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MSN E-Newsletter May 2016

To view current and archived issues of Maintenance Sales News, click here.


By Rick Mullen
Maintenance Sales News Associate Editor

Michael Patterson, president of the International Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc. (IEHA), spoke to cleaning industry professionals on the importance of building strong relationships with customers, during a recent educational seminar.

While Patterson primarily works in the housekeepers segment of the industry,
which includes those who do the actual cleaning of facilities, he said the principles
outlined adapt well to janitorial/sanitation distributorships.

“To build solid relationships, we must get to know the customer,” Patterson said. “Building relationships is extremely important, whether it is a healthcare environment, in a hotel with sales and catering, in distribution, etc. It is extremely important to know the key players in a customer’s organization, because they are either going to make you or break you — make them your best friends.”

In order for a cleaning industry company to effectively build customer relationships, the organization’s staff/team members must all be on board with the mission. Patterson spoke of how owners, managers and department heads can best lead and instill their staff with the most effective strategies and techniques of relationship building. He outlined some scenarios a new manager might face when taking over a department.

“You don’t want to be what I call a ‘coffee and tea’ manager or director, where you see your people on the fly, speak to them while you are getting yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and that is all,” Patterson said. “I have taken over departments that were in total disarray. In this scenario, you must solve the problems. Nine times out of 10, when you take over a department, it has a lot of problems. Otherwise, the former director or manager would probably still be there. Obviously, that is not applicable in every case.

“When I take over a department, one of the first things I do is have my team conduct a critical analysis. I want them to be able to articulate to me problems that have created issues for them in the past. Then we can problem solve together. At the same time, I am building a scenario where I am getting my team to think critically.”

Patterson outlined some key starting points in building customer relationships:

A Great Start Is A Beginning
• Introduce yourself;
• Initiate conversation;
• Ask important questions;
• Follow-up;
• Respond timely; and,
• Provide accurate information.

“It is important to learn how to introduce yourself,” Patterson said. “When I walk into an environment, I typically seek the administrative assistant. You can do that in any setting. The administrative assistant is a key individual, because he or she knows everything that is going on in the facility.

“After you introduce yourself and are beginning the process of building a relationship, it is important that you learn how to ask key questions.”

Patterson said in building a viable and strong relationship with a customer, it is critical for the cleaning or sales team to do what they tell the customer they are going to do. It is also important for team members to report back with complete and accurate information.

“I don’t like for a team member to give me bits and pieces of information, omitting some things,” Patterson said. “He or she may not tell me about an issue that will later become a problem. Make sure your team provides accurate information.”

Thinking Proactively

Another key Patterson outlined in establishing meaningful relationships is the ability to handle problems or issues early on, before the situation escalates out of control.

“Does your team think proactively?” Patterson asked the audience. “If you don’t have a team that thinks proactively, you are going to have problems down the road. It is easier to address a negative situation in its infancy stage than when it grows to be a ‘tsunami.’”

Patterson encouraged the audience to teach their teams/staffs to be attentive in gathering pertinent information to foster lasting customer relationships.

“I require my team to have a notebook at all times,” Patterson said.

Taking notes on what they see and hear, while visiting or working at a customer’s facility, aids team members in thinking proactively. This helps solve problems and meet a client’s needs quickly and efficiently, Patterson said.

Another key element in relationship building Patterson shared is honesty. He made the following points:

• A reputation of honesty and integrity is crucial to building long-term customer relationships. In fact, customer trust can be as important as the quality of services you offer;

• Always keep your commitments. Attempts to earn trust by making commitments that cannot be kept will only hurt the customer relationship; and,

• Be open and honest about any problems you encounter. If you cannot meet a deadline or encounter difficulties providing a specific service, notify the customer immediately.

Part of being honest, Patterson said, is owning up to mistakes.

“When you make a mistake, it is OK,” he said. “People would rather you learn from your mistake and then correct it. How often do we make a mistake and fail to be responsible while trying to cover it up? This is not a good way to establish a relationship with a key customer. Honesty is extremely important. It is better to tell someone, ‘I made a mistake; however, we will correct it immediately.’ That is integrity. People admire someone who says, ‘I made a mistake. We should have done it this way.’ How transparent are you in your business dealings?”

An integral part of the relationship process is feedback, Patterson said. He displayed the following slide on the subject:

• Feedback includes seeking suggestions on new features or products that are of interest to the customer, as well as critiques of current products and features. This will, not only build customer loyalty, but also provide important information about customers’ needs and satisfaction. Let your customers know that honest, constructive feedback is encouraged, and be open to suggestions from your customers as to how you can improve your business; and,

• Always listen carefully and respond in a manner that lets the client know you understand the suggestions or critiques that have been offered.

