Get comfortable with the new drivers for commercial cleaning

The three Cs dominating cleaning strategy during COVID-19

By Nils J.van der Zijl, VP Sales & Marketing, Softbank Robotics EMEA

The FM and cleaning industry is under more pressure than ever before as a result of COVID-19. 

Service providers are being asked to deliver higher levels of cleaning performance in the face of the virus, whilst at the same time having to work within tighter budgetary frameworks and to navigate massive resourcing issues.

Businesses are placing a huge emphasis on improved cleaning standards and placing unprecedented levels of scrutiny on measurement and KPIs.

But contractors would do well to read between the lines and look at the real drivers for improved cleaning performance during the pandemic, the reasons why cleaning suddenly matters to Board level leaders.

As a result of COVID-19, cleaning has become about comfort, confidence and consistency.

That’s a lot of Cs, for sure! But business leaders within FM and cleaning companies should think about these three Cs and recognise what is really keeping their clients awake at night.

Comfort, Confidence and Consistency

Businesses across all sectors are facing a huge battle to keep workers and customers coming back to their buildings and workspaces (where national and local lockdown rules allow it). And this is critical to their ability to maintain operations, drive revenue and, in many cases, to survive.

Beyond the usual SLAs and KPIs, FM and cleaning businesses now have the added responsibility of providing comfort and confidence to millions of workers and consumers as they return to commercial buildings.

Arguably more than anything else, clients simply want their FM and cleaning providers to deliver an enhanced (and consistent) level of service which allows them to reassure their employees that is it safe to return to work and to entice customers back to their premises. Business leaders want to make sure people feel comfortable in their buildings and confident that every step is being taken to ensure a clean and hygienic environment.  

Of course, how service providers deliver this comfort and confidence depends on the usual factors – having a pool of skilled, engaged and motivated frontline staff, using technology to drive higher levels of productivity and performance, and having the data and insight to demonstrate improvements and continually optimise operations.

But as the lens through which clients are approaching cleaning evolves, FM and cleaning providers need to re-think how they engage with their clients. They need to be asking their clients, “How can we help you to get your staff feeling comfortable and confident about returning to the workplace?”

Service providers who can enter into broader, business-level conversations with their clients, acknowledging these new strategic drivers for cleaning, can position themselves as strategic partners to their clients going forward. 

Suddenly, the narrative changes from one of resourcing and servicing levels around cleaning, to one where FM and cleaning providers can help business leaders to navigate through the biggest challenges they will have faced in their careers. 

Any service provider that can deliver practical solutions and guidance which helps business leaders to accelerate the re-entry of staff and customers into their buildings will be delivering tangible commercial benefits to their clients.

The role of cobotics in delivering The Three Cs

We’ve talked a lot about cobotics over the past few months and how cobots like Whiz, our very own cobotic vacuum sweeper, can help FM providers and cleaning contractors to drive efficiency, performance and productivity during the pandemic. At the same time, Whiz can dramatically increase operational agility and resilience for service providers in a highly volatile marketplace, where client demands are evolving at speed.

But at a broader level, Whiz is also helping to bring comfort and confidence to clients and end users of buildings during the pandemic, and bringing far greater consistency to cleaning performance. 

Be in no doubt – we are not claiming that Whiz can reduce the impact or spread of COVID-19. If only that were true!

But what cobots like Whiz can do is to play a major role in any coordinated effort to prevent the spread of the virus. 

In fact, our clients are telling us how Whiz is playing a critical role in their operations during the pandemic, building comfort and confidence in a whole range of ways:

  • Whiz frees up time for frontline cleaning teams to be redeployed and focus on the deep sanitisation and sterilisation of hard, high-touch surfaces such as lift buttons and handrails
  • It enables more frequent cleaning of high traffic areas, and its higher levels of performance in cleaning of large areas of floor space leads to improved air quality
  • By deploying Whiz throughout the day (and freeing up time amongst teams), service providers can ensure cleaning is much more visible to the end users of buildings
  • Whiz allows service providers to flex human resources more easily and to react quickly to urgent priorities, such as focusing on areas that have been visited/used by people infected by the virus
  • By deploying Whiz, businesses can demonstrate a duty of care to staff and customers
  • Whiz eases the workload and strain on frontline cleaning teams during this difficult period, leading to improved wellbeing and retention (and of course, comfort and confidence to continue working)
  • The cobotic ‘as-a-service’ lease model, means that cleaning contractors can deploy Whiz without incurring large capital expenditure. This opex-based model allows businesses to take a measured and consistent approach to innovation

A unique opportunity for cleaning to shine

For FM providers and cleaning contractors, the message is clear – at an operational level, they must continue to focus on delivering the best possible service levels to meet customer demand, in the most efficient and innovative ways. 

But beyond that, there is a need (and an opportunity) to take a more strategic approach with clients and prospects, recognising the unique challenges that business leaders are facing in getting staff and customers back into their buildings. 

By framing the delivery of FM and cleaning services around the Three C’s – Comfort, Confidence and Consistency – service providers can demonstrate real value to their clients and guide them through the current situation. As a result, they can shift from being commoditised service providers to genuine business partners, and establish more collaborative and fruitful long-term relationships. 


To hear more about the importance of The Three C’s in Cleaning, listen to the webinar that Nils presented at Cleaning Interactive. You can access it here.

Alternatively, if you would like to explore how Whiz can help your organisation to deliver comfort, confidence and consistency in cleaning, please get in touch with us here.

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