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What can you do to fight the flu at work?

Posted by Linda Chambers on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 @ 10:32 AM

As consumer service providers cleaning contractors need to take extra steps in this high flu and cold season to protect themselves, their staff and their customers.

First if you or your staff are sick, I know it can be a big burden to your labor force but have them stay at home. Working, stressing their immune system, and spreading germs benefits no one.

Next have staff wash their hands even more than usual and if they can not get to a sink with warm soap and water put hand sanitizer or personal sanitizing wipes in each truck or rig. Have staff wipe off their cell phones at least once a day and especially if anyone else uses that phone. There are wipes safe to use on electronics. And even automatic cell phone sanitize machines you can buy. Some do both sanitize and charge!

wiping-cellphone.jpgWireless-wipes.jpg cellphone-sanitizer.jpg    sanitize-cellphone-charger.jpg

Next you have no idea what germs are running around at your customers either. If you have to go inside their home or business like carpet cleaners and kitchen hood cleaners, use hand sanitizer before and after and wipe down as many surfaces that you will have to touch as possible.

If you are an auto detailer and are cleaning a vehicle use disinfectant/sanitizing wipes after the normal cleaner to kill any lingering germs. Think of all the germs that live on a dash after a driver has sneezed while driving! man-driving-car-sneezing.jpg

Pay extra close attention to the steering wheel, dash, knobs and control buttons. Be sure the wipes you use will not harm the finishes you are cleaning like these  from this company, www.wipes.com.

Even if you only work outside of a customers home wipe down your own environment, like the inside of your truck once a day. Clean your hands after visits to convenience stores, restaurants or any public place and use a wipe to pick up and hold a gas handle while pumping gas.

If you have an office or work out of your home clean off phones, desk tops, key boards, anything you have touched or breathed on or into.  It may take a number of days or up to a week before you start to show symptoms and that is when the most damage is done before you know you are sick.

This is a good time to take extra vitamins, like C and B. Products like Airborne, one that I live by during flu season. If you start to feel run down, get extra sleep, eat foods with immune boosting properties; spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, ginger, garlic, yogurt and even foods like your mother's favorite chicken soup!

Also be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out your body or green tea. Daily light exercise (not to exhaustion) also gives a boost to your bodies natural defenses.

This may sound like overkill but the flu does kill too. Hope all of you stay well this cold and flu season.

Tags: Health

How to reach your goals.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

Many people start of a new year with resolutions. Things they want to accomplish either just for themselves or for their business, some big some small. But we all know that a majority of these promises by this time into the year are already starting to slip. Here are ways to be able to set a goal and stick to it through out the year.

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First you have decided to do something. Work out at the gym, eat better, get more sleep, cold call three new potential commercial customers a week, start or upgrade your referral program, etc. It does not matter what it is just that you pick a goal with a set desired end result.

Next you need to commit to it with a deadline. If you goal is to loose weight, set a certain number of pounds not too far into the future, say 10 lbs in 6 weeks. Or You want to have two new commercial contract customers by the end of next month. Setting a deadline to your goal even if not the entire amount of the goal helps put urgency to the goal and keeps you on track, so that you do not fall too far behind by the time the deadline is here.

Now write down your intentions or steps you plan to do to get your goal accomplished. Writing things down helps get your mind into the game. What steps will you need to do to get those two new commercial accounts. This will help you figure out if your goal is even reasonable.

1. How many do I need to contact?

2. Research and choose the best prospects.

3. Plan to go by, introduce yourself, leave materials.

4. Contact back to set up a time and day to do a demonstration.

5. Go and do the demo.

6. Get a commitment.

If you already know from past experience that it normally takes you five cold calls to set up a demonstration, and of those demos you normally sign one out of three the first time then that means you will need to make 30 cold calls to reach your goal. That is a lot of work for one months time. Do you have the time to commit to the goal of four weeks or should you extent it? Are there other ways to lower those numbers? Better research, using other resources like Linkedin?

Good cold calls take time to research. So you will have to set yourself a few hours each day to select companies you want to target. Just randomly stopping as you drive around town might work eventually but that could be a waste of a lot of expensive marketing materials, if you are doing more than just leaving a card. And may change your result numbers, taking more cold calls to get a demo, more demos to get a client that will be more time away to do jobs that are actually making money. 

Try to map out as many visits as possible in one area, at the times you are most likely to be able to see or at least briefly meet with the person that could set up a demonstration with you. If not just leave your marking materials and after talking with whom you do see, tell them when you will be calling the correct contact back. Be sure to get a card of whom will be the person to talk to, or their name, position, e-mail, number and when they are most likely to be there to take a call.

