Are “Communication Log Books” a good idea?

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by Tom Watson on March 23, 2014

Having open lines of communication between you and the customer is always a good idea. It allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the account in a sense.

One way to foster that communication is through the use of communication log books. These are really nothing more than a notebook of some kind that is kept at the job site where it’s easily accessible.

If we use one on a site it’s normally kept in the supplies closet. Keep in mind it can be left at anywhere you and the customer think it will work best. It could be on the managers desk or hanging on a clipboard somewhere. As long as everyone knows where it is!

Although communication log books are a good idea, I must admit that I don’t use them very often. I’ll go a step further and say I don’t promote the fact that I use them in any marketing info and I don’t bring it up with the customer when meeting them generally.

I was always afraid that these books would become filled with “extra work” that the customer wanted done, or to pick out tiny details that may or may not be covered under the general cleaning we are providing. In other words I didn’t want to go looking for more work.

I only really use them for two reasons. The first one is if the customer brings it up somehow, either before they become a customer or afterwards. In this case I agree and go out of my way to make it work. After all, we are there to serve them!

The second reason I’ll use them is when we are having issues keeping the account in satisfactory condition. Though this doesn’t happen too often, every once in a while you’ll run into an account that is a riddle you can’t solve for some reason.

When this happens my default solution is to try the communication log book and see if that will work. Admittedly I’ve had my success and failures over the years using them. Sometimes the book just fills up with more complaints while other times it slows them down to a trickle.

What I’m sharing is just my personal experiences. Maybe if I used them all the time from day one in my business I would have been better off, who knows! So I’ll wrap this up today by asking YOU a few questions. Your answers are invaluable, so don’t be shy.

QUESTIONS: Do you currently use a communication log book? What are your experiences using them? Do they help or hinder you in your attempt to be a better cleaning company? At the end of the day do you think they are a good idea for your business? Share your comments below and get the conversation started!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julius March 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Hey Tom. this a good experience you have just shared. But to some extent, i don’t use it and so far, no major issues with client and when it occurred, we both find way around it amicably. However, i rely do enjoying every of your posts and pod cast.

2 Tom Watson March 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Hi Julius! Thanks for sharing that (and I appreciate the kind words). Also… I agree that most of the time you can avoid using them. If they have an issue and you fix it promptly all should be fine.

3 Messias Carvalho March 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Hey Tom…..yes I agree that Log Books are a source for extra work and complaints.Sinve most people in an office dont know who the cleaners may be,or know their phone numbers,it just makes everyone take pot shots at the cleaners due to log books.If there are no logs around,most people just dont bother any how.I had one years ago,and they filled up with complaints and more work for bassically,…..just cuz it was there.The office suggestion box was collecting dust cuz no one used them,but knew where the log book was.So I got rid of it.Most offices dont care anyways,and as long as the cleaning is done properly,why raise attention.The less people focus on the cleaners,the better it is for everyone,and also why would anyone waste time on a trivial matter.Just saying

4 Tom Watson March 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hi Messias! I know EXACTLY how you feel. I’ve had similar experiences. It’s funny, they either work well or they act like a lightning rod for more issues. There seems to be no middle ground! My personal belief is an office full of “happy” individuals will not abuse it while an office full of “unhappy” people will do nothing but complain. That’s my theory.

5 Maria March 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Hi Tom,
Using a log book is a great idea for residential cleaning. Your customers were not there when you are doing your work. It is useful for feedbacks from them and to inform them of something that has to be fixed ( burnt light bulb, exposed electrical wirings, dent somewhere etc…).

6 Tom Watson March 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Hi Maria! Good point, you can use it the other way around in a sense (to inform them). That is a great way to provide VALUE to the customer.

7 Brandon April 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hi Mr. Watson,

I wanted to ask you a quick question. Is post construction cleaning a profitable sector to pursue, and who do I reach out to when pursuing this kind of work? Thanks

8 Tom Watson April 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Hi Brandon! The short answer is yes, very profitable. It can be a stressful job, as the timeline the builder has for completion is always PUSHED RIGHT TO THE LIMIT. This means many people running around trying to finish their jobs (like plumbers, painters etc…).

My opinion is that it’s a GREAT SECONDARY type income. I wouldn’t rely just on that, as the jobs come and go. You just stop in at construction sites and ask for who’s in charge and ask them have they hired a cleaning company yet. That’s all we ever did. Sometimes we got them from some management companies we worked for, but normally we just stopped in.

9 Brandon April 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Thanks for the reply!

10 Arlene June 1, 2014 at 5:35 am

Hi Tom,
I agree a communications log between provider and client is a great idea! This coming from personal experience. I actually eventually did away with the log book and tried emailing instead having an email address setup up strictly just for clients. I have found communicating by email to be a lot more useful and the clients love it as well. When you think about it majority of people today are on there device most of the time whether it be a smart phone, tablet, pc or laptop and everyone has an email and can recieve email notifications for new emails. Another newer thing my clients have started to do is send pictures with there email. Sometimes a client will want me to do food prep and will email to me an attachment of directions she may have downloaded from the internet. This system can actually be kind of fun sometimes especially if a client and I get to chating back and forth.
I hope this is a helpful tip to those who might be struggling with communication between clients.

11 Tom Watson June 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Hi Arlene! GREAT insight, thanks for sharing that. The whole smartphone revolution has changed how business is done in many ways.

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