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What's the best user friendly scheduling software

Posted By Queen of Clean Service, Friday, July 22, 2016
What is the most user friendly and affordable scheduling software.  There are so many to chose from that we'd like to get some input to help us decide. We use QuickBooks and some of this programs, such as ServiceCEO, include invoicing on their program.  If that's the case we can stop using QB all together..is that recommended?  Also most of them are now Web based is that reliable an secure?  Your opinions will be deeply appreciated.

Tags:  scheduling software 

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Three Ways to Help a Job Applicant Relax and Tell You More

Posted By Erin Lasch, Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Most job applicants find interviews to be high stress situations and even people who are normally friendly and engaging can seem guarded and tentative because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. This is why it’s important to spend the first few minutes engaging in small talk (sports, the weather, the commute). Only comfortable applicants will give you all the information you need to make a good decision. Here’s some other pointers:

 

  1. Body language: Candidates will subconsciously be affected by and respond to your body language. When interacting with applicants, use body language that is open and accepting (lean in toward them, keep your arms and hands open).
  2. Find common interests: Look for ways that the interviewee and you are alike. You may have a school or city in common. You may have shared interests or experiences.
  3. Tell stories: About yourself and the company. Interesting stories will create a picture of your company as a great place to work and give the candidate insight into company’s culture. Besides being informative, it takes the pressure off for a while.

 


 

Certified Speaking Professional Mel Kleiman is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant and author on strategies for hiring and retaining the best hourly employees and their managers. He is the president of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems, training processes, and tools for recruiting, selecting, and retaining an hourly workforce. For more information, call (713) 771-4401, email mkleiman@humetrics.com or visit www.humetrics.com and www.kleimanhr.com.

 

Tags:  Hiring  Interviewing 

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It’s All About the Cleaning “INDUSTRY”

Posted By Erin Lasch, Friday, July 08, 2016

By Ernie Hartong 

Just 108 days until our Annual Convention kicks off in Chicago. Not registered yet? Stop procrastinating. You do not want to miss the biggest show in the cleaning “Industry.” That’s right the Cleaning INDUSTRY. Think about that for a moment.

Everyone together in one place for one week, learning, networking, socializing. Image the resources that will be available to you. ARCSI is a “Co-locator” for the ISSA InterClean Show. We will be joined by other co-locators including BSCAI, the Building Service Contractors, CETA, the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association, IEHA, International Housekeepers Association, and more. These groups all have access to the 700+ vendor trade show floor where you will see the latest and greatest in products, technologies and more. There will be over 60 seminars and educational programs, some specific to your Cleaning Industry segment, but many will deal with cleaning in general that applies to all segments. If it has anything to do with Cleaning Industry, it will be in Chicago.

Collectively we are talking about an Industry that effects everything we do every day. It impacts our daily lives more than any other Industry. Yes Virginia, even more than the internet. Sooner or later everything we come in contact with has to be cleaned. When we stop and think about it, the number of people employed and the dollars generated by the Cleaning INDUSTRY are staggering. Start with the manufacturers of cleaning products and equipment, then there is the supply chain of distributors, and finally the front line cleaners, in homes, offices, healthcare, travel and lodging, schools, and more. Cleaning is not just a mop and a bucket anymore. These front line professional cleaners, regardless of what segment of the cleaning industry they are in, are getting more and more training, better tools and products, and doing a job that requires more and more skill. They are no longer maids or janitors, or unskilled labor. They are professional cleaning technicians.

So thanks to the leadership of ISSA for continuing to bring the entire Cleaning Industry together year after year and around the world. See you in Chicago.

Tags:  Cleaning Convention 

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The Power of One: Creating an Extraordinary Customer Experience!

Posted By Erin Lasch, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

By Elaine Beaubien

 

"If We Don’t Take Care of Our Customers, Someone Else Will”

 

This snappy slogan was written on a shiny brass plaque behind the registration desk at a major hotel chain I was checking into. It said in a very concise way what I believe is true in most industries in today’s global marketplace. I took out the notepad I carry and wrote it down, knowing I would use it some day.