In discussing the importance of feedback, Patterson alluded to the common saying, “No news is good news.” He said, although on the surface this sentiment sounds logical, in reality, it is a sophistry.

(back to top)

Michael Patterson

Is No News Good News?
• Are you a coffee and tea manager?;
• No news is not always good news;
• If a particular manager is quiet and not engaging in conversations, you might want to ask some questions; and
• Don’t dodge complaints.

“No news is always good news — I disagree,” Patterson said. “If you are running a department (or a distributorship, etc.), the expectation is you are going to be able to run it well. You are going to be responsive and do the things you need to do for your customers. Oftentimes, when we haven’t heard any feedback, we think it is a sign of good news. Don’t believe it.”

Patterson said if a manager is not receiving feedback from team members or customers, he or she must find out why. Sometimes people are reluctant to pass on customer complaints to their supervisors. This can be detrimental in establishing relationships.

“Complaints can be a good thing, because you can learn from them and correct problems,” Patterson said. “Nothing is perfect. You are going to have problems. Take those complaints and become proactive. Correct problems and move on. Don’t always look at complaints as being a ‘negative.’”

Patterson spoke of how to deal with reoccurring complaints from customers on the same issue.

“If you are getting the same complaint over and over, it may be time to look into your manager, or supervisor, or the frontline worker,” Patterson said. “You need to look at your internal processes. Dodging complaints is a recipe for disaster. You need to deal with complaints head-on.”

Another strategy Patterson covered in establishing and building relationships with customers is to maintain a database of pertinent information about clients. It is a good idea, he said, to take advantage of modern technologies, to record data, such as email addresses, phone numbers, etc., in one readily accessible file.

“We are in an age of electronics,” Patterson said. “We are too technical now for any of us, as professionals, to have to sit down and thumb through our desk drawer to find a customer’s business card.”

When meeting with customers, a company’s team members must develop the skill of listening attentively, Patterson said. He shared the following information:

Listen actively to what the customer is saying
• An angry customer generally just wants someone to vent his or her anger to and, today, you are that person. That means you need to do your best to listen carefully to what he or she is saying;

• Give the customer your undivided attention. Do not look around, space out or let other things distract you; and,

• Look at the speaker and really listen to what he or she is saying. Listen for the answer to these questions: What happened to make the customer upset? What does he or she want? What can you do to help?

“You can’t get upset because a customer is upset,” Patterson said. “Are you able to separate your personal feelings from the situation? Remain professional at all times. Learn to set your personal feelings aside — it is all about business. It shouldn’t be personal.”

One technique that is critical in clearly understanding a customer’s complaint, or what issues he or she is having, is to be able to repeat what the client has been saying. This shows that the team member is listening, and will confirm that the problem, issue or complaint will be handled.

Patterson also emphasized, when listening to a customer, the team member must guard against jumping to conclusions before he or she hears the whole story.

“You must learn to listen attentively, so that you can correctly respond to the question, or what they are asking of you,” he said.

Two more elements of building relationships Patterson covered are to sympathize with the customer’s problems, complaints or issues, and to be quick to apologize for mistakes.

“The customer may be upset already — don’t antagonize him or her further,” Patterson said. “Be professional. Learn to sympathize with the individual.

“Nobody likes to apologize. What happens when your department makes the same mistake three or four times? Do you keep apologizing? You must address the situation. You have an internal problem. Once you fix the problem, it should not continue to reoccur. If it is reoccurring, the customer is not going to be very happy with you. He or she will say, ‘We had this problem two weeks ago. You told me you fixed it. You sent me an email saying it was corrected, but it has happened two more times.’

“You must apologize, then get with your team, close the door, and have a very frank conversation as to why the problem continues to happen.”

Patterson said once a problem is identified, immediate action must be taken.

“If you know you have a problem, fix it,” he said. “Problems don’t solve themselves. The longer you wait to address a problem, the more headaches you are going to have. Tackle the problem head-on.

“Remember we are all in this together. There may be times when it is difficult — you may want to throw in the towel. It is important to understand the customer comes first. It is not about you.

“If someone needs you to handle a situation, respond very quickly. Address issues before they become big problems.”

Patterson closed by reviewing the seven salient points of his presentation. They are:
• Build a solid relationship with the customer;
• Make a personal connection. Get to know the customer;
• A great start is a beginning;
• Ask the customer, “What else can I do?” I want to win your trust;
• Do not assume everything is OK because people are not talking. Once a problem is identified, take action. Instill in team members, “We are going to do it right the first time, every time;” and,
• We are all in this together — one team, one mission.

Contact: Michael Patterson, IEHA president,
1001 Eastwind Drive, Suite 301,
Westerville, OH 43081-3361.
Phone: 301-518-9244.

