The Invisible Work of the Commercial Janitorial & Facility Maintenance Industry

Invisible Janitorial Worker_150Jonas Salk once said, “The reward for good work is the opportunity to do more.” This is particularly true for the commercial janitorial and facility services industry where good work often goes unnoticed.

There is a certain invisible factor to janitorial and maintenance teams. These workers are often scheduled for second or third shift to clean the building during off hours. Their efforts go well beyond keeping your facility pristine – they also keep occupants healthy, help to reduce accidents and are often the first to encounter and often address a facility or safety issue.

Recent research shows contract cleaning is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. The better job your commercial janitorial partner is doing, the less you will notice their efforts and the more likely you are to continue with their services. However, if the job doesn’t meet expectations, there is an immediate negative impact to the contract relationship.

According to market researcher Brandon Gaille, “The average cleaning company loses up to 55 percent of its customer base every year because of a lack of service quality or simple non-performance.” When budgets are reduced, janitorial and maintenance are often the first contracts to be cut, either with an in-house or lower-priced provider. However, there is a science to providing a clean, healthy and safe working environment. The quality of work performed is never invisible (even if the workers sometimes are).

 

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World Class Customer Service Isn’t a Myth

Customer Service MythWorld class customer service isn’t a myth, and it doesn’t happen by accident. World class customer service takes intentional thought, consistent reinforcement and constant communication. Aristotle once said, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” It’s easy to say you want excellent customer service, but it takes work to make the myth into reality. Here are three ways to instill exceptional customer service at the forefront of your company culture.

1. Attitude follows leadership. If you lead, the culture will follow. As always, actions of leadership speak louder than words (or policies). If you want exceptional customer service in your organization, it must be modeled first by leadership. Then you need to positively recognize and reinforce team members who are demonstrating their commitment to customer service. “Make it clear that you’re interested in hearing about – and emulating – great customer service practices no matter where those practices originated.” (Solomon, Michah. “13 Ways Leadership Can Lead Employees To Provide World-Class Customer Service”. Forbes, 9 Jun 2016)

2. Don’t wait for the sound of silence. Just because you don’t hear about a problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It just means you don’t have the information you need to proactively address the situation. If you passively wait for a customer or a team member to approach you, by the time you hear about the problem it may be too late to address. The same is true if you aren’t regularly and actively communicating with your team and your customers. “96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.” (“Are You Undervaluing Customer Service?” 1Financial Training Services)

3. Go beyond the page. Customer service training is about more than developing policies, manuals or a one-time orientation training. Exceptional customer service training requires an ongoing and relentless commitment to listen to your team and to ensure that they are empowered to make decisions. In the facilities maintenance industry, it is critical that your frontline team members can act as needed. They often will be the first to notice potential security or safety issues, to interact with visitors and to be knowledgeable about potential process improvement opportunities. “The best managers get outstanding performance from ordinary human beings.” (Kasanoff, Bruce. “The best managers get outstanding performance from ordinary human beings.” Forbes, 24 Mar. 16)

Excellence is never an accident. To have world class customer service, you need intentional commitment and communication. With more than 100 years of collective management experience, our people, our passion and our performance have helped us build the excellent customer service for which we are proud to be known.

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Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Janitorial Services

Outsourcing Janitorial Pros and ConsOutsourcing commercial janitorial services has become increasingly common for large facilities who are looking to improve professionalism and add value, while reducing labor budgets. While weighing how to increase operational efficiencies, keep within budgets and utilize fewer resources, many facility managers are turning to the opportunity of contracting a janitorial workforce as a viable cost-cutting solution. Outsourcing options can include individual or total facility services – janitorial, day/night porters, maintenance and management. Whether an organization chooses to stay with in-house janitorial, outsource or a hybrid of both options, there are pros and cons to deciding which solution best fits the culture of the organization and adds to the bottom line.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Janitorial

One of the primary considerations for outsourcing janitorial services is both immediate and long-term cost savings. A highly-trained, skilled commercial janitorial team can often clean a facility better and more efficiently than what is typically a smaller, in-house team. As part of the outsourcing, cleaning supplies, equipment and consumable goods, like paper towels and hand soap, result in immediate cost savings. An organization also benefits from not having to pay out recruiting costs, background checks, training, benefits (such as health insurance, pension, payroll expenses) and worker’s comp expenses, which are all absorbed by the outsourced commercial janitorial partner.

Another advantage to outsourcing janitorial labor is the flexibility and peace of mind that agreed upon staffing levels and schedules will be seamlessly maintained. If an in-house janitorial team member takes time off, the management may not have an adequately skilled and trained labor pool with which to cover the shift.