 

I had been delayed at a northern airport by some snow and ice and I was really looking forward to getting into my room. I walked through the doors of the hotel with gratitude and good will. The young well dressed and pressed desk clerk held up her hand to me palm out when I approached. I stopped. Apparently she wasn’t ready for me, even though I was the only other person in the lobby. She was checking something vital on her cell phone. Well, I guess she showed me who was in charge. I use that palm out gesture on my dog after she rolls around in some unidentifiable muck and I must say, I didn’t appreciate the feeling I got when it was used on me. Sit. Stay. I feel a crack forming in my good will; the gratitude has already dissolved.

 

When she was finished with whatever was more important than me, she nodded imperiously and I walked up with my credit card in hand. When I told her I was there to check in, she asked if I had a reservation. I did. She asked me my name. I told her. She asked me to spell it. With a name like Beaubien, I am used to spelling it several times. It’s all those vowels. She typed, frowned, shook her head and sighed. I felt her disapproval. I thought perhaps I should spell it again. I did. She used that go-to palm out hand gesture again, never taking her eyes off her computer, sighed deeply once more, and with an edge of impatience she asked, “Are you sure?” It took me a minute, but I nodded. Did she just imply that I didn’t know how to spell my last name? The crack is becoming a fissure.

 

I was told I was not in their system so she asked for my reservation number. Now I know all of you Type A people carry it with you…in 4 different places…but I always trust the system and never carry it. And as a general rule, I never need it. Bottom line, I didn’t have my reservation number. Bad customer. When she looked up I could see I was in for a scolding. I was right. “There’s a reason we give you people those numbers, you know.” Did she really just say, “you people?” The fissure is becoming a crevice.

 

The clock ticked. I waited to see if she was going to find me a room. I glanced at the shiny red apples on the counter, the bowl of tiny foil-wrapped mints, then back to the frowning young woman who was being terribly inconvenienced by my inconsiderate intrusion on her time and space. The apples must have been someone’s idea of a customer pleasing extra, the mints an attempt to delight me. A bit of advice. Don’t be putting up the nice little extras until you have a firm foundation of customer satisfaction. They are superficial static and not cost effective.

 

I didn’t want an apple. I didn’t want a mint. I didn’t even want a reservation. I wanted a bed! After enduring a little scold for not having my reservation number, I asked her if she had any rooms available. More tapping of the keys, another sigh. While she was busy searching for possibilities, I looked out the big glass doors. Bright inviting signs for hotels all up and down the street. Rooms. My suitcase had wheels. I decided to use them. When the young woman looked up, I nodded at the plaque, told her to give it a nice polish, grabbed an apple and a handful of mints and left. Even though I spent more for a bed next door that night, it felt good. Really good.

 

I am your customer, buyer, patron, client, consumer, guest, member, associate. I’m the only reason you’re still in business. I generate the revenue. Pay attention to me or watch me turn around and seek alternatives. With the world at my fingertips, I may not have to go far.

 

The moral? The Power of One. Fairly or unfairly, the reputation of this entire hotel, perhaps the entire chain of hotels was on the shoulders of this one young woman. On that one evening. With that one interaction. You may only have one shot. There are too many alternatives…if you don’t take care of your customers…someone else will! And now, with social media, I may share my opinion with my 3450 closest friends and before you know it, what may be an anomaly becomes a story and the story becomes your reputation and that reputation will impact your bottom line.

 

Commitment to the customer is not a plaque. It doesn’t stop with intense orientation and continuous training. These are the means to an end. You need a total cultural immersion of the critical importance of meeting, then exceeding the expectations of your customers. Of developing sincere, deep to the bone passion for the people you serve. Every person. To be extraordinary, you need to recognize the power of each person, each transaction, each interaction to develop the relationships necessary to build your business and keep it successful.

