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Why Customers Lose When Choosing the Lowest Price

It’s a common trick in the commercial cleaning industry, as well as many other service industries. Use a low priced bid to win the business, then under deliver your service (hoping the customer won’t notice) or ask for more money at a later date.

We’ve seen it time and time again. We’ve lost business because of it.  For us, one instance stands out as a shining example of this flawed strategy.

For six years, we provided the daily cleaning for a very challenging building and in general, had a very satisfied client for those six years. When the building came to tender, it became abundently clear the personel in charge of creating the scope for the RFP were uneducated, inexperienced and focused on trying to get more for less. What was created was a scope of work that would at least double their current budget. Yet, what was awareded was a contract to a company that bid amost half of the current budget. Sorry, the math just didn’t work and why the building’s managers couldn’t see that is baffling.

Follow these tips so you don’t fall victim to the low price trap on your next request for proposal.

  • Ensure the scope of work and the budget you have allocated are in sync. If you are not sure how to do this, ask a trusted advisor that has this experience.
  • Another option to ensure your work and budget are realistic, is to do a pre-proposal walk-through with the bidding contractors. Outline what your high/low priority areas are and then ask them to provide a recommended scope and price based on that. This strategy can be tricky to compare apples to apples but it allows the contractors offer up their expertise and provide a balance between performance and efficiencies.
  • Ask around, find out what companies your peers are using. What companies have proven to be trustworthy, which haven’t. Then compile a list of contractors you would be open to working with and invite them to bid on your work.
  • If you are already in a position where you are working with a contractor that played the low price trick on you and you’re seeing that negative results, start looking for alternative services.

Our company philosophy, as is for some other building service contractors, is to provide “real” pricing and work scopes that represent value and honesty. We may not always win business with this strategy, but when we are able work to with customers that understand it and hire us for it, we are able to forge an honest and respectful relationship from the start.

The low price option always ends the same way. The customer loses with poor cleaning performance and a dirtier building and added work load to manage a cleaning program that isn’t working and then having to repeat the RFP process all over again.

By the way, the building that we lost to the low baller is now looking like it. Don’t ever doubt the old adage, “you get what you pay for”. Especially when it comes to the cleanliness and health of your building.

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Contract Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning as well as specialty services; Ceiling Cleaning, Floor and Carpet Cleaning, Electrostatic Disinfecting and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

 

 

 

 

Why You Need to Listen to Your Customer’s Complaints

Being in the cleaning industry, dealing with customer complaints is part of the job. In fact, the same can be said of any service based business. Some clients habitually complain. Some clients are more reasonable than others. But often, client complaints are valid. Nobody likes hearing criticism, but perhaps we are simply looking at it the wrong way?

I recently listened to an interview with actor Mandy Patinkin. If you don’t know him, then you are not addicted to the Showtime program Homeland like I am. Or perhaps you haven’t seen Princess Bride where he was Inigo Montoya in 1987’s The Princess Bride, in which he delivers the iconic line, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Anyway, I heard the passionate Patinkin talk about his appreciation of criticism and how it can make us better.  That statement got me thinking about how a paradigm shift in regards to customer complaints just might do us some good.

An article in The Guardian outlines some of the benefits of criticism like this;

Criticism is a form of communication – If someone has a criticism it means they want to give you feedback on what you’re doing for them – that means an opportunity to learn more about the person who you’re working for and how to convert them into a satisfied customer.

Feedback helps make your product/service stronger – Use that information to change your performance, service or event – sometimes it will make for uncomfortable listening but it can make your offering stronger.

It forces you to think about how you work – Constructive criticism can guide you away from bad practices and towards good ones. Try to be objective and look at what you’re providing as though it’s not yours.

The right kind of criticism can give you an advantage – If you can get a customer to tell you how to give them the perfect product or service, that’s information you’ve got that no one else has. That puts you at an advantage over anyone else in your sector and can be used again in the future to get things right, even faster.

