I typically work 50 – 80 hours per week growing my business, Expert Human Resources (EHR). One day I looked around at home and realized my house needed to be seriously deep cleaned. I thought about taking a few days to clean it, however I received a huge project, and I had to give that project all of my attention, as clients come first, always. Therefore, it made more sense to hire someone to clean so I could continue to work on my huge project.
I decided to call a cleaning company that was advertised on TV. The cleaning company told me they would send out 4 – 5 housekeepers the next day to take care of the cleaning for me. I was told I would be charged by the hour per housekeeper. I was impressed that the cleaning company was going to send over 4 – 5 people to clean and pictured a spotless, deeply cleaned home. I was excited. Since it was my first time using a service, I decided to work from home that day, instead of going to the office; that way I could be available in case the housekeepers had questions.
The first two (2) housekeepers arrived around 11am to attack the kitchen. I noticed right away that “Helen” worked very hard, paid close attention to detail, and went above and beyond; she even hummed nice tunes while she worked. “Helen” seemed very happy. She commented to me, “I love to clean.” The other lady, “Sally” was working, however she was more interested in her cell phone. About an hour later the cleaning company sent over two (2) more housekeepers to clean the bathroom. Immediately, it was obvious that they did not want to be there, as they were commenting that it was Friday and they wanted to go to the liquor store and start their weekend. Needless to say, the job those two (2) housekeepers did in the bathroom was ok, but not stellar, not great. It was surface cleaned but not detailed.
“Helen’s” work was outstanding and made me proud. Everything was clean and shiny, like new money. However, the other (3) housekeepers were mediocre, not great, and actually disappointing, a let down.
The very next day, I spoke with the cleaning company management and asked if I could have just “Helen” come back to finish up a few things. The manager told me, “oh no, we have 4 people scheduled to come out to your home today” (which included the mediocre employees). The company was adamant about sending quantity instead of quality.
With my HR hat on (which is on most of the time), when I spoke to the cleaning company Manager the following day, I mentioned that it would probably be a great idea to pay “Helen” a few dollars more per hour and assign her as trainer for the rest of the housekeepers. The manager did not seem receptive to the idea at all.
Moral to the story: Most customers prefer quality over quantity! Quantity may look good at first, but is not always a good thing. Mediocrity should never be an acceptable standard or practice. Employers please pay your best employees a little more and utilize them to train mediocre employees. We, as employers, must insist on excellence, in all we do, and especially in our service to customers! It may cost a little more on the front end but the increases in revenue and profits on the back end will be well worth it.
Vanessa G. Nelson, SPHR, CLRL
Expert Human Resources (EHR)
July 3, 2015