Continue To Upgrade Customer Service
DDI System’s Cross Country Managers Meet In Austin, TX

“DDI System executives, customer support managers and service leaders from across the country met in Austin, TX, recently. With transition methods in place, this team was challenged to generate new ideas and expand upon existing practices to ensure distributors receive the highest level of support during and after an ERP software transition,” according to a press release.

“Additional DDI experts were identified for mobile application support, advanced demand forecasting consultation, WMS installations, documentation creation and more. Additional ways to train Inform users throughout the implementation process were encouraged including DDI Inform user eLearning video library, highlighting the embedded and help file, and granting early access to DDI’s ‘Client Services Portal’ to ensure new users are speaking with power users.”


“Transitioning to DDI’s Inform ERP software includes an industry expert coming onsite six weeks before the go-live date to review current business practices and train the team. New users are able to practice on the Inform software with their own data and run their business simultaneously on the old system.”

“DDI System's Inform ERP distribution management software is an award winning, industry specific solution for wholesale suppliers. It combines everyday operational benefits in accounting, inventory, sales, purchasing and pricing with the latest sales driving tools such as cloud connectivity, mobile apps, embedded CRM, real-time e-commerce and more,” said DDI.

Visit or call DDI System for a complimentary demonstration at 877-599-4334.

With 2015 Platinum Award For On-Time Shipping Performance
General Motors Customer Care And After-Sales Division Honors U.S. Battery

“U.S. Battery Manufacturing recently received a Platinum Award from General Motor's Customer Care and After-Sales Division, in recognition of the company's on-time shipping performance, which exceeded GM’s expectations,” according to a press release.

“U.S. Battery's dedication and commitment to consistently perform above expectations are very much appreciated by the entire General Motors team,” said David Poole, General Motor’s director supply chain, and Michelle Braun, GM’s executive director global purchasing.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing has three distribution plants located in Corona, CA; Augusta and Evans, GA, which can ship the company’s products to dealers and distributors worldwide.

“We’re proud to be recognized by General Motors, and receive its platinum level award for our shipping performance,” said Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/executive VP, sales and marketing.


“U.S. Battery strives to achieve this level of performance not only to General Motors, but to all our dealers, large and small, who operate domestically or internationally.”

U.S. Battery manufactures a variety of deep-cycle batteries that are all manufactured in the USA.

Call 800-695-0945 or visit for more information.


Nyco Named Community Partner Of The Year By Helping Hand Center

Nyco Products Company was recently named Community Partner of the Year for 2015 by Helping Hand Center (HHC), an organization that provides programs and services to children and adults with disabilities in Countryside, IL.

“The Community Partner Award is presented to a business or organization that demonstrates ongoing commitment to multiple service areas of Helping Hand Center,” said Nyco.

Nyco, a manufacturer of specialty cleaning chemicals and sanitary maintenance brands, has been a long-time customer of Helping Hand Center’s workshop program, providing work and income for clients each year. Nyco also participates in customized employment, hiring clients from HHC for tailored positions within the company.

In addition, Nyco team members have performed summer service projects to clean and resupply classrooms in HHC’s School for Children with Autism.

“We’re thankful to have such a wonderful neighbor in our community that has partnered with us in various ways,” said Amy Moran, senior programs officer of Helping Hand Center. “Nyco has offered the full spectrum of giving to our agency, including needed products, business know-how and volunteer time. We’re very grateful to everyone at Nyco.

Shown are Nyco Products Label Technician Morris Toles, who was hired from Helping Hand Center, and Nyco Products Administrative Services Manager Jeanne Stahurski Wilson,
who helped hire Toles.

“At Nyco, we believe there’s more to business than just making money,” said Bob Stahurski, president and CEO. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the community by helping other organizations build and grow.”

Nyco was founded in 1920 and is family-owned, Visit for more information.

Helping Hand Center is a nonprofit organization that has served the Chicagoland area since 1955. Visit for more information.

BNC-15™ Disinfectant From Spartan Chemical Features
3-Minute Contact Time

Spartan Chemical Company, Inc., now offers BNC-15™, an EPA-registered, one-step, cleaner disinfectant.

Spartan said, “Time is of the essence when it comes to cleaning in healthcare or other high risk facilities; proper disinfection on high-touch surfaces is mission critical to ensuring infection control, and in healthcare, reducing the risk of healthcare associated infections (HAIs). BNC-15 offers 3-minute disinfection for most common bacteria and viruses and a 60-second disinfection for the HIV-1 and Influenza type A/Hong Kong virus. In addition, BNC-15 provides Norovirus efficacy in 5 minutes and provides non-food contact sanitization in just 15 seconds.”

BNC-15 delivers non-acid disinfection and cleaning in an economical concentrate, and is a “one-step” disinfectant, cleaner, sanitizer, fungicide, mildewstat, virucide, deodorizer, which is effective in water up to 250-ppm hardness in the presence of 5 percent serum contamination, according to Spartan.



