No matter how well you manage your business, the reality is that from time to time, your cleaners will run into issues on site:

The board room door was locked so they weren’t able to clean inside…

The vacuum broke midway through their shift so there are crumbs on the floor…

One location took a lot longer to clean than usual so they weren’t able to finish all their tasks at another before the end of their shift…

While it’s completely normal to have issues come up that you can’t plan for, having those issues communicated from your cleaners to your management team can mean the difference between long-term, happy clients and unexpected cancellations.

Here are 5 signs your cleaners know more about what’s going on at your clients’ locations than you do.

1. You Breathe a Sigh of Relief Every Day at 11am

Maybe it’s not quite 11am for you. Maybe it’s earlier, maybe it’s later. But if there’s a certain time each morning when you breathe a sigh of relief because you know no one else will call with a complaint, you may want to change up your morning routine.


Instead of waiting to hear from clients that something went wrong the night before, create a system for cleaners to report problems to you during or at the end of their shifts so that when you wake up in the morning you have all the information you need to reach out to clients proactively.

Calling clients about issues before they call you shows them that the quality of service they receive is your top priority, and reassures them that when something goes wrong you are ready and willing to make it right.

Related Article: The Truth About Why Your Janitorial Business Is Losing Customers

2. You’ve Lost (What Seemed To Be) A Happy Customer

There’s a scary stat that sums this one up quite nicely:

96% of unhappy customers don’t complain. (1st Financial Training Services)

Scarier still is the fact that a customer who is dissatisfied will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience (according to Trackur.)

If you’ve ever lost a customer unexpectedly, especially if it was due to issues you could have fixed had you known about them, you know how frustrating it is to not hear about them until it’s too late.

By encouraging your cleaners to report problems, you’ll always know which of your clients are satisfied and which ones need a little extra TLC.

3. you talk to cleaners outside of their work hours (or yours)

If you often find yourself calling or texting cleaners in the middle of the day (when they are supposed to be sleeping!) for more information around what happened the night before, you need a better system for problem reporting.

On the other hand, cleaners calling you in the middle of the night with questions or issues can get annoying. Rather than discourage them from contacting you, we recommend using cleaning instructions to help answer some of the questions they might have. We wrote a whole blog post on it here.

When it comes to reporting issues, be sure to communicate to them what is considered “urgent” (ie. worth waking you up over,) and how to report issues that can wait till morning.

4. Your Cleaners Don’t Want to “Bother” You

If you’ve ever had a cleaner say they didn’t tell you about an issue because they didn’t want to bother you — or you’ve actually told a cleaner not to bother you —  you’re definitely missing out on some key information.

When training cleaners be sure to emphasize how important it is for them to tell you when something goes wrong during a shift. Not only will you and your clients benefit from this, but your cleaners will feel more supported and valued at work.

5. Your Logbook Lives In A Drawer

Maybe you do have a system for reporting problems…

But, unfortunately, it lives in a desk…. on site…. collecting dust.

You obviously had good intentions, but chances are that logbook isn’t doing much good hidden away. Plus, in order for your management team to stay up to date it requires you to drive to each location and check the logbook. z

We recommend creating a web-based system for problem reporting so that it can be accessed from anywhere.

what all this means for your business

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of the above, don’t beat yourself up.

Poor communication is a common problem in industries like janitorial where staff primarily work remotely and independent of their managers.

In fact, there’s a whole theory around it that dates back to the 1960’s known as the iceberg of ignorance:

The theory states that if you’re the person in charge of running the business, you are aware of less than 5% of the problems your team is experiencing.

For more information on how to improve communication in your janitorial business check out How to Use Your Cleaners’ Phones to Improve Communication (Without Sacrificing Productivity).


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