Train Your Team to Act With Compassion & Empathy


Those of us in the cleaning industry often meet clients during some of the most challenging periods of their lives. In the crime scene and trauma cleaning field, in particular, we frequently encounter people immediately after moments of unexpected crisis or trauma. They may be experiencing a wide range of traumatic emotions, including grief, shock, or guilt.

Providing customers with expertise and professionalism can help them on their journey through difficult circumstances. Acting quickly and with discretion allows them to focus on their priorities. Completing the job efficiently and effectively frees them to move on to the next steps of their process. Failing to clean a site properly could trigger more interruptions and potentially interrupt the grieving or healing process. Getting the job done right the first time is essential.

Success in the crime scene and trauma cleaning industry requires extraordinary compassion and empathy. However, those characteristics can’t just be turned on when team members arrive on the job site. It’s necessary to instill those crucial values into your company through culture and training to ensure that your team delivers the care and expertise that help customers get through trying times—and to build the trust and reputation for reliability that can help your company stand out.

Successful crime scene and trauma cleaning companies must prepare to help guide clients through stressful situations. Emergencies don’t always happen during business hours, so your team should think and act like first responders. When technicians are available around the clock, your company can respond effectively to any circumstances, regardless of day or time.

It’s equally critical for the entire team, from leadership to technicians and office staff, to understand the importance of treating customers and their property with respect. Discretion is a must in our industry. Train your team to respect any potentially sensitive situations and guide them with clear policies about confidentiality.

Technicians must always be prepared to do the job and help the client through each step of the process. That can be difficult if you find yourself in a situation you’ve never experienced before. It helps to spend time preparing for all the possibilities and devising general principles to help guide decision-making in difficult circumstances.

Ultimately, the respectful, compassionate service required in this industry must be based on a foundation of expertise and in-depth training. Professional delivery of technical services provides a base for the discretion and care each situation demands. So, in addition to unmarked vehicles and designated protocols to keep equipment and work areas out of public view, companies should closely monitor licensing, certification, and insurance requirements.

Companies also must equip service teams with the latest equipment and cleanup solutions while providing extensive, ongoing training in the newest methodologies and best practices. This ensures responders have the skills necessary to handle any situation professionally. Getting every job done right the first time, quickly and efficiently, is critical for our clients’ satisfaction and peace of mind and relieves any anxiety about neighbors or the media.

Our work also serves the broader community. In the crime scene and trauma cleaning field, for example, hazardous materials, bloodborne pathogens, and other potentially harmful substances can quickly spread beyond the initial site if remediation is delayed or incomplete. Our responsibility extends to anyone who could be affected by the substances we are tasked with cleaning.

The peace of mind our industry provides can be an important part of helping customers return to the life they enjoyed before a catastrophic event. The value of that service ultimately opens many sustainable, profitable opportunities for business owners.

As homeowners increasingly recognize the full range of cleaning services available, companies that can most effectively meet their needs can position themselves to meet rising demand and set themselves as leaders in their market. Providing comprehensive service based on compassion and empathy is good for customers and communities—and good for business.

Danessa Itaya

Danessa Itaya is president of Bio-One®, a trusted crime and trauma scene cleaning franchise in the United States and part of the Five Star Franchising platform of brands. Itaya has more than 30 years of experience in the franchise industry, including 10 years of national and international leadership experience. She serves on the Women in Franchising Committee of the International Franchise Association and was named one of Entrepreneur’s Top Influential Women in Franchising in 2022.

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