 

Excellence isn’t accidental. It’s the result of deliberate planning, organizational commitment to personal and professional development and high expectations. It’s not free. It is, however, very cost effective. It’s far more expensive to find a new customer than to keep the ones you have. Spend time, energy and money to nurture the relationships you have with people who have already selected you.

 

Everyone, and I mean everyone, in an organization is responsible for pleasing the customer. It should be part of the culture. An assumption of excellence. An expectation of customer focus. Corporate culture and customs are what dictate the norms and acceptable patterns of behavior. What does your culture say about creating an extraordinary customer experience? It’s importance? If I walked into your establishment, would I immediately be impressed with your treatment of me and my needs? Would I walk out feeling impressed and delighted. Or would I just walk out?

 

Your reputation is dependent on your attention to the customer. Smiling customers create an energy that employees can plug into. Being part of a legend is exciting and soon employee attitude improves due to the pride of being a part of something extraordinary. It’s contagious and it builds organizational loyalty. And it is every person’s responsibility…from the top down and back again.

 

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Set your standards high, then expect everyone to perform according to the principles of impeccable service. It pays dividends.

 

Elaine Beaubien (www.elainetrain.com) is the keynote speaker opening the ARCSI Cleaning Convention on Tuesday, Oct. 25. She will be presenting "The Power of One: Creating an Extraordinary Customer Experience." 

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It’s Time to Step Up: Consider Serving on the ARCSI Board

Posted By Erin Lasch, Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By Ernie Hartong, ARCSI CEO


It’s election season. Gosh Ernie, did you just figure that out? No, I am not talking about the one that seems to be consuming our every waking hour these days. I am talking about the election for ARCSI Board members. So why not consider running for the ARCSI Board of Directors. It is a much easier process than Hillary and The Donald are going through. You don’t have to scramble around and round up delegates. All you have to do is download the application from our website. It is a self-nominating process.

 

The ARCSI Board is about service and commitment. You will be serving your fellow ARCSI members and we are looking for Board members who are committed to helping ARCSI grow and improve. So what’s your job as a Board member? You will have four “sight lines” when serving on the Board.

  1. Oversight - Your primary duty as a Board member is oversight of all that ARCSI does, our finances, our policies, and our programs.
  2. Insight – We are seeking Board members with an insight into the challenges our members face day to day.
  3. Hindsight – We will expect you to draw on your past ARCSI experiences and your business experience to help us grow and improve.
  4. Foresight - We need your foresight, leadership, and innovative thinking and ideas to keep ARCSI moving forward.

Interested? Download the application from our website.

Tags:  ARCSI  Board 

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Experience & Skills Are No Match for Talent

Posted By Erin Lasch, Monday, June 13, 2016

Yesterday's Hiring Criteria vs. Today's

by Mel Kleiman, CSP

 


Human knowledge is now doubling every 3.7 years. This means that 50 percent of what you now know will be out of date in less than four years.

Just to bring it home, let's imagine you need open heart surgery. How would you like to have it performed by someone who hadn't learned anything new about the procedure in the past 48 months?

For this very reason, it is no longer about hiring skills and/or experience. Today, it's all about hiring talent.

So, what is the difference? A skill is the ability to do a particular task, like drive a truck or design a building or fly a plane. All of these are skills. Talent is the ability to learn new skills and/or dramatically improve upon an existing skill set.

Because of all the rapid changes in the workplace and technology, hiring a skill today is only going to solve a problem in the short run. When you hire talent, those people will be able to move the organization to the next level because they can quickly learn and apply new knowledge. (While you may want to hire a computer programmer who knows a specific language, you would be better off hiring a programmer who has the ability to rapidly learn and apply new languages.)