Once back in the office send a pre-written e-mail to the contact explaining who you are, what you would like to do for them and that you left materials there at their office for them to examine and tell them a set time when you will call to speak to them about setting up a demonstration. If you ask in the email for them to call you or ask for the meeting then most likely you will not get it. Give them some time to look over your information and call back when you said you would. Even if they can not take the call or are not there they will know you are serious and punctual.

Follow up with constancy is the last part of reaching your goal.

Once you do speak to the potential client even if they decline the demo. Keep them in your sales funnel and keep touching back every 3-4 months to see if conditions have changed.

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Having a nurturing program that continues follow ups and keeps potential new customers in your sales funnel is the key to reaching your goals. Steps 5-7 can be the hardest and the longest. Keep working and you will be rewarded.

 

Tags: sales funnel, resolutions, goals, business plan

Today is National "Get to know your Customer Day"

Posted by Linda Chambers on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 10:55 AM

I bet you did not know there was a "Get to know your Customer Day". Well neither did I. It is actually observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, April, July, October) not just once a year. But this is a good time to mention something you should be trying to do all the time. Because the more we know our customer the better we can sell to them and service their needs. Plus touching base with your customers every quarter is a great way to keep on their mind and get referrals even if they do not buy services again from you at the time.

There are some things you can do to make your customer feel appreciated and wanting to spend more with you. Write a personal note of thanks: everyone likes to know you like them as a customer and if has been proven that a simple handwritten note or post card can do a lot. Be sure that you are just saying thanks, not trying to sell them, use pretty stationary not strictly business printing.

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Send those customers that spend above a certain amount a small swag gift or a gift card. It can be something as inexpensive as a $1.00 koozie or a $5 card to Starbucks (if you know they drink coffee, which I do not).

You can discount a customers sale for long term loyalty, for instance 10% off at their customer anniversary. Or give them a percentage back for each year they have been a customer on their anniversary.

Choose one customer a quarter to highlight as a case study on your website, Facebook page, in a news letter or other way. Focus on the job you did for them; how you turned a negative into a positive, how a problem was fixed, how you came to the rescue for a customer, did a job free for a non profit, worked with an organization on a cleaning project. These personalized write ups can bring attention to certain aspects of your business not everyone may know. Can bring great SEO to your business and gain you new customers.

Make sure you have an use a customer referral program. Satisfied customers are your best selling asset and Never forget, you do not have a business without your customers.

Tags: customer satisfaction, thank yous, referral program

Safety Year in Review 2017 and forward into 2018

Posted by Linda Chambers on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

There were some safety issues of 2017 that you may not have heard about or that you should be aware of moving into 2018.

As everyone knows 2017 was a year full of Natural Disasters: Hurricanes; Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires in CA and the West and man made ones; mass shootings, vehicles used as weapons on civilians and the opioid health emergency. Of course we can not foresee many of these but some we can prepare for and prevent.

 

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Ca wildfires

 

LasVegasShooting

With the opioid crisis the DOT has just passed a rule adding four opioids to mandatory drug testing starting Jan 1, 2018 for vehicle operators but has removed the requirement for blind specimen testing by blood or urine and added oral fluid testing and/or hair testing as approved methods. As long as your employees that drive your DOT permitted trucks have their current CDL license and Hazmat training, if hauling hazmat chemicals, they are not required to take a drug test since your vehicles are not for hire. But be aware that since your business must be listed publicly as holding a DOT permit you may get third party scammers calling trying to make you believe that with this new rule your employees must immediately get drug tested for opioids in order to continue operating your company vehicles. They may tell you that you need to pay to go to a testing facility right way which of course they can get you an apointment and take payment over the phone. The DOT just published a warning on their website about this and that "the U.S. Government does not endorse private businesses or vendors, and the use of a service provider is NOT required by FMCSA." Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. So know you are not included in this new rule and do not be tricked.

Next we know you should have fire extinguishers on your rigs and in your facilities where you use and store chemicals and many of you use inexpensive box store brand extinguishers. So you need to know about the huge recall applying to 40 million Kidde brand 134 models, manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017. This covers both plastic handle and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers. You should stop relying on these if you have them and replace them with another brand or Kidde Model. Having and trying to use one of these that may fail when needed can open you up to lawsuits or refusals by your insurance company to pay on a fire insurance claim.

