I noted in the early years of my career in the cleaning business, a distinct & prevalent “us v them” mindset harboured by the manufacturers of floor coverings and the industry dedicated to maintaining that flooring.
I would attend seminars and conferences where incensed floor care professionals would lambast the manufacturers who were producing products that they felt were “uncleanable.”
At the same time, I would hear the manufacturers finger point at those in our industry who they felt used improper methods and products to maintain their masterpieces! Both sides were not wrong: there was a certain validity to both positions, but as is always the case, neither had a monopoly on being right!
That was then, but I am pleased to report that over the years, I have had the privilege of being part of a major shift in attitudes. These one-time combatants have more often than not, chosen to find common ground and this has resulted in something that looks a lot more like “partnership!”
And the winner is undoubtedly the consumer.
Typically, in the past, the customer found themselves in the middle of a high stakes “blame game” when the cleaner and manufacturer were at loggerheads over a carpet cleaning versus product performance conflict.
Today, the path is not only clearer when it comes to resolving these types of issues, but also preempted by better education and communication.
What does this look like? Here are few things to consider:
- Carpet warranties are easier to read and clearly spell out the conditions that need to be met by the consumer in order for the product to optimally perform. This includes specifics on the recommended professional cleaning process as well as the frequency of cleaning.
- A lot of carpet cleaning companies now prioritize education and training over short-term productivity. As a starting point, a technician should be able to quickly identify the fibre type and make an informed decision on how to safely and effectively clean a carpet. On the job “learning” has thankfully been replaced (in reputable companies) by both on and off the job “training!”
- In the event that a client does find themselves in the middle of a cleaner versus manufacturer squabble, enter the Certified Carpet Inspector! These are trained independent professionals that will assess, analyze and determine the true cause of the issue. Their report will hold significant impact in the unlikely event that a case ends up in small claims court.
- While not all cleaning companies inspire the confidence of large flooring manufacturers, we are among those that regularly receive direct referrals and troubleshooting assignments from the “big players”.
For example, carpet is often shipped in huge and heavy rolls and can sometimes develop compressed fibres in certain areas. Manufacturers will often seek out reputable cleaning professionals to correct those issues on site.
The cleaning industry has also seen technological advances in products like “wool safe” solutions that ensure manufacturers maintenance stipulations are met by companies that are trained to use these speciality products.
While I am not naive to suggest that we have achieved “Détente”, there is certainly a much healthier relationship between these two former combatants!
I for one look forward to more seminars & think tanks, that allow both manufacturers and cleaning professionals to sculpt new partnership models, that have the ultimate goal of exceeding the expectations of our clients!