Here are some interview questions that explore an applicant's talents:

  1. What was the last thing you learned and how have you applied that learning?
  2. How do you learn best?
  3. Give me an example of a situation where you did not know how to handle a particular problem. What action did you take? Why did you take that course of action?
  4. What more would you like to learn about your job or career? Why?
  5. In your present or last job, how long did it take you to feel like an expert in your position? How much did you have to learn? How did you tackle it? What were the most difficult aspects of the job to master? Who helped you?
  6. Let's assume for a moment I hire you and you start in two weeks. During that time, I get called out of the office on urgent business and am not available to support you for the next month. What are you going to do to get yourself up to speed?

When Talent is in the ring versus Experience/Skills, my money's on Talent every time.

 

 


Certified Speaking Professional Mel Kleiman is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant and author on strategies for hiring and retaining the best hourly employees and their managers. He is the president of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems, training processes, and tools for recruiting, selecting, and retaining an hourly workforce. For more information, call (713) 771-4401, email mkleiman@humetrics.com or visit www.humetrics.com.


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Why Customer Feedback Is Important for Your Business

Posted By Erin Lasch, Thursday, May 12, 2016

By Yusuf Mehmetoglu, Maid Bright

 

Customer feedback whether it is positive or negative is crucial for any service business and is a driving force for businesses. Feedback can vary in terms of type and has an overall impact for the way a company does business. It is ultimately up to a company if they respond or react to customer feedback, but it is beneficial to respond to your customers’ feedback for the strong image of your company. Below are some ideas and about responding to customer feedback.

 

Be Aware of Feedback Channels

The first step in responding to customer reviews or feedback is to be aware of the various channels that customers are using. They can utilize online platforms such as Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, Consumer’s Checkbook etc. They can also use your company website if there is a place to leave feedback or send an e-mail with praise or complaints. If you know the various feedback channels, then responding will be more manageable.

 

Positive Feedback

Positive feedback, great! Most companies think they should not respond since the customer was happy, but this is a wrong approach. The customer took the time to praise your work and show their appreciation, therefore, it would be wise to respond and thank the customer for their patronage to your company. It is also another way to show potential clients that you are a responsive and professional company in any situation.

 

Negative Feedback

RESPOND, RESPOND, RESPOND! This type of feedback should serve as a red flag for your company in order to improve the quality of service and make sure those similar incidents or complaints do not happen in the future. When replying to negative criticism, be very professional. By responding professionally you can turn the negative experience to a positive impression. Start by thanking the customer for their feedback and apologizing for any inconvenience caused. The customer is the driving force in your business, and their disappointment can cause a further loss of business. It is never a good idea to show how the customer is wrong or argue on an online platform. The best approach is to keep it short and sweet.

 

It is ultimately up to you to control your reputation and company’s image. The way you respond to customer feedback or reviews are tools to show your customers and potential customers that you value the things they put in writing and also a way to fix issues, so they do not occur repeatedly. Receiving praise is a great thing for your company, but knowing how to respond in professional manner in the event that you receive criticism is vital. 

 

Yusuf Mehmetoglu is the owner of Maid Bright, a residential cleaning company that is based out of Sterling, Virginia. Find out more about Maid Bright at www.maidbright.com.

Tags:  customer service  feedback 

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Transform Your Workflow with Fieldd: Exclusive offer for ARCSI Members

Posted By Erin Lasch, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fieldd: Manage & Grow Your Field Service Business Today!

 

Houston, we have a problem . . .

 

Yup, it’s your current workflow, it kinda sucks doesn’t it?

 

You've probably been using 6 different tools to book services, communicate with your clients, charge credit cards and get your maids to the right house at the right time.

 

So here is the story….

 

We also run a very successful maid service in the Austin, TX area and we also HATED our daily workflow. Sorry to scream, but that is literally what we'd been doing at our computer screens for the last decade.

 

We tried a dozen different pieces of software over the years...and most of them were a nightmare. We got frustrated with being frustrated and decided to do something about it.

 

And so Fieldd was conceived…

 

Today, after two years of planning, testing, and improving....We’re ready for you to kick the tires.