In 2017 INSI/ISEA came up with a new standard for dropped objects prevention solutions. This standard covers anchor points, attachment points, tool tethers and anti-drop storage, such as self closing bags for above ground workers. So if your company has employees working on roofs or above ground as with window washing you need to update your self to the new standards. This is to reduce the number of "struck by" incidents that has been on the increase, up 8.6% in 2015, attributing to 247 deaths that year.

Cantsleep

Sleep deprivation was also a focus in 2017. The National Safety Council reported that almost half of working Americans do not get enough sleep to safely perform assigned duties on the job. Sleep impairment can be as bad as with using drugs or alcohol. Stating employers need to put more emphasis on their employees getting a good nights sleep and not allowing workers to perform dangerous tasks just like they would if they were coming to work intoxicated. In a survey 43% of Americans admitted they do not get enough sleep and it effected them thinking clearly, making correct decisions and were less productive while at work. Consider using the topic of Sleep deprivation in your next safety meeting. I suggest first handing out a survey asking about your employees work habits before mentioning what the meeting will cover to get the best and most honest answers.

In another 2017 report the CDC found one in four US adults have hearing loss from work related issues. That while American think they have good or excellent hearing they in fact have permanent hearing damage. And 20% of people that stated they had no work related noise exposure still had hearing damage caused by things at home like using a leaf blower without protection, listening to music with ear buds set too loud or just by attending concerts. Be sure all your employees have and know when to use hearing protection when operating or even just working around equipment on the job.

AED in box

For 2018 the AHA, American Heart Association is going to launch a campaign calling for more training by workers to be able to respond to workplace cardiac emergencies. Also for increased public access to AED's, automatic external deliberators. In a 2017 survey they found that most American workers are not prepared to handle or assist in heart emergencies due to lack of training in CPR and basic first aid. I challenge each of you to have a CPR class given at your work place or take it upon your self as an individual to go take a class. The small amount it costs in time and money is worth the life of a co-worker, friend or loved one. I myself have been CPR certified since I was a teen and AED certified for over 20 years, when AED's first where put out publicly. I have so far assisted in saving three lives. Or at least they were alive when they were taking away by ambulance. There is only a 5 minute survival window for a victim of sudden cardiac arrest with the survival depending upon early CPR and having access to an AED within that 5 minute timeframe. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a sudden cessation of cardiac mechanical activity that causes the victim to stop breathing and have no pulse. Annually, almost 400,000 people experience out of hospital cardiac arrest and 9 out of 10 of these victims die. When bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using AED's before EMS arrives, 38% survive. If we can increase the rate of survival from even 7% to 20%, 50,000 lives could be saved each year.

Here is to everyone having a safe 2018.

Tags: safety

Task Cards, what are they, how can you use them?

Posted by Linda Chambers on Tue, Jan 02, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Growing up I am sure all of you knew what flash cards were. And I am sure your teachers or even parents used them with you. These days classrooms call these same type cards and others "Task Cards" and they have evolved to cover more than just spelling and math problems.

Task Cards are now being used to help kids with social problem solving. These same ideas of using Task Cards are now moving into the adult work place as well. So when and where could Task Cards ever help your business?

Task Cards can be made and used for team building, for OSHA and office training, to reinforce or teach a task to an employee, to allow an employee to confidentially bring up an issue to be discussed, to set or correct the moral climate in the work place and many others.

Here are some examples of Task Cards;

SampleTaskCards

You can make your Task Cards to fit your business and employees specific needs. You can also choose when to use them; to start off your daily work meeting, only for training classes, or just when a situation comes up you want to address non confrontationally. I feel the more you use Task Cards the easier and more open your employees will be when answering the questions or discussing the situation with the group that the card brings up. You could start with only using them for training, for how to use a product, how to handle a job situations only and later move on to the more difficult to discuss moral situation question cards.

You might ask why do the moral cards at all? It is strange to me how those that work in a group can all know what sports teams each of them pull for but not know who they feel they can trust or who in the group will support them. Members of a work group need to feel they are thought to be competent, valued, and trusted by the ones they work with in order to get the work done quickly and well. Discontentment between employees can quickly slow down and bring down the performance level of the group as a whole. I am sure you have noticed when a team has worked for a while together and has a certain repore then a new person is added or someone is replaced it will take a while for that group to be up to the same performance level they had as the former team. Of course it may prove that the new group works even better than the original but it will always take a little time to get there. Using a pre set pack of Task Cards with the new formed group before they go out together can allow the old members to learn what the new person knows or can bring to the team or can clue them in to what they will have to teach or show the new member to get work up to the business standard of the company. I hope some of you will consider and try to use Task Cards with your employees this year. And if you do, let us know how it worked out.

 

 

 

Tags: Task Cards, Employees, training

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