Use positive language, elicit a solution – Try to avoid getting into an argument. Instead, turn the exchange into a discussion about how to resolve the problem. This way you’re still in a position to get paid and you’ll waste less time guessing how to put things right.

So next time you get a complaint, don’t take it personally. Instead, listen and then thank that customer for helping you improve the way you do business.

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing,

doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Ceiling Cleaning, Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Hard Surface/Tile Restoration, Rapid Disinfecting and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

Dirty Ceiling Diffusers Can Put Health and Business at Risk

Imagine, you’re sitting in a shopping mall food court, eating your lunch, when you look up and above your head is a ceiling caked with a layer of black dirt and dust. Not very appetizing, is it? It’s also not good for your health as that ceiling could indicate air quality issues in that building.

These are the very reasons why we were recently called in to clean the ceilings in a shopping mall food court. The dirt coming from the diffusers was an on-going challenge to the property management company, knowing it was unsightly and unhealthy for their customers and staff.

Dirt coming from ceiling diffusers is often less about dirty ducts in an HVAC system and more about poor air quality in that room.

Investigations have shown that “smudging,” as we call the deposition of dirt particles on the air outlet and surrounding surfaces, is more likely to be generated from room activity that releases dirt into the room air rather than from dirty supply air. This dirt suspended in room air, called an “atmospheric aerosol,” can then be entrained (drawn) into the discharge of the diffuser. (Hart & Cooley’s Tech Talk August 2006)

Dirt particles can be composed of both natural and man-made materials such as dust, smoke, greasy fumes, lint and pollen. Areas with heavy foot traffic will stir up these fine particles and keep them in suspension contributing to the smudging appearing on the ceiling.

An indoor environment report by Cochrane Ventilation Inc. states, “If the air in the ductwork is clean and the air in the room is dirty, when air in the ductwork exits the diffuser and enters the room it displaces air already in the room. Clean, ducted air coming out of the HVAC system through a vent sets the already dirty room air in motion, forcing it to impact nearby surfaces, such as walls and ceilings.”

If you are challenged with dirty ceilings in your building, your first step will be finding the root cause of the ceiling smudging and how to address it. Enlist the help of an HVAC expert to examine your system as well as your diffusers.

The key to keeping a ceiling clean is to avoid induction of room air on the ceiling next to the supply diffuser. Various diffusers have much more dirt or more pronounced black areas around them than others. The design of the diffuser and the path of induction of the room air to the diffuser are critical. (The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS – Dec. 3, 2012)

Like our friends at the shopping mall, you will also want to have the unsightly dirt cleaned from the ceiling surface. Look for a qualified ceiling cleaning company that has the knowledge and experience to do this specialized work. Maintaining a clean ceiling will give your business a clean, professional look while ensuring your staff and customers feel good about being there.

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Ceiling Cleaning, Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Hard Surface/Tile Restoration and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

Avoiding Germs in Schools and Offices

Anyone with kids in school knows. Anyone working in an office knows. When cold and flu season  hits, kids and office workers are at high risk of bringing these illnesses home. Every day, there is a large gathering of people in schools and offices and some of those people will be sick. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure those buildings stay relatively free of germs and building occupants stay healthy.

Educating Customers for Success

We recently started a new contract in an office building with a wide variety of tenants. Already having experience in these type of buildings, we know what’s coming . . . a whole bunch of people with different opinions and thoughts on how their offices should be cleaned.

Ceiling Cleaning Service Growing Internationally

Ceiling Cleaning and Restoration is a valuable service that is taking over the world! OK, maybe not “taking over”, but certainly “making over”.  We spend most of our lives under ceilings and this area of a building often gets neglected. Ceilings trap odors, dust, grease, and other pollutants, looking worse over time and becoming a health issue.

The cleaning process disinfects and deodorizes ceilings, extending the life of the ceiling system and brightening the space. And at 80% less cost than replacement, ceiling cleaning should always be a part of a comprehensive green cleaning program.

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