Quality control is considered both a pro and con for outsourcing janitorial services. The right commercial janitorial partner will provide highly trained team members, with state-of-the-art equipment and rigorous quality control measures, which is directly managed by the vendor. Facility managers who maintain janitorial services in-house have direct supervision and control to intervene over their staff if services are less than satisfactory, without having to rely on an outside company to address unsatisfactory (and possibly unsafe) issues. If the contracted janitorial company is not well managed, there can be a negative impact and loss of quality. This lack of control is often perceived as one of the biggest disadvantages against outsourcing janitorial services.

While there are many advantages for outsourcing janitorial services, there is a stigma attached to the word “outsourcing”. People associate outsourcing with people losing their jobs and lower quality service. There can be a negative morale impact that results from layoffs as part of a transition to outsourcing janitorial services.

While there are significant advantages to outsourcing janitorial services, ultimately the right solution comes with having the right team in place – in-house, outsourced, or a combination of the two.

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5 Ways the Internet of Things (IoT) is Transforming the Janitorial Industry

Internet of Things Janitorial IndustryThe Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the world around us – even the janitorial industry.

But, first, what is the IoT? Every day “smart” Internet-connected devices are being used to extract data and help analyze insights about the world around us. These connected “things” include sensors in nearly everything, including cellphones, coffee makers, wearable devices, large manufacturing machinery, self-driving cars and more. By 2020, Gartner estimates that there will be over 20 billion “connected things” worldwide.

More and more companies are finding creative ways to use the power of IoT to enhance productivity, reduce supply costs and increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. The janitorial industry is no exception.

Here are 5 ways the IoT is transforming the janitorial industry.

1. Predictive Maintenance

Traditionally, preventative maintenance is scheduled at regular, set time intervals. Using data collected from IoT sensors, problems can be diagnosed and transmitted in real-time to predict and enable on-demand maintenance. This predictive (or condition-based) maintenance holds great potential to decrease both down-time as well as maintenance expenses. From cleaning equipment, to a fleet of vehicles, to HVAC units, IoT connected sensors can track any deviation and the data can help to predict needed maintenance before failure.

2. Addressing Problems in Real-Time

Many people are well-familiar with how Internet-connected thermostats, lights, window blinds and security systems are being utilized in commercial buildings to help buildings be more energy efficient and to maintain comfort and safety for building occupants. These devices also help monitor occupancy usage and trends, remotely and easily intervene with necessary adjustments and provide greater peace of mind.

3. Keeping Tabs on Supplies

Connected, motion-controlled soap dispensers and next generation paper towel dispensers can send usage data wirelessly to a cloud-based platform. This data can be used to track and monitor when restrooms are having unusually high visitation – and might be in need of attention – as well as to send alerts for cleaning dispensers and re-stocking supplies in a more timely manner.

4. Virtual Restroom Monitor

Sensors in restroom equipment can help increase efficiency and customer satisfaction. Trash cans with lid sensors can sent janitors alerts on their phones so they can plan their routes to prioritize restrooms most in need of attention. Some restrooms even have sensors in the floors than can trigger alerts for leaks and flooding.

5. Self-cleaning Robots

Next generation vacuums and robotic floor scrubbers can use smart technology to clean floor surfaces on their own. Using GPS tracking and sensors, these “smart” cleaners can provide valuable data about location, work performed, usage time and duration, any maintenance issues and more.

If knowledge is power, then IoT-connected devices are making the janitorial industry smarter, cleaner and more sustainable.

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The Human Factor in Customer Service Training

Janitorial Customer Service TrainingNo matter what your industry, customer service plays a key role in how you define (and hopefully exceed) the expectations of your customers, vendors and employees. When it comes to the janitorial and building services industry, the human interaction factor is often overlooked when it comes to the roles these team members play in your customer service experience. With more than 100 years of collective management experience, here are three rules that we have identified as being key to successfully delivering exceptional customer service in the building maintenance industry.

1. Creating meaningful interactions between your employees, customers and vendors needs to be a priority at every level. In today’s digital age, we can easily become dependent upon emails, texts and automated reports. However, according to a recent study be Accenture, eighty-three percent of consumers prefer human interaction over using digital channels to solve customer services issues. Human and personal contact experiences, not just points of interaction, need to be part of a customer service strategy that should be modeled at every level. In other words, we need to communication like a human in a friendly, professional tone.

2. Whether you are training them in this role or not, janitorial and building maintenance team members are already customer service ambassadors. Beyond maintaining a spotless facility, these team members are among the first to encounter building questions or concerns, among the first to notice potential security and safety issues, as well as among the first to make an impression upon visitors. Your team members should be trained to be able to give basic building information and directions, follow dress code requirements, and to be professional and courteous in all interactions.

