Keep it Simple

Published on 17 September 2018

I know other businesses in Malvern who clean and they have their approach to arranging orders as do I. Mine is ‘keep it simple’. We’re not building rocket engines or planning a journey up the amazon or arranging major surgery no we clean and its quite a simple process although quite demanding and not always easy. Had to get that bit in.

A customer, two weeks ago, said they liked the way I got things done and how I kept it simple. He said he’d called another cleaning business to go over what’s needed but they had made the whole thing so it complex and asked so many questions he didn’t want to know, then stated they can’t quote until they’ve seen the place. Hence I go the job and hadn’t seen the property just listened to the customer, asked what I thought was needed / necessary.

I mentioned before I used to work with in quality management in various companies with sole responsibility for ensuring the running of it. When I started it was BS 5750 now ISO 9001 2000. I’m sure several people have heard of this, and people went into overdrive, as I did, to document everything and look for thing to document processes that didn’t need to be documented or recorded. It was an easy trap to fall into and people thought as they still do that complexity is the key to either sorting out a problem or how to look impressive to others, or both. When I knew better I could see how so much wasn’t needed.

It was often the simple approach which worked a treat and with showed an understanding of either the customers’ needs or the problem, e.g. customer complaint, which was so often overlooked by the management team or people with good experience. The issue was not defined properly so the approach was off form the beginning. This was the approach of the sales staff usually when faced with issues or a sudden change in an order. Panic and cloud everything with as much info as possible, brilliant only it wasn’t.

I knew a guy who worked under me as warehouse, supervisor whose was always saying – ‘’keep it simple’’. He wasn’t an uneducated guy he had a degree in biology and botany was his hobby, so why he was doing what he was doing I don’t know?. He used to say this time and again and it has stuck with me. That’s not to say however that everything is simple, of course not – sometimes a project is big with several aspects and it has to be approached in a systematic manner hopefully agreed upon by all! Another management problem agreeing on things.

A good example of this was when I went to the US with a company once and was invited to a meeting to observe what went on. They started with a formal agenda then went about giving responsibility and time for each action to those around the table. I saw the best meeting Id ever been in no time wasting just – ‘keeping it simple’ as all the right people were and just wanted to sort the items out. There was no unnecessary talk and pointless questions and it wasn’t an arse kicking session, as in the UK in nearly all meetings I’ve been in, just a straightforward ‘keep it simple’ approach to getting things done.

So I look at what I do and try to do the same with orders with come in on ‘hopefully’ a daily basis and they vary from just a 2hr clean to a large house full clean throughout ovens and  carpets included. The approach is the same. Ask what is needed and get a good understanding, identify any special concerns then put a plan together with a realistic date and get back to the customer. Not trying to add to what’s been given or alter everything and rearrange what’s already agreed with other customers. Of course though flexibility, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, is needed too. If a customer has guests turning up tomorrow or a disaster on the carpet has occurred then they want a quick response.

So that’s the approach I like to try to stick to, for our benefit and our customers as it’s a complex world enough as it is but as you’ll know It’s not always as simple as ‘ keep  it simple’… I wish it was.

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