1.0 Understanding the Client
1.1 What is a client?
One of the most important aspects of housekeeping is often overlooked - it is absolutely essential to understand the needs of the client.
What is a client? - A client is a person which buys goods or services produced by another person or company.
At some point today you will have been the client for someone. Every time you exchange money for goods or services, you are a client - even if you don't think about it. Being 'the client' means that you expect something in exchange for payment.
Can you think of when you have been unhappy as a client? Key Reasons you may have been unhappy may have been:
- The quality of the service was poor
- The cost was not good value for money
- The behaviour of the person providing the service was poor
1.2 Keeping Your clients happy
Happy clients are clients who are having their needs and expectations met. They are paying for a service and feel that they are getting good value for their money.
You are the person providing the service to the client. This means you are responsible for keeping them happy. YOU Keep a client happy by providing a service that meets their needs.
Get You Organised works very hard to provide you with the tools you need to help you understand what your client wants, and to keep them happy.
Some of the tools we've developed include:
- Weekly Schedule
- Initial Consultation
- Consultation Checklist
- Placement emails
- Service Summary Form
- Task Frequency Form
Weekly Schedule - You will be assigned a weekly schedule for each of your clients. This tells you what day and time you are supposed to attend their home. For example, Monday and Thursday 8am - 12pm. To keep your client happy, do not change your weekly schedule and always arrive on time.
Initial Consultation - This is where you will meet your client and see their home. You should print out and take your consultation checklist. You should pay attention to what tasks your client says they want in each room and take notes on your checklist.
Consultation Checklist - This document will assist you in determining your client's needs. It should be printed out and taken to your initial consultation. Take good notes as you walk through the client's home and then refer to it when you are working.
Placement Emails - You will be sent a placement email for each client you have with GYO. The email tells you about the client and their family, what services they want, your schedule, and asks you to get in touch with them via phone. Calling your client within 24 hours of receiving your placement email lets them know you are looking forward to working in their home. Make sure to call early.
Service Summary Form - This form tells you what tasks your client wants done in their home. We will cover this in detail later in the module. This form is emailed to you with your placement email, you should read it before your initial consultation. Your client should have this printed out for you in their home.
Task Frequency Form - This form tells you how often to complete all of the tasks at a client's home. This will also be covered in detail later. It is emailed with your placement email, and should be read before your initial consultation. This should be printed out for you at your client's home.
1.3 Prompt Communication and happy clients
Good communication skills and habits are essential to keeping your clients happy.
GYO suggests early and often communication with your clients. This means that if you need to miss a shift, or are going to be late, you call and/or SMS your client as soon as you know about the change. You should also be leaving notes about how services are going.
Phone calls - Use in urgent communication, unless your client has asked you to send SMSs instead.
SMS - Use for less urgent communication, and to follow up a phone call.
Notes - Leave a note for your client each shift, letting them know what you've done. This is a good way to let them know they need to purchase a cleaning product. You can also ask questions like "Do you need me to clean the fridge next week?".
Always call a new client within 24 hours of receiving your placement email. Clients receive placement emails at the same time you do, and are waiting for your call.
2.0 Communication and Body Language
It is important that you are able to easily communicate with clients and their families while in their homes. You need to feel comfortable greeting them during your first consultation, but also during normal weekly interactions.
Tips for good communication:
- Maintain good eye contact and a smile - but don't stare at the client.
- Do your best to demonstrate that you are listening to them and taking their needs seriously.
- Maintain a good distance from the client to give them space.
- Do not interrupt the client when they are speaking.
- Do not ask too many personal questions or make observations about the client or their home.
- Offer to speak about your experience or similar jobs that you have done in the past.
- At all times think about displaying a confident and friendly demeanor.
We know that meeting with a client in their home can be a little overwhelming, especially when you first meet them. It is important that you try hard to be polite, attentive, and friendly (even if you feel a little unsure).
2.2 Body Language
As you can see in the figure below, the majority of your communication is conveyed by your body language - not by your words. Therefore good communication is as much about knowing what to say as well as demonstrating good body language.
Good Body Language:
Do! Make good eye contact. This is one of the most important steps to achieving positive body language. It shows that you are interested in what the person is saying to you.
Do! Smile. A smile will encourage the client to talk to you and shows that you are a happy and confident person.
Do! Maintain good posture while sitting and standing. Nodding and leaning your head towards a person shows them you are listening in this show of positive body language.
Don't! Cross your arms or legs. Crossed arms or legs make you appear unapproachable or defensive.
Don't! Move around too much or change position while speaking/being spoken to. This makes you appear disinterested in what is being said and offensive.