“At Spartan, we understand that cleaning operations are under constant pressure to do more with less,” Spartan Chemical Company President John Swigart said. “BNC-15 is designed to quickly and effectively provide disinfection so that cleaning operations can provide clean and healthy facilities in the most efficient manner.”

Spartan Chemical Company, Inc. has been a formulator and manufacturer of sustainable cleaning and sanitation products for the industrial and institutional market since 1956.

Visit for more information.

Kutol Offers Free E-Guide
On Restroom Budget Control:
How Foaming Hand Soap Saves Product Costs

“Since hand soap is one of the largest consumable line items in a restroom maintenance budget, Kutol Products Company offers a free restroom budget control e-guide: How Foaming Hand Soap Saves Product Costs,” according to the company.

Included in this e-guide are a number of comparisons between traditional liquid hand soap and foam hand soap including usage per hand wash, cost per hand wash, and how many hand washes a 1,000-mL refill will provide.

The restroom budget control e-guide: How Foaming Hand Soap Saves Product Costs is available as a free download at under Tools & Resources/White Papers & E-Guides.

“Kutol Products Company, founded in 1912, is a manufacturer of quality commercial hand soaps, hand sanitizers and soap dispensing systems. Kutol manufactures all its products in Sharonville, OH, in its LEED Silver Certified, FDA-registered facility, following Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) regulations,” said the company.


Kutol’s line includes different hygiene products including antibacterial soaps, foaming and liquid hand soaps, hair and body washes, industrial hand cleaners, foam and gel hand sanitizers, as well as many Green Seal™ certified, USDA BioPreferred and EcoLogo approved products.

For Technicians And Do-It-Yourselfers
Permatex® Introduces Fast Orange® Grease X Mechanic’s Laundry Detergent

Permatex®, created for automotive maintenance and repair, has added to its Fast Orange Hand Cleaner line with Permatex Fast Orange® Grease X Mechanic’s Laundry Detergent. This professional grade laundry detergent is designed specifically for automotive technicians and do-it-yourselfers. It is specially formulated to remove automotive grease, stains, and odors from technicians work clothes.

Professional mechanics and do-it-yourselfers regularly complain about the difficulty of removing stains and odors from their clothes. An additional problem they face is the residue of grease that can be left in the washing machine after laundering heavily grease-stained clothes. This grease residue can end up on clothes washed in the next cycle.

“Fast Orange Grease X eliminates stains and odors from clothes, and the residue of grease that can be left in the washing machine after washing heavily grease-stained clothes. It features a built-in pre-treater that can remove up to 99 percent of automotive stains and odors. In addition, its proprietary soil release/antistatic agent helps repel future soils and keeps the washing machine clear of residual grease,” according to the company.

Fast Orange Grease X leaves a citrus aroma and helps repel future stains.

Sean Lyon, director of marketing and product management at Permatex, said, “We are excited about this cleaning breakthrough. Through our market research, we learned first-hand how frustrating it was for professional technicians to get their clothes clean. Our innovations team came up with an incredible solution, and we’re now able to bring it to the market for the first time.”


Since 1909, Permatex has been a developer of new products and services for the automotive aftermarket. Permatex markets products under ITW brand names such as Permatex®, Fast Orange®, Spray Nine®, the Right Stuff®, Gel Twist®, Ultra Bond® and Dr Bond®, Ultra Cherry®, and Grez-Off®.

Visit for more information.

Dutch Hollow Supplies Is
New Member-Dealer Of Triple S

Dutch Hollow Supplies, located in Belleville, IL, has become a Triple S (SSS®) member-dealer. Under the agreement, Dutch Hollow can now market the complete line of SSS® brand cleaning products and systems, and have access to the Triple S Achieve Workloading analysis tools.

SSS® products are used to clean and maintain healthcare facilities, hotels, schools, colleges, offices, malls, airport terminals, government and many other types of facilities.

Triple S Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing Eric Flinton said, “We are pleased that Mark Cadell, president, and his team are now a member of the Triple S family.”


Based in Billerica, MA, Triple S is a member-owned, national distribution, networking, sales, marketing and logistics company in the facility maintenance industry. It has 120 member-dealers and three regional distribution centers across the United States. Visit for more information.

Rankin Publishing Co., Inc. | 204 E. Main St., P.O. Box 130 | Arcola, Illinois 61910-0130, USA
(800) 598-8083 (217) 268-4959 Fax: (217) 268-4815 | email:


Coming in the May/June 2016
print issue of MSN

The Guide To Green:
Environmentally Friendly Products

Focus On:
Maintenance Chemicals

Dispensers & Proportioners

Floorcare Equipment & Supplies

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