feeling that you get when first walking into a building or a room. You can walk into a clean bathroom but it will not "Feel" clean if the floors look dingy. Poor lighting, and/or burnt out lights can also contribute to this variable. Last but not least, the smell. The fragrant smell that a cleaner has usually dissipates before the customer enters the building. So what may be causing odors need to be addressed. Urine must be cleaned up if we are talking about restrooms. Floors drains need to be treated on a regular basis.
This is an excellent description of just what clean is. "Clean" involved the senses - sight, touch and smell. Train your employees on how to observe the space, how to "feel" the space and how to use their sense of smell to determine if the space is clean (and remember that "clean" doesn't have a scent).
4) We use a quality control book in all locations that asks for proactive responses.
Not everyone was in agreement in using a quality control book. "In today's environment where we have gotten our customers used to instant communication I would hate to have my customer write in the book and not get a quick response." These days, most cleaning contractors are using telephone, email and private customer areas on their websites to communicate quickly with their customers.
How do YOU measure clean? Post your thoughts by clicking on the Comments link below.