The Power Of Perception In The Cleaning Business

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by Tom Watson on August 6, 2010

Lets start off by getting our heads around the term “perception”.

What does the word mean? Perception is defined as the following:

“The representation of what is perceived”

You may be wondering how “perception” affects you in the cleaning business. If your not you should be. The power of perception is a great unspoken component of what you do when you arrive at the customer’s home or business.

This power goes unnoticed for many who start their own business. That is unfortunate because the power of perception plays a large role in your success or failure.

Master the power of perception and customers will love you. They will become referral machines for you. They will give you testimonials. They will pay more for your services than anyone else. Your reputation will become legendary.

Now the flip side.

Failure to grasp the power of perception and the total opposite will happen. Customers will question your abilities. They will tell their friends and peers who NOT to do business with. You will make less than the average company and your reputation will be legendary, just not in a good way.

Now you must be wondering just how do I become a master of this “power of perception”. Well, the good news is that it is not all that hard to master. The bad news, if you want to call it that, is you must be disciplined in the use of it. You can not make use of it one day and discard it the next.

It needs to be a “way of doing business”.  

The power of perception starts the millisecond you come into visual contact with the customer. What do they see? This is the key piece of the whole concept. You need to look at your company through the eyes of the customer. You need to control what is seen and make use of it to your advantage.

When you don’t bother to pay attention to the details, negative impressions will soon add up. They convince the customer that your company is not a class act, not worthy of a referral, not worth the top notch pay you’re charging and your reputation will suffer.

The following list is what your customer should never see:

  • Dirty vehicles.
  • Employees that are smoking.
  • Your employees on the cellphone.
  • Raised voices from one crew member to another.
  • Eating or drinking on-site.
  • Sitting down and relaxing.
  • Dirty mops being brought into the building.
  • Dirty and disorganized bins to transport cleaning supplies.
  • Vacuums that are dirty.
  • Vacuums that never have the bags changed (customers do check!).
  • Poorly cared for crew members (un-kept and unclean).
  • Poor attitudes.
  • Sour faces.
  • Disorganized janitor closets.
  • Lack of proper solutions (you can’t clean with just glass cleaner and a rag).
  • Staff rushing through at hyper speed to get done.
  • Reading magazines that the customer has laying around.
  • Cleaning the sink with the same rag that cleaned the toilet (many people make this horrible mistake).

You may think the customer doesn’t notice all those little details, but you would be wrong. They notice all the time. People are perceptive by nature. They are also cautious when others are in their facility and tend to “quietly” keep their eye on you and your staff at all times. This is why you need to pay attention to the details and always act professional and appropriately.

Now if you think you are safe because you clean when the building is empty? Think again. I have had customers tell me many times that they review video recordings routinely. I have even had customers discuss my particular routine when I’m checking on my staff in their facility.

Not many things will freak you out more than a customer who brings up what you were your doing in their facility a week after you were already there. In my particular case they were investigating something unrelated to the cleaning, but you can see how easy it is to get caught making a negative impression even when you think you are alone with no one watching.

Fortunately for me and my staff we were doing all the right things! This made for a incredibly positive impression. Nothing speaks to your professionalism more than doing the right things even when no one is looking. This will strengthen the customer relationship immensely.

The power of perception is real.

And so is the choice you now have. Pay attention to every last detail of what the customer sees when you perform your cleaning. Be the director of a well choreographed play that makes a positive impression on each facet of the cleaning process. When you get this part right, the sky is the limit.

Remember, the customer is always watching you.

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