Friday, May 24, 2024

MEMORIAL DAY MAY 27, 2024

The custom of honoring those who have fallen in battle by cleaning and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition. It was originally called “Decoration Day”.

In early rural America, this duty was usually done in late summer and became an occasion for family reunions. After the “Civil War” the practice became more prominent as America’s need for a patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead. After “WW I”, the day was expanded to honor those who had died in all American Wars. The tradition of wearing red Poppies as a symbol of this day was actually the idea of an American, Miss Moina Michael.

The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May. The first national commemoration was observed on May 30th.1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. It is considered the unofficial start of Summer. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of “The Indianapolis 500” which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. It's 108th running will be Sunday May 26th.

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day”, it was first used in 1882. However, it only became the most common name after "WW II" and was not declared a Federal Holiday until 1967. While the passing of an act in 1968 created 3 day weekends for Memorial Day and other holidays, it has also no doubt contributed to a general nonchalant observance by some people for this important day.

We at Bane-Clene® do not take that nonchalant attitude. We realize that our great country is just that because of the dedication and countless sacrifices of the men and women who have fought and died to keep us.

We are the Land of the Free because we are the Home of the Brave.

Memorial day

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Friday, May 17, 2024

THE PHONE

Phone

The phone is the life line of a service business. Granted there are advertising campaigns, web sites, customer referral, etc. These and other tangible efforts are designed to do one thing, make the phone ring.

From that point forward, how that call is handled will determine the outcome of the call. Will it be a “sale” or a lost opportunity? In many instances, service companies rely on voice mail or answering services to handle the initial contact. Whether by necessity or design, these are not the best ways to handle the phone inquiry. Many times, a potential customer is “shopping” therefore they are looking for immediate answers. The majority of the time, they may leave a message but will more than likely be making other calls to competitors. Possibly by the time their call is returned, they may have made a “buying” decision.

For the sake of this blog, the discussion will presume the phone call has been answered “live” or returned before the potential customer has made a buying decision.

  • Calls should be answered with a “smile” on the phone representative’s face. Callers can actually “feel” the smile as well as a grimace or frown.
  • A cheery voice and the ability to answer questions are worth their weight in gold (literally).
  • A phone voice is a lot like a handshake. It should project strength and sincerity. Welcoming and pleasant phrases should be employed at all times.
  • If possible, avoid putting the potential customer on hold. If needed, ask permission by saying “may I put you on hold for a few moments while I check our schedule or resolve the answer to your question”?
  • If putting the call on “hold” is necessitated, be sure the call is muted. That way the customer doesn’t hear abject background noises or actual conversations which may be either distracting or potentially embarrassing.

The phone should be viewed as importantly as the tools and technicians used in the Company. Failure to do so will prevent a chance to display the quality of the service business.

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Friday, May 10, 2024

MOTHER’S DAY

MOTHER’S DAY

Mother’s Day will be celebrated on May 12, 2024, in The United States of America and many other countries around the world.

It is an honoring of the Mother of a family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence mothers have had and continue to have on our society.

Mother’s Day can trace its roots to ancient Greek, Roman and Christian traditions; also Native Americans believe in the tradition of Mother Earth. All of these traditions have taken on their own type of celebration and recognition.

The modern Mother’s Day began in the USA in 1911. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day as a national holiday which would be recognized on the second Sunday of May.

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Image of flowers for Mothers Day

Friday, May 03, 2024

PROSPECTS

Prospects

Marketing for individual prospects may appear at times a costly investment in a business. We are certainly not advocating abandoning or scaling back that portion of an advertising program.

What we are encouraging is calling on your local businesses in aligned fields. These Companies are in constant contact with individuals and other Companies that will be prospects for Carpet, Rugs and Upholstery cleaning services.

First and foremost on the list are Carpet Retailers. One can only imagine the number of potential prospects they come in contact with on a daily basis. Their customers have engaged them in the purchase of carpeting and or rugs. So, it is only natural that their customers contact them about cleaning and whom they recommend. In fact, with many carpet warranties requiring periodic cleaning then this contact could be priceless.

Other contacts for residential cleaning could include Maid Services, Window Cleaners and other related services such as Dry Cleaners. They also have contact with potential clientele. On the commercial cleaning side, there are Janitorial and Building Maintenance services.

Finally, one off the wall contact would be Veterinarians. Why? Well their clientele (furry friends) occasionally have accidents and these accidents may require cleaning and deodorizing.