3. You don’t know what you don’t know. 80% of companies claim their customer service ranks “superior”, but in reality, only 8% of their customers agree, according to the Harvard Business Journal. It’s important to foster an environment that encourages accountability and feedback from all team members, clients and vendors. Be establishing regular communication channels, team members can report what’s working, or what’s not, and what might be improved. If something isn’t working or working as efficiently as it could, the team members need to be assured that it will be dealt with in an expedient manner. Regular, open communication will improve processes and skills and, more importantly, will help you solve little problems before they become big problems.

We passionately believe that it is our team, at every level of the company, who helps us build strong and lasting relationships with our clients because of our company-wide commitment to customer service. Role modeling enhances the training we give our team. Professionalism and courtesy is emphasized, and our team acts accordingly. Individually, we’re proud to employ a family of the most dedicated and hard-working people in the industry. Our people, our passion, our performance – we proudly recognize that our team members are the heart and soul of our business.

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Benefits of Commercial Pressure Washing for Parking Garages

Parking Garage Pressure WashingA parking garage is often the first and last impression of your facility. Today’s commercial pressure washing will remove the grease and grime to help make your exterior parking garages, parking lots, sidewalks and entryways as inviting as your interior.

However, benefits of commercial pressure washing go well beyond enhanced guest experience. Oil, coolant and other spills can cause slippery, unsafe walking surfaces – not to mention the amount of extra dirt and oils visitors will track into your facility.

Today’s commercial pressure washing techniques offer many environmentally safe, Green cleaning solutions, as well as recovery of waste water and other discharge. Federal and many state regulations prohibit discharge of wastewater pollutants into storm drains and other surface run off, so it’s important to have a trained professional that can service parking structures even if you don’t have drainage.

Finally, commercial pressure washing will not only make your structures look cleaner and be safer, it can save you time and expenses by preserving the life of painted lines, which can be costly to re-paint.

Posted in Customer Experience, Green, Janitorial, Safety

Norovirus – Disinfecting Alone is not Enough

Norovirus DisinfectionThe colder, winter months are peak season for influenza and norovirus, which is often mistaken for the stomach flu, leading to vicious bouts of cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The CDC estimates that each year norovirus causes 19 to 21 million illnesses, 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths.

So, what does this mean for your business? The average worker is sick 7.7 days a year, which costs employers $225.8 billion annually in the U.S, or $1,685 per employee, according to the CDC. In a clean facility, employee absenteeism is reduced by 46%, according to ISSA.

sick-employees-cost-money-issa

Source: ISSA Value of Clean

Norovirus presents a particular challenge to janitorial and building maintenance staff. A person can become infected with as little as 18-1,300 microscopic viral particles. During bouts of violent vomiting episodes, for which norovirus is known, researchers have shown roughly one million particles are released into the air contaminating anything with which the particles come in contact.

While there is not a vaccine for the norovirus, there are a few simple cleaning steps to protect yourself and others from spreading the virus.

#1 rule – wash your hands. Most people don’t wash their hands correctly. It takes about 30 seconds of vigorous rubbing using hot water and soap to wash away clinging particles of the virus. Wash under nails, too.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer does not kill norovirus, it is resistant to most disinfectants.

That’s why ESCFederal recommends a 3-step cleaning process to clean, disinfect and sanitize surfaces.

Sanitizing a surface will reduce 99.9% of bacteria on inanimate surfaces but will not remove viruses or fungi. Disinfecting destroys bacteria and germs, but it is not designed to lift dirt off a surface. As part of the 3-step process, we recommend to clean first, then sanitize and then apply disinfectant to kill the bacteria. Usually, a disinfectant product needs to sit for at least 5-10 minutes, wet, on a surface, giving it time to kill germs.

The norovirus can survive on surfaces for weeks at a time, providing ample opportunity for the spread of infection between employees, so it is important to use products that are EPA-registered to kill germs of most concern.

The value of cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing will keep building occupants healthy, productive and reduce absenteeism costs all year long.

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Ready to Start Your Management Career?

Join the ESCFederal TeamAre you ready to start your career with the ESCFederal team?

We’re looking for motivated, quality-driven individuals at all levels to join our team.

ESCFederal is national, fully-integrated building services provider. We believe that our people are our most important assets and are the reason we have the highest customer retention rates in the industry. Our people and our company take pride in delivering world-class building operations, facility maintenance and janitorial services.

We provide careers, not just jobs

We offer competitive pay and benefits that meets or exceeds the industry standards. Our people, our passion and our performance are the core values of our company. We treat each of our employees as an extension of our family and work hard to ensure your success!

