Ironically one of the most common (and frustrating) source of disagreement we see in our residential cleaning services, emerge over issues where nobody is in the wrong. Failing to establish clear lines of communication often leads to needless disagreement and problems.
It should be no surprise that this occurs. Part of the issue is that there are multiple parties involved, who may not all be on the same page. First there is the service provider. Obviously we provide the same service every day, so we have our own views on how things should be done based on our experience. Furthermore service requests only provide us with the “what,” we have to fill in the blanks on “how.”
Next, there is the property manager operating on the behalf of the Strata. In an ideal world, the manager would operate as a single point of contact, bringing together all of the requests, concerns and issues for us to respond to. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, as the Canucks discovered in 1994 and 2011. Property managers have different relationships with stratas, where the latter may take a more active role. There is nothing inherently “wrong” with such a setup, but it does increase the chances that a miscommunications will occur. The title of this article comes from an incident with an unhappy council member, who, when shown our work order, responded “I AM THE STRATA.” That puts us into a bit of an awkward position. Furthermore there are the locations’ residents themselves, which can add a third wrinkle. They may have their own individual concerns, which may or may not be congruent with the building’s overall requirements.
So what’s essential in this situation is flow of communication, right from the start. Everybody who needs the information should get it. We try to do our best, from the moment a quote or service request comes in, to when we leave the site a final time. This includes email notification of, upcoming work ongoing and completed work, contact information with our field staff and managers. Property managers should include council members who need to know and post notices in a timely fashion. Furthermore having a clear, agreed upon, single point of contact for issues and complaints, (ideally the PM), reduces the potential friction. Items don’t get mixed and we can promptly resolve the issue.
So taking care early to set up a clear flow of communications will help to ensure success later. If everybody is on the same page, we can focus on the issues that really matter. If you want more information, we have a handy cleaning guide where we discuss this area further.