Jan-Hein Hemke, Managing Director of Facilicom UK, says that great cleaning is no longer enough to just keep leisure and hospitality facilities clean and safe: to be successful, commercial cleaners must offer added value and positive customer experiences.
Cinemas, sports halls, gyms, hotels, restaurants – in fact, any facility in the leisure and hospitality sector relies on providing positive customer experiences. After all, these are spaces to hang out with family and friends, somewhere to cool off after work and ultimately, a place to unwind, relax and disconnect from the outside world.
Therefore, it goes without saying that thorough and regular cleaning is necessary. Not only does a high level of cleanliness and hygiene keep customers safe, but it can also determine how successful your business is. A poor experience can influence a customer’s decision not to return, not to recommend or to post a negative review on social media.
Leisure and hospitality facilities need to give careful consideration when choosing or changing their commercial cleaning provider, perhaps more so than in other industries. In this particular sector, cleaning operatives are often ‘front of house’ and at work within the vicinity and sight of your customers, rather than unseen and invisible outside of business hours.
This is no bad thing, as it reinforces the message that you take cleanliness, health and hygiene seriously and that the correct procedures and methods are being followed.
However, as well as providing an excellent cleaning service, this also provides a huge opportunity to add value to the client, and to help enhance their customers’ experiences. From the customer’s perspective, everyone who works in a leisure or hospitality facility is part of the same team and should be approachable and knowledgeable about the place they work.
It therefore makes perfect makes sense to embed customer service skills across the entire workforce – from management level through to cleaning operatives. Being situated on the frontline, where the customers are, means that cleaning operatives are well-placed to act as customer service agents, assisting and engaging directly with the clientele.
At Facilicom, we call this Hostmanship, or in other words, ‘the art of making people feel welcome’. We provide every colleague the chance to take part in a Hostmanship training programme, helping to hone their communications and customer service skills so they can become a more visible and valued part of the workforce – and with that, a desire to go above and beyond.
Hostmanship is not designed to place additional pressures on, or increase the workload of cleaning operatives, but rather broaden their perspective beyond their immediate task list and alter their perception of the job they do. It helps them to see the ‘bigger picture’ and introduces a friendly and caring approach to their work.
It also instils people skills, giving operatives the confidence to communicate with colleagues and customers. For instance, they can provide help with directions to washrooms or hotel rooms; or, if they notice something broken around the facility, they will report it to someone – even if it’s outside of their normal remit.
We recognise that sometimes, it’s the smallest changes that can make the biggest impact on customers. In the world of leisure, hospitality and entertainment, a customer’s positive impression of your facility is essential, enhancing the reputation of your brand and business.
Together, excellent cleaning services and the added bonus of Hostmanship can help build these positive experiences, and ultimately influence a customer’s decision to return and recommend.
Source: Tomorrow's Cleaning, August 2018