Are you ready to start your career?

In addition to the below opportunities we are ALWAYS on the lookout for talented Project Managers and Regional Operations Managers across the country!

We are currently looking for:

  • Regional Operations Manager – Houston, TX
  • Regional Operations Manager – Denver, CO
  • Project Manager – Dallas, TX
  • Project Manager – Atlantic City, NJ
  • Bi-Lingual (Spanish) HR Assistant – West Chester, PA

Regional Operations Managers are expected to be an ESCFederal representative embracing the mission, vision, corporate culture and values of our company. They are key in communicating our story throughout the organization and marketplace. Regional Operations Managers guide and direct the activities of Project Managers assigned to each specific location throughout their region and are responsible and accountable for the operations of their region. Travel will be required.

For more information about joining our team, please contact us via email or telephone at 1-800-610-2210.

 

Posted in Career

We’re Growing! Ready to Join Our Team?

escfederal_job_opportunity_180Have you heard? ESCFederal is hiring!

We are a fully integrated building services provider known for the highest customer retention levels in the industry. Quality is not just a catch-phrase at ESCFederal, it’s in our company DNA. We’re looking for motivated, quality-driven individuals at all levels to join our team.

We are a national, privately-held, leading employer and provider of janitorial, and maintenance services. We deliver world-class building operations, facility maintenance and janitorial services by providing clients with state of the art equipment and expertly trained highly motivated employees!

We believe that people are our most important assets.

To best serve our customers, we must first invest in the best training in the industry for all our team members; to provide careers, not just jobs. Our internal training and safety programs teach the skills needed to provide the level of performance our customers expect while establishing a strong foundation for advancement and success at ESCFederal.

Why join our team?

We offer competitive pay and benefits that meets or exceeds the industry standards. Our people, our passion and our performance are the core values of our company. We treat each of our employees as an extension of our family and work hard to ensure your success!

Ready to start your career with ESCFederal?

We are ALWAYS on the lookout for talented Project Managers and Regional Operations Managers across the country!

Currently, we have a number of career opportunities including the following:

We are currently looking for a Facilities Manager. The ideal candidate will be trained in and possess a working knowledge of electrical, mechanical, HVAC and Plumbing systems. The ideal candidate can troubleshoot, to the component level, air handlers, lighting and lighting controls, irrigation systems, hydraulic actuators, pumps and pump controls.

We are currently looking for Regional Operations Managers in CO and TX. We are looking for Project Managers in TX, CA, TN, MN, CT, GA and FL. Regional Operations Managers are expected to be an ESCFederal representative embracing the mission, vision, corporate culture and values of our company. They are key in communicating our story throughout the organization and marketplace. Regional Operations Managers guide and direct the activities of Project Managers assigned to each specific location throughout their region and are responsible and accountable for the operations of their region. Travel, on occasion, will be required.

For more information about joining our team, please contact us via email or telephone at 1-800-610-2210.

 

Posted in Career

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Facility Managers

new-years-resolutions-for-facility-managers_180_110Here are a three New Year’s tips to help your facilities look their best, streamline your budget and improve your operational health.

1. Take a Walk
Inspection checklists and quality assurance reports are critical tools to prevent injuries, record hazards for corrective action and keep your facilities looking their best. However, there comes a time when you need to put down your phone, leave your desk and walk the facility yourself. There is no substitute for regularly conducting site inspections to maintain quality control.

2. An Ounce of Prevention
The great thing about preventative maintenance is that it is performed while the equipment is still working, helping prevent unexpected (and costly) breakdowns. We all know that we should be adhering to preventative maintenance schedules, but all too often it falls to the bottom of our priority lists in the hustle and bustle of daily activities. Make preventative maintenance one of your New Year’s resolutions. As a result of an effective preventative maintenance program, you can improve operational efficiency and save yourself from unanticipated and costly repairs. Preventative maintenance can save you 33-50% in equipment maintenance expenses!

3. Go Green
Being environmentally responsible not only protects employees, tenants and customers, it can also add up to long-term cost-savings. The janitorial services industry has made huge strides to reduce the impact on the environment on a daily basis. This implementation and promotion of more environmentally-friendly chemicals, energy-efficient equipment, water reduction, chemical-free products, recycled paper, reduction of pollutants and microfiber all aid in support of environmental initiatives. Plus, tenants are increasingly demanding owners conform to high performance green cleaning standards and LEED Certification. LEED Certification demonstrates an owner’s commitment to using resources widely and creating occupied spaces that are healthy and sustainable.

Posted in Customer Experience, Green, Janitorial, Safety, Sustainability