Whomever is approached should obviously be offered a demonstration. Credentials and affiliations with appropriate organizations should be provided. A Certificate of Insurance is another important item.

Any references that can be provided will only enhance a presentation. Any or all of these prospects would want to align themselves with a high quality professional cleaning services.

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Friday, April 26, 2024

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Customer Satisfaction

Multiple articles, surveys, etc. with Customer Satisfaction as the topic have been published. In fact, we ourselves have done so on more than one occasion. That said, we feel it bares repeating. Everyone is painfully aware that prices continue to rise, supply chains even after over 4 years continue to be less than dependable. Reliable and dedicated employees are at a premium. So how do these and other factors impact and relate to Customer Satisfaction?

Basically, it means people have less money to spend so discretionary spending is scrutinized even more carefully. Many dissatisfied customers don’t bother to complain which only magnifies the need for Customer Satisfaction.

For those that do complain, here are some of the most cited reasons:

  • Poor complaint handling
  • Delay in the delivery of goods and services
  • Poor quality goods, service and or workmanship
  • Billing errors
  • Bait and switch pricing tactics
  • Failure to fulfill or implement warranties
  • Deceptive, misleading or inaccurate advertising and or representations
  • Discourteous, incompetent or impolite employees

Customers are hard and costly to cultivate; so losing them to a lack of Customer Satisfaction is obviously detrimental to building a successful and profitable business.

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Friday, April 19, 2024

Urgency

Urgency

Urgency was once the watchword for every da life. Whether in someone's personal or business lives this was what motivated people.

Too often today, assignments are met with an attitude of, “I’ll get to it when I can.” Making a job or task last longer for perceived job security or not finishing it until tomorrow is considered an acceptable way by many.

In reality, if the job was finished as expediently as possible not only would the company benefit but also the employee would benefit by actually increasing their job security. An employer would view this as a “can do” attitude as opposed to just putting in the required time.

Additionally, those in charge would realize the value of this person and it would foster better relationships in the work place. In all fairness, there are many distractions today, text messages, personal phone calls, checking personal e-mails or just perusing the web all can and will take away from an employee's productivity. An employee that can rise above all those distractions or keep them to a bare minimum will quickly show their worth and value to a Company.

All that said, a sense of urgency must start at the top. Management and or owners should never show a nonchalant attitude when dealing with day to day activities. Employees shouldn’t be expected to care if their boss exudes an air of indifference or appears lackadaisical.

Exhibiting a sense of urgency by management and employees will increase productivity and translate into more profits and therefore success for everyone and the Company.

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Friday, April 12, 2024

VACATION

vacation

A vacation is considered a respite or break from something. Just thinking about the word conjures up certain pleasant mental images. Depending on your preference it could be the beach, the mountains, theme parks or a myriad of other enjoyable locales.

Our jobs can bring moments of stress and anxiety. Whether, we work on the phone or out in the field it all mounts up. Demanding customers, broken supply chains, time restraints and pressures from bosses or colleagues are just a few of the situations we face day-to-day. However, in the world we now live in, a real vacation may just be a dream. Costs continue to rise and travel can be a hassle. While certainly abated, the specter of Covid still exists. Many places once considered safe are not. Yet, we all need something to relieve stress and anxiety.

To that end, perhaps a mini-vacation will help. Before you take the next phone call or arrive at the next service location or designation, take time to “get-a-way”. If you are in the office, you can get a cup of coffee or just take a short walk. If driving, pull over and get out and stretch your legs. Take a moment to close your eyes and envision a place that makes you smile. While your eyes are closed, take a few deep breaths and avoid thinking about work, appointments or pending duties. Continue reflecting and let your mind relax and transport you as you float away to your perfect vacation spot. If you allow it, you can experience a vacation without ever being there.

After a few minutes on vacation, you’ll be ready to get back to work feeling invigorated, refreshed and with a renewed outlook.

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Friday, April 05, 2024

EMOTIONS

Emoticon

Emotions can be hard to control. Letting emotions get the best of us may lead to damaging relationships with family, friends, associates and or customers. It certainly is not easy to remain calm in the hectic world we live in today. Maintaining control of emotions is an art. To some people it is inherent and to others it is a discipline to be mastered.

So what are some tips to practice self-control of our emotions.

