“Certified” is code for “expensive” or “my weekly cleaning price will go up now, right?” Well, we can’t guarantee that other companies who send their technicians to the Institute for Service Excellence to be certified won’t do just that, but it’s not in our plans at Castle Keepers.

ISE_CT logo for newsletter2 copy“Certified” is code for “expensive” or “my weekly cleaning price will go up now, right?” Well, we can’t guarantee that other companies who send their technicians to the Institute for Service Excellence to be certified won’t do just that, but it’s not in our plans at Castle Keepers.

“Well, as long as my price doesn’t change, what does it matter?”

Oh, boy, it should matter a LOT, but here are just the top five ways that your cleaning team being certified will help you be more in control of what’s happening in your home:

1. You’ll know what it is your cleaning technicians really do! The old saying knowledge is power isn’t just a saying. If you know what you do, and we mean really knowso that you can answer questions and troubleshoot (not just memorize and repeat), the customer sees that knowledge and confidence in your knowledge. That’s what the HCT training and certification does: teaches and tests technicians on a true foundation of knowledge based in biology, chemistry, and physics and how they apply to (1) cleaning, (2) sanitizing, and (3) disinfecting. (Yes, technically sterilizing is possible, but not really in the house cleaner’s regular arsenal against germs and bacteria.) Over the next few months, each of our cleaning technicians—yours too—will complete her HCT certification and become the first in the nation to do so.

2. The quality of service is off the charts. We know that our cleaners are the best in around and arguably the best in the nation. In a recent consumer survey conducted by the Institute for Service Excellence (results to be published in early 2012), the number #1 priority by in the customer’s mind is the quality of service provided by the technician and the administrative staff. But how can YOU know what kind of quality of service to expect when you hire your first cleaner? The HCT certification shows that each cleaning technician performs a common and consistent level of cleaning…ALWAYS! You know that between your cleaner’s local training and the HCT training that she really knows what to do, when to do it, and how to do it to not only remove dirt but also sanitize and disinfect properly.

3. You can see the training the cleaner has already had before she comes into the home. We know that each cleaning company has a different way of doing things, different reasons for choosing one cloth over another, one vacuum over another, etc. We also know that you have special preferences as well, but there are some basic best practices that time and science tell us over and over just plain work. Rather than depending on “on the job” training in someone’s home, the HCT certified cleaner has been trained in a controlled environment? The HCT certification provides you with the sense of standards, of consistency, of value that you may otherwise dismiss as a pro forma day or two of training. Knowledge and training are a serious business—expensive business—and doing it right the first time will also benefit you as we have an even better quality control system and can use that to keep costs under control.

4. You get proof beforehand that our service really does “goes above and beyond.” But above and beyond what? Until now, this has been extremely subjective to each cleaning company and sometimes to each cleaner. But with the standard established by the HCT certification, you can know the standard for yourself and then watch (or see the evidence when you get home) how your technicians exceed this standard expectation. This also lets you see again that the cleaner(s) in your home are trained twice…once by a third party to verify that they know not just how to clean but why doing it “that way” really gets things cleaner and removes more germs and bacteria…going beyond that standard!!

5. You care about us because you feel cared about. Sure, we’re licensed, bonded, and insured, so if we damage or break something, we’re covered to replace it. But it’s far better that the HCT certification includes an entire section on handling special furniture, collectibles, antiques, and more with the same care the owner feel, showing that the cleaning technician already knows how to clean that surface without damaging it, or how to clean collectibles safely, and more. The value of the HCT certification grows for you when the cleaner in your home can provide not just the knowledge but the caring to know how to keep your home not just clean and sanitized but whole as well.

So when can you expect to begin seeing the cleaners in your home certified? The very first certification class is being offered by the Institute for Service Excellence in January in Charleston, SC, with seven other classes being offered around the country throughout 2012. Currently, this will allow 210 cleaners in the country to become certified. And our cleaners will be in this first group to be certified in the next year.

Pretty soon, word will spread that if a company doesn’t have HCT certified cleaning technicians, then it isn’t as good as ours are. Long gone are the days when the “maid” is just some unlucky, uneducated, unrespectable person who helps your home look good. In fact, we wrote “the book” to prove just how lucky, technical, and respectable your cleaning technicians are and how their job keeps your clients safer in their own homes.

For more information on courses and certification programs, please visitwww.ISEToday.com.

About the Institute for Service Excellence

ISE is the collaborative and cooperative effort of four residential cleaning companies: Castle Keepers of Charleston, SC; Champagne Services of Northern Virginia; My Maid Service of Cincinnati, OH; and Town and Country Cleaning Services of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC. The founders — Tom and Janice Stewart, David Kiser, Derek Christian, and Bruce and Sarah Vance — have more than 75 years of experience in residential cleaning techniques and technologies, business development, and industry innovation.