 

Fieldd was designed with you in mind.  We can help you manage your day-to-day cleaning operations with integrated CRM, invoicing, quote management, and a schedule board that you've got to “see” to believe.  You won't find anything like it out there.

 

But here’s the deal, you won’t know if it’s a good fit until you try it.

 

So start your free, 14-day trial today or learn more with our no-obligation, non-salesy, 1-on-1 demo.

 

Drop me a line anytime, even if it's just to say "hi!"

 

Cheers,

Kyra Deprez, Customer Success
kyra@fieldd.com | +1 (512) 960-1203
Fieldd | Manage & Grow Your Field Service Business

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Time to Look Inside for the Answers

Posted By Erin Lasch, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

By RJ Patel, ARCSI Vice President

 

We all spend a great deal of time working on making our businesses better in all aspects – from our policies and procedures, to training programs and employee engagement. One of the things I think we all do is look to see what others are doing that has had success and how can we implement that in our own office. We recently brought in an outside consultant that completely changed our thinking.

 

Our office team turned our focus inside for an introspective look to see what we can do better. As we began the process, I think we all experienced that “AHA” moment! All at once, we realized collectively that we have been looking for answers in all the wrong places – much of what we needed was already in our office.

 

One area that we feel we made significant strides in was training. By working with our outside consultant, we looked long and hard at our training program. We were able to analyze what we were doing that was effective and what was not. Piece by piece we “tweaked” our existing training program so that we have a more effective training solution as we bring on new team members.

 

For at least the last decade, how many times have you heard the term “think outside the box?” More times than you can count I am sure. We have focused on doing things differently and trying new practices and processes to help improve our businesses.

 

Our introspection process completely turned the tables on how we had been working so in a way you could say that we “thought outside of the box!”

 

I encourage you to look inside yourself and your business to examine what you are doing successfully and what can you do to improve your business. What do you think you will find?

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Creating an Employee Manual

Posted By Erin Lasch, Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2016

By Kyra Deprez

 

Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for many years, you should have an employee manual.  Your employee manual clearly states your company's policies and procedures. Having your policies and procedures in a manual ensures that all of your employees are getting the same information.


Your manual should include information about workplace ethics, expected behavior in regards to attendance, dress code information, as well as information on benefits.  Your manual can be as simple or as complex as you so desire.


There are many benefits to having an employee manual.

 

Communicates Policies and Procedures Consistently

Having an manual for your employees makes sure that everyone has received the same information.  It can help demonstrate professionalism through consistent communications.  It provides a framework to follow when issues arise.

 

Communicates Applicable Federal, State and Local Laws

Depending on where you conduct business there many be more than a few labor laws that you must adhere too.  Outlining these in your employee manual, along with a signed acknowledgement form can be crucial should an Unemployment Claim or Lawsuit ever arise.

 

Communicates Employee Safety

Working in the field has more safety issues than an office job.  Outlining your employee safety practices, as well as what to do when an accident happens is especially important (especially when it come to insurance).

 

Communicates Your Disciple Policy

Once again I will point out that you must treat your employees fairly, and have a clear and consistent discipline policy that is followed for each and every employee.

 

Communicate Your Policy on Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking

This just might seem like common sense...but having policies in place, and in writing is more important than you might think.


The SBA has some really great resources for creating an Employee Manual

And if you want to get started with a template you can grab a: Free Employee Manual Template.

 


 

 

Kyra Deprez is the VP of Customer Success at Fieldd Service Software.  Fieldd is the sister company to The Boardwalk Cleaning Co. Kyra writes about success as well as failures and has a passion for creating an exceptional customer experience.

Tags:  employees  human resources  personnel issues  policies and procedures 

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more Calendar

10/23/2016 » 10/24/2016
IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification Class (Chicago)

10/24/2016 » 10/28/2016
2016 Convention & Education Conference

11/11/2016 » 11/12/2016
IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification Class (Raleigh)

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