  • Keep a smile on our face and in our hearts.
  • Work to keep hassles from effecting our demeanor.
  • Make cooperation our trademark.
  • Consider that the person we are working with may be experiencing issues that effect their emotions.
  • Put ourself in the other person’s position
  • Strive to make each and every contact with someone a pleasant one.
  • Think before we speak or act.

Emotions are controllable and therefore can be used to achieve positive results.

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Friday, March 29, 2024

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Effective Communication

Whether talking to family, friends, co-workers or customers what we say and how we say it hold the key to effective communication. Using the proper word or phrase will make all the difference. Here are but a few examples.

  • May I? Asking permission puts everyone at ease.
  • I’d like your advice. Shows respect for the person's opinion.
  • I’d like your help? Implies the person has the ability to be of assistance.
  • Because of your experience. Indicates the person has been there, done that.
  • I know you’re busy. Shows appreciation for their time.
  • Please.
  • Thank you.

The last two on this list are generally considered the most important. The use of these and other key words and phrases will show sincerity, respect and lead to effective communication.

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Friday, March 22, 2024

BALANCE

BALANCE

The rapport you establish and the approach applied with customers requires balance.

Typically there are different styles.

  • Some people are pleasant and friendly. They may even be gregarious and extroverted. However, that may not be the approach with all customers, who may feel more comfortable in a formal business setting. They may feel this type of style means the person is not really serious about what they do or sell.
  • The opposite approach is to totally take control of a situation. A person with these attributes will be self-assured, aggressive and may even appear bossy. This approach will generally work with certain customers. But more than likely alienate the majority of the customers. Customers want to be sold but not be dictated to.

Most people can claim some of both of these types of attributes. So what might be the proper balance? Sales people should take the time to evaluate their own attributes. Being self aware of yourself and what style you possess and what style you want to present. Play to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses so that you present the perfect balance in order to increase sales and profits.

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Friday, March 15, 2024

STAY AHEAD

STAY AHEAD

We obviously live in an age of information. In order for a service business to Stay Ahead and be successful and therefore profitable, it needs to avail itself of the latest and the best information. Most information is gathered by two methods. Formal information is generated through market surveys and testing in house. Informal or practical information is gathered from customer feed back and by those using the products and or equipment in the field.

Formal information is all well and good but it has its draw backs. It usually tends to be costly and also time consuming. So let’s concentrate on informal information. Customer Service Representatives (CSR) should spend as much time as needed fielding customers questions, concerns or comments. In coming contact whether by phone or e-mail provides a wealth of information. CSR’s should also “seek” information by asking the right questions.

Such as:

  • Did the service meet your expectations?
  • If so, what did you like?
  • If not, what was wrong?

Customers normally like to be asked their opinions (surveyed). This conveys to them that they are involved and important. That said, be sure to inquire from them, if they have the time to talk (respond).

On the surface, these informal conversations may seem unimportant to a business. However, they are actually the life blood of a service business and helps it Stay Ahead.

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Friday, March 08, 2024

IRRITATING

IRRITATING

We have all at one time or another been in the presence of a person who is or who we felt was irritating. It is important when communicating with customers or prospects either in person or over the phone that we make a favorable impression. Here are some “habits” that might be attributed to someone who could be considered irritating.

  • Is the person speaking too fast or in such a manner that prevents others from clearly understanding what message is being conveyed?
  • Is there an overuse of “hmm” or in general “pauses”?
  • Do they “talk with their hands” by constantly gesturing and waving their hands about while they talk?
  • Does the talker imply that the listener isn’t able to grasp what is being said by uttering phrases like “Do you understand?” or “See what I mean?”
  • Do they constantly look at their watch implying they don’t have much time to talk?
  • Do they act like they have known the person for a long time by addressing them by their first name? Even though they have just met?
  • Does the talker overly compliment therefore leading the listener to believe they are not sincere?

This evaluation and the subsequent “tagging” of the talker as irritating might seem arbitrary and harsh.

However, it could also serve as a self-evaluation so we don’t become someone whom we feel is irritating.

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Friday, March 01, 2024

RUDE DRIVERS

Bane-Clene Carpet Cleaning Van

Service units that are well lettered and clean are tremendous assets to a company in regards to public relations and advertising. Unfortunately, the reverse can be true.

Take the example of a cowboy driver jockeying a van in and out of traffic with the company name readable a block away. How many prospective customers do you suppose could be adversely affected by his or her wild and potentially dangerous ride?

