In the BSC world, a debate rages (ok, perhaps that’s a bit strong) as to whether or not field managers and supervisors should be the primary point of contact for customers. Should these managers be responsible for the employees and cleaning only or should they also be responsible for client relations? There are some serious concerns that many have about a janitorial manager handling both. Can I find someone with the skillset to do both? Can a person handle customer relations during the day and cleaning at night?
If a company is going to scale up, I am convinced that we must convert our field management team to handling both supervision and customer relations. Here are three reasons.
Reason #1 – Scalability
As a cleaning operation grows, a company must find an operational model that can scale with the growth. Processes that are in place now should be able to handle a business 50% or 100% larger than your current size. Additionally, simplicity makes scalability easier. So the simpler your management model, the easier it is to grow and handle that growth. If every new customer required two managers (one for supervision and one for client relations), then your operation is complicated and makes growth more difficult to handle. Remember, simplicity is key!
Reason #2 – Cost Control
If every account requires two managers to run the job (one for supervision and one for client relations), you are likely increasing the overhead necessary to run your cleaning business. At my company, we switched from a “two manager model” to a “single manager model” and saved approximately $30k/yr at one of our branches. When you create savings like these, you can then afford to pay higher wages or offer better incentives, a true win-win.
Reason #3 – Ownership
The final, and perhaps most important reason for switching to a single manager model is that it creates an ownership mentality among your management team. When we had supervisors who were only responsible for the evening cleaning work, but not the customer relations, the supervisors were focused primary on getting the accounts staffed and cleaned. There was no real awareness of what the customer wanted because they never interacted with the customer. Therefore, they never really “owned” the account in a holistic sense. But once managers started meeting with clients and learned their expectations, it began to shape how they supervised the evening cleaning work. This helped with quality and customer retention.
So my challenge to you is this: assess your current operational model and ask yourself the following questions.
- Is my operation scalable with my current management structure?
- Is my management structure cost effective?
- Does my current management model create an ownership mentality among my supervisory team?