What does the future hold for the cleaning industry? New products? New services? All innovations should ultimately be driven by an end customer (meaning the public) need, but what do they really want?
In a recent survey*, members of the public located across the United Kingdom looked at public perceptions of cleaning and the cleaning industry.
The good news
100% of people think that cleaning is essential and not only protects us from infections but gives us a sense of well-being. A clean workplace is happier, more productive, and gives a better impression to visitors and clients. This fundamental importance of a cleaned environment is often forgotten and not regularly recognised. Suggestion: Regularly remind staff and clients/visitors that cleaning is important and celebrate success.
The public have a view on innovation, for example 78% of participants believe that “machinery is more effective than a mop”. This means that public perception is not only swayed by results (66% said that effectiveness is the single most important aspect when designing cleaning equipment or services) but also how those results are achieved. Suggestion: Keep colleagues and the public informed on your use of innovative solutions. For example, hold demonstrations for colleagues on the effectiveness of new machines or when seeking feedback start off by saying “These floors are cleaned by the latest cleaning machine technology, if you have suggestions for improvements please contact us”.
Image is important. 51% of those surveyed would prefer to see cleaners in branded uniforms. Although not completely decisive on dress, the “brand” of cleaning operations will be reflected in everything they do, particularly those in operation during normal business hours. Suggestion: Encourage staff members to feel proud of their work through positive feedback and educate how this is reflected in everything they do, including their appearance. This association with achievement can only serve to increase productivity and satisfaction.
Room for improvement
34% of the public never talked to a cleaner at work yet 72% said that cleaning makes them feel satisfied. This in our view is a bit disappointing. Increasingly cleaning staff overlap with the working hours of other functions and clients or visitors. A big majority of those surveyed reported that cleaning makes them feel good and presumably the better the cleaning the better they feel. The disconnection between these two statistics feels like an opportunity lost for positive re-enforcement to cleaning staff in particular. Suggestion: Encourage visitors and customers to give their feedback and directly where possible. Maybe notices when cleaning is in operation that request “Let me know if doing a good job” or “How was my cleaning today?” alongside safety notices could prompt more engagement.
All in all the signs are good. Cleaning is appreciated by end users and they have positive views on how this should be done. Embracing innovation is seen as progressive and worthwhile and identifying and engaging with end users, particularly to gather their feedback could be really positive. Capturing the feel-good-factor can bring encouraging results in terms of end user satisfaction and staff morale and retention.