Viewing posts from : July 2017



99 percent of retail customers are influenced by poor cleanliness. Retailers can use cleaning services strategically to enhance the customer experience and increase brand loyalty, whilst driving operational cost savings and efficiency, this from a well regarded industry white paper.

The thing about lack of cleanliness is that it sticks in the mind with a persistence that is difficult to budge, whereas poor customer service can be rectified in an instance by a behavioural change.

Fitting rooms, washrooms, payment areas and even the scent in the air can affect how people perceive a retail business. Since first impressions create customer loyalty, it is time to look at how effective your retail centre cleaning is. When one place is dirty, patrons may assume the rest of the location is as well, resulting in poor customer experiences.

The industry white paper reveals cleanliness affects the entire shopping process. People will always prefer a cleaner retail facility over a dirty one, but sometimes the level of cleanliness can have an affect they do not even realise. First impressions are developed the moment customers walk through the doors. An overall tidy retail centre can be the inviting element that gets the shopping process moving. Once first impressions are made outside of the retail outlets themselves, the quality of cleaning done will influence the likelihood of entry into stores and the time spent within.

So, the importance of the overall customer experience goes beyond good customer service. The study, carried out by market research firm Harris Interactive, found that 99 percent of consumers said poor cleanliness would negatively affect their perception of a retail environment with unclean washrooms and unpleasant odours rated higher than poor customer service.

One national retailer, achieved significant cost savings across its national estate through outsourcing its cleaning services. This customer-facing brand with over 250 stores, the importance of cleanliness and how this could impact on the whole customer experience. Choose trusted suppliers of services and janitorial supplies to deliver to a set standard.

According to a survey conducted by ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, 95 percent of shoppers reported that unclean restrooms and unpleasant odours would influence their shopping decisions along with, dirty floors, spills or stains, dirty shopping carts and other factors.

“Shoppers want to feel comfortable when visiting a retail environment and ensuring that the environment is clean and healthy is a crucial part.”, says Dan Wagner, ISSA’s Director of Facility Service Programs.

“The janitorial landscape has changed dramatically in the last five years. We are entering a new normal for cleaning standards in retail facilities management. Retail brands need to be aware of this under-budgeted area and ensure all retail areas are meeting brand standards”

So, the evidence from good research sources is clear. Cleanliness in a shopping environment can be more important than customer service in a shopper’s experience and ultimately willingness to buy and come back. The key to retail centre cleanliness, is through finding good partners both in services and janitorial supplies, who can demonstrate they share an understanding of the shoppers needs.
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We all have a responsibility to the planet and sustainability is increasingly an issue in all of our daily lives, both personally and professionally. Certain issues about eco friendly cleaning and eco cleaning products have become the popular understandings of cleaning sustainability and these issues, although probably once with some foundation, are no longer true and it’s time to consign them to history.

They cost more

Once a cleaning organisation starts to measure its true costs (through costs in use) and stops measuring by price alone then a reasoned debate can be held about the relative costs of various inputs such as cleaning chemicals. It is true that non eco cleaning products on average have slightly lower price points however the value story goes much deeper than that.

If we look at the situation holistically, eco cleaning products can provide a greater economic benefit than traditional chemical cleaners because they reduce labour costs and protect surfaces and buildings over time.

Chemical cleaning products are only effective during the few seconds of actual cleaning. Following cleaning, the surfaces start to become soiled again, requiring more frequent cleaning leading to higher labour costs and more chemical usage.

Eco cleaning products have beneficial bacteria that continue to breakdown soiling on the surface area after cleaning, leading to less frequent applications and all cleaned areas look cleaner for longer.

They don’t work as well

It has long been thought by many that eco friendly cleaning products are not as effective as traditional cleaning chemicals.

Let’s cut to the chase. Both eco friendly cleaning products and non eco friendly ones use chemicals that are effective. The difference is that non eco friendly cleaning products use manufactured chemicals that occur naturally in our environment whereas traditional cleaning chemicals are formulated in a lab. Most traditional cleaning chemical cocktails have formulated surfactants which helps to disperse dirt and grime. These surfactants however do not naturally break down and cause problems further down the line when they are washed away with waste water. The natural surfactants in eco friendly cleaning products degrade naturally once discarded. So cleaning efficacy is powerful and comparable with eco friendly products with the added sustainability advantages.

Eco friendly cleaning products are a great area of innovation and new ideas are being brought to market all the time such as foam spray heads on dispensers for exact dosing, reducing over use and cost.

They are not backed by research or standards

Eco friendly cleaning products are no longer a niche area for small altruistic start-up businesses. The big manufacturers have realised that there are large future markets for these products and are starting to invest heavily in research and development. This means that today’s eco friendly cleaning products are probably some of the most advanced cleaning agents available in terms of research investment.

Industry standards are progressing as well to take into account the whole lifecycle of the products including transport and packaging. This new standard “cradle to cradle” is what to look out for to guarantee real sustainable credentials.

In short, pre-conceived ideas need to be updated, eco friendly commercial cleaning can be cheaper with more advanced well researched products, delivering comparable cleaning performance and a sustainable future for us all.
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What is agile working?

Agile working is a way of working using a range of work protocols that allow commercial cleaning services teams and organisations to make broader choices about when, where and how they work. It leverages mobile connectivity and can be harnessed by people working both on site and away from the traditional office locations, such as people’s homes, on the road or remotely in other sites.

What are the benefits?

Improved cleaning team productivity

Cleaning services teams have been properly trained, are provided with the right equipment and commercial cleaning supplies and the appropriate work program for the task in hand.

Better team working and collaboration

Teams working in an agile way across multiple sites rather than a specific work area, means there is more dialogue and integration. This enables teams to build up mutually supportive collaborative relationships vertically within organisations, which increases information sharing, trust, better planning, feedback loops and innovation.

Improved business continuity

Often productive working time is lost because of logistical challenges, and infrastructure delays. Commercial cleaning services teams can be equipped to work anywhere allowing a more flexible way of working which is less dependent on location. This increases productive work time when challenges occur.

Staff benefits leading to higher staff retention and well being

When commercial cleaning services teams work in an agile way, staff are often happier as they work life balance can be improved and everyday stresses and strains such as commuting can be reduced. It is important that teams do not have total disconnection with their colleagues and so remote working is often complimented by regular meet ups.

Agile resource relocation

An agile mobile connected workforce can deliver their resource in a new location with far less cost when change is required as only people are moving rather than physical resources connected to a location such as desks and fixed technology.

Rapid cost management

As people costs are the largest component of cleaning services budgets, agile working regimes allow scaling of staff numbers to be more flexible, leading increased labour cost efficiency.

More efficient management of space

Buildings see better space utilisation, empowering staff to work away from the office. This reduces the need for building space. This ultimately leads to more people needing less space which can deliver opportunities of consolidation, asset realisation and cost saving.

The drivers of mobile connectivity, facilities management software, and a scare and changing labour market are prompting commercial cleaning services leaders to re-consider how they organise their cleaning operations. Agile working maybe something to consider however it requires a significant working practice and cultural change for most organisations.

For more guidance, the BIFM has published a new guide – Agile Working Change Management Guidance Note

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