Client relationships - setting new standards

28th of September 2021
Client relationships - setting new standards

Zac Hemming, founding director of ICE Cleaning, explores how cleaning being accelerated to the top of the corporate agenda during the pandemic is presenting commercial contractors with a responsibility and opportunity to push the boundaries of what is expected, and what can be achieved, by daily cleaning routines.

Over the last year, the impact of Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of consistent and comprehensive cleaning routines to help mitigate against the spread of virus and bacteria throughout commercial spaces, to support building owners in fulfilling their Duty of Care by going above and beyond best practice.

Where once a ‘one size fits all’ attitude to commercial cleaning contracts was commonplace, Covid-19 has forced the industry to undertake a fresh approach to the ongoing management of commercial spaces, as building owners and facilities managers increasingly look to secure cleaning partners that can add real value to their business and proactively protect the wellbeing and safety of employees.

Historically, the commercial cleaning sector has operated as an extremely traditional industry, with established methods of practice and standards of customer care, which were commonly never challenged or changed.

For example, cleaning contracts predominantly involved daily cleaning routines that were typically implemented for purely cosmetic reasons, with some focus on the role cleaning should play in maintaining the hygiene of these spaces to protect the health or wellbeing of those inhabiting the commercial spaces.

This established method of practice in some respects stunted the evolution and advancement of the industry, as there was little need for the sector to evolve, either from a customer service perspective, or with regard to innovation through the development of new technologies and skills.

Traditionally, a cleaning contract would have been secured on the basis of what a company has always done. Here the saying ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ springs to mind, as there was an established perception that sourcing a new cleaning company would be a time-consuming and difficult process, particularly when the other areas of building management and maintenance had to be considered and addressed.

This therefore led building owners and facilities managers to adopt the attitude that unless there had been serious issues with a cleaning contractor that couldn’t be resolved, or a property manager was getting continuous complaints from its occupants, then they should remain with the contract they already had as every other provider within the industry would deliver the same level of service.

Most important role

However, Covid-19 has prompted business owners to examine their operational procedures to identify areas that can be improved or adapted to help mitigate against the spread of viruses and bacteria, in line with Government guidelines, to successfully and consistently fulfil Duty of Care to all employees and visitors.

This has included the implementation of additional considerations such as dedicated sanitisation stations and temperature scanners, reviews of air quality and ventilation systems and the directional flow of traffic throughout the building and how this can be managed to accommodate appropriate social distancing.

Here commercial cleaning has taken the most important role of all, as building owners and facilities managers look to work in partnership with contractors that can offer dedicated expertise and advice to support them through this process and deliver a total cleaning solution that consistently ensures their building is safe.

This substantial shift in what is required, and can also be achieved, through commercial cleaning contracts has supported the facilitation of a new generation of contractors that offer a proactive approach, particularly with regard to virus decontamination and sanitisation and how these additional services can be implemented into daily, weekly and monthly cleaning routines.

Here the role of the cleaning contract becomes twofold, as it must continue to maintain the cosmetic appearance of the commercial space, but more importantly, it must proactively protect surfaces against virus and bacteria.

By offering a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to virus sanitisation and decontamination alongside existing traditional cleaning services, contractors can support building owners in successfully fulfilling their responsibilities to provide employees with the confidence and trust that they can safely return to their work space.

The rapid advancement in cleaning technologies is supporting contractors in successfully fulfilling these aims, with new chemicals and dispensing systems setting the standard for a new generation of commercial cleaning that is light-years apart from the commercial cleaning contracts previously delivered and expected.

For example, while some cleaning contractors may use a traditional fogging machine to apply the relevant chemicals to help mitigate against the spread of bacteria and viruses on surfaces and key touchpoints, latest progressions in electrostatic technology have created a dispensing system, that when combined with best in class chemicals, achieves a longer dwell time on surfaces.

This enables chemicals to effectively ‘wrap’ around surfaces to guarantee protection against viruses for up to 28 days, eliminating the opportunity for the cleaning chemicals to drip off high frequency touchpoints, such as door handles, which may potentially occur with other methods of application.

For example, our ICE SHIELD service uses electrostatic technology to destroy 99.9 per cent of traces of coronavirus and other bacteria and viruses on surfaces within a working environment. This protective barrier is achieved by the positively charged electrostatic particles attaching themselves to negatively charged particles found on solid surfaces, whilst simultaneously counteracting any negatively charged particles within the atmosphere.

Whilst this level of technology significantly increases the level of hygiene that can be achieved, by offering it as an additional service at no extra cost, the boundaries and expectations of customer service excellence are completely transformed. This is more important than ever, as building owners’ expenditure rapidly increases as they conduct assessments and implement additional services and facilities to provide employees and visitors with the highest possible levels of protection.

Value for money

By incorporating ICE SHIELD into its standard offering free of charge, with a decontamination certificate supplied after each procedure to demonstrate due diligence, ICE Cleaning can support building owners in ensuring their commercial spaces are adequately protected, without the concern of escalating contracts.

As businesses continue to navigate their way through the ‘new normal’ and prepare to safely reopen this year, commercial cleaning contractors have a responsibility to support clients in successfully achieving these aims, by working in partnership to ensure cleaning routines go above and beyond to deliver the highest standards in hygiene and cleanliness.

This approach will set the industry bar for a new generation of commercial cleaning routines that are combined with the very latest advancements in technology and the highest standards of customer service excellence to redefine the industry and its capabilities.

•ICE Cleaning provides commercial, industrial and domestic services, including virus containment, mould remediation, coronavirus decontamination and sanitisation, graffiti removal, warehouse and factory cleaning, crime scene cleaning and car park cleaning.


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