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FEATURE


TIME TO TALK


Carl Robinson, Marketing Manager for cleaning and FM specialist, Nviro, details the importance of a healthy relationship and open dialogue between clients and suppliers and outlines the positive impact this can have on service delivery.


Any relationship, be it between family, friends or business, relies on good communication. The relationship between a contractor and their client in any industry is no different from this; forming the very backbone on which the service is delivered. And a lack of engagement will, in most cases, lead to a poor delivery.


TAILORING YOUR SERVICE During tendering for a contract, a


supplier should analyse the building, whether this be an office, retail store or industrial plant and inspect every aspect of the space, such as frequency of use, footfall, health and safety requirements, customer perceptions and accessibility. It’s a well known fact that one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to cleaning contracts, and services need to be tailored to individual clients. However, are suppliers taking these points into consideration during the contract itself? Cleaning providers should constantly be taking the physical environment in which they work into consideration, examining how this may be changing both in appearance and usage over time and how this may affect the cleaning regime currently in place.


Without regular efficiency reviews during the lifecycle of a contract, money and physical working hours can potentially be wasted. It’s


42 | TOMORROW’S FM


about maintaining the right balance between an area being clean, meeting the right legislation and matching the client’s preferences. The spec might require an area to be cleaned three times a week, however, if it only realistically needs to be cleaned once a week to achieve the same results and hygiene standards, then the client needs to be made aware of this. No supplier wants to do itself out of business, but you have to be honest and, if the opportunity arises where you can make efficiency savings, then they should be achieved.


HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY Making yourself accountable for


mistakes is a very important trait for any contractor to have. When things don’t go to plan or an issue is affecting the way a contract is being carried out, the last thing a client wants is for it to be brushed under the carpet. However costly the error, a client is going to be far happier to see a contractor hold its hands up to an issue. The point is that the contractor can dust itself off and right their wrongs by opening up an honest and transparent dialogue with the client. As well as this being the right thing to do in the situation, it also makes perfect business sense.If the customer trusts you then you are more likely to retain that business.


Just like any good relationship, both parties are as important as each other and the weight of the partnership shouldn’t fall heavily onto just one shoulder. In many cases, the supplier can often be blamed for a poor service delivery, however, if the client doesn’t take the time to clearly outline targets and objectives, then how can they expect the desired service to be carried out successfully?


The client also needs to offer its supplier some flexibility to allow room for innovation. Flexibility may, on the surface, seem like a cost driving issue, but new ways of introducing innovation and allowing for fresh approaches to good practice can drive costs down in the long run. At present, everyone seems to be hunting for the quick fix, trying to implement cost saving initiatives that work from day one, with no consideration for the long term. Clients need to be more patient when searching for efficient ways to save on costs, and it’s this notion of an open dialogue that will allow for greater opportunities to implement changes that may appear to drive up cost, but in the long run will see a contract’s costs drop.


www.nviro.co.uk


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