Or, how about the van that double parks and blocks a lane of traffic while the driver goes into a store to pick up an order?

Then, there’s the driver who won’t let the car out of the parking lot into a lane of traffic.

The list could go on almost indefinitely. The results are guaranteed to be the same in every instance. Those people denied an entrance to a traffic lane, cut off, or scared half out of their wits, will certainly remember the slogan and name on the side of the vehicle.… Call ‘Us’ On The Carpet®.

Therefore, they never will unless it’s to admonish the Company for their drivers’ behavior.

A professional driver is courteous, cautious, obeys speed limits and is always watchful for others who may not be driving that way.

On the operational side, a professional driver always checks the gasoline, oil, water and tires of the vehicle before leaving the garage. That vehicle will be responsible for all of the income earned that day and a good driver will extend the proper and necessary time to ensure that the vehicle will function properly all day.

Reckless driving and careless maintenance are the signs of immature drivers and people who really don’t care about their profession or perhaps a combination of both.

As owners, we should do our best to be sure our drivers are living up to and demonstrating the desired image of our Company.

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Friday, February 23, 2024

GAS CONSERVATION

Dollar Sign

Gas prices continue to fluctuate as they go up and down like a yo-yo. So here are some obvious but practical ideas to get the most bang for your buck at the pump.

Tips for Gas Conservation

  • Keep your vehicle tuned-up.
  • Keep tires inflated at proper psi.
  • Purchase the proper octane fuel. This improves engine performance.
  • Observe speed limits and don’t tailgate as constant accelerating and decelerating will rob you of mileage.
  • If lines are long at drive-ups, go inside don’t let your vehicle idle unnecessarily.
  • Use A/C sparingly.

Once again, these are obvious and we have all heard them before.

That said, we can all use reminders from time to time.

Good Cleaning,
Your Bane-Clene® Team

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Friday, February 16, 2024

THE ECONOMY

Dollar Sign

In spite of what the “experts” say, the economy is still at a fragile state. Interest rates are high; prices for the majority of staples, housing and energy have not reduced even after approaching 4 years since the outbreak of Covid. Chances are they won’t.

Most Companies are discouraged in attempts to hire new employees. Comments we hear “Doesn’t anyone want to work anymore? Where is all the unemployment we hear about?" These are common laments among people in the cleaning and other small businesses. Part of the problem is that many of the incentives to work (I need money) have been negated by Governmental programs that basically provide people with enough money that they don’t have to work to maintain a basic existence.

CHECK BEFORE HIRING

While hiring is never a slam dunk event, in times like this it invites more care and due diligence. Drug tests and credit checks for potential hires can be done; however, there are Federal and State laws that control what can and cannot be done. If you go this route, be sure you are within the law. Having an attorney drawing up the documents is the prudent course of action. A simple check you can do is have your Insurance Agent run the applicant’s Driver’s License through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. If their license is either suspended or has been suspended, they are obviously not a competent driver and should not be driving a service vehicle.

SECURITY

People have always been cautious of whom they let in their homes but there seems to be more issues with burglaries, home invasions and the like. Maybe it’s the economy? To assuage your customer’s possible trepidations, your truck should be lettered. Employees should have some type of uniform shirt and identification. Industry related patches and name tags are ideal additions to a uniform shirt. These will not only add to your creditability but they inspire consumer confidence.

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Friday, February 09, 2024

Protecting The Environment

Protecting The Environment

A lot is being said and pontificated about being and going green. Bureaucrats at the Local, State and Federal level are decreeing and mandating what we should and should not do. What we should buy and not buy. In general, they are spewing a lot of hot air but alas most of them don’t practice what they preach.

We are not against protecting the environment, in fact we have been green since the founding of our Company in 1962. Our equipment is electric and our chemicals and cleaning solutions are biodegradable and contain no harmful contaminants.

Here are but a few simple and effective initiatives we all can practice:

  • Dispose of household hazardous waste such as cleaning products properly.
  • Recycle plastic, aluminum, glass containers, cardboard and paper products.
  • Small One-Use Batteries are recyclable check your local area for options.
  • The proper disposal of Electronic equipment, computers, cell phones, etc. is a continuous issue as we are Electronic Junkies.
  • Take unused or expired prescription drugs to a local site, such as a Pharmacy.
  • And for Carpet Cleaners, always dump your dirty water at a waste disposal facility or in sanitary (not storm) sewers.

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