Dianna Steinbach, Vice President of International Services, ISSA
As the cleaning industry continues into the COVID-19 stabilization phase of the pandemic, it is a good time to reflect upon where we stand in the eyes of the cleaning customer. We have seen a growing awareness of how cleaning can reduce risk, something industry professionals have been hoping for over many years.
This has led some facilities to invest more in cleaning services or technology. At the same time, lockdowns and business disruption have led to reduced revenue for many businesses, and commercial offices continue to face low occupancy rates as many employees work from home. In fact, cities such as London have developed efforts to try to entice people to return downtown after so much time away.
The unfortunate side effect of the pandemic is that many customers are making tough choices regarding how to spend their smaller budgets, and some of them are pushing back to lower cleaning costs. At a time when multiple Middle Eastern countries are opening faster than other regions, they can be a popular destination and have the chance to bounce back sooner. To attract these potential visitors back faster, it is critical that you are able to articulate the true value of cleaning as an investment in your customer’s business bottom line and the confident return of employees and customers to kick-start much-needed business momentum.
Communicating the best business case for investing in proper cleaning right now requires you to connect the dots between your services or solution and the organization’s top pain points. The power of your case comes from the right data to catch their attention and explain how you help solve their current issues. ISSA has gathered data from around the world to make this task easier for you to accomplish. And it offers a calculator to help you create a specific business case for your customers based on industry research.
You may want to begin with reference to the current heightened concerns people have, surrounding cleanliness. Seventy-two percent of people are concerned about germs left on surfaces shared by colleagues, according to research by GP Pro. So companies will need to communicate how they are cleaning to protect their employees.
Next, businesses need their workers to be as productive as possible. Therefore, you can share statistics on the impact of cleaning on worker productivity. First, improved cleaning and basic hand hygiene measures can reduce viruses on a surface by more than 85 percent, according to a study in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2019. Combine that with the fact that sick workers lead to higher absenteeism costs and lower productivity, and it is worth reducing that risk of cross-contamination.
Plus, the total cost of absenteeism in the US, Australia, and the UK combined still is only 10% of what businesses pay due to employees who come to work sick, according to the Global Challenge Virgin Pulse. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenteeism has even higher costs and consequences. If entire sections of an office or shifts in a workplace need to quarantine due to one sick co-worker, productivity is impacted.
The investment your customer needs to make to maintain responsible levels of cleanliness at a time when their most important stakeholders need to gain greater confidence in returning to the activity will be a fraction of the costs that reduced levels could generate. The bottom line is that proper cleaning is an investment in getting business back on track, and you know how to create the right program to meet their needs as cost-effectively as possible - that just may mean at a price a bit more than they first thought they could get away with.
One ISSA member who used this approach and the ISSA Value of Clean Calculator actually convinced a bank to not just evaluate their cleaning needs for all of their branch locations, but to also increase the amount of cleaning they requested in their tender. This is the power of the right data in the right business case.
About the author
Dianna Steinbach is the Vice President of International Services, ISSA. She has been in the professional cleaning industry for more than 20 years, helping people identify new trends, strategically plan, and develop business alliances.