Tag Archive for: helen bielby

Q&A with Merry Maids Multi Award-Winner Debbie Walker

We sat down with multi-award-winning franchisee Debbie Walker of Merry Maids of Croydon to discuss the value of a cleaner who cares.

During this year’s Merry Maids awards ceremony, we recognised many of our franchisees for their success and hard work.

Debbie Walker, the owner of Merry Maids of Croydon, who is currently a finalist in the prestigious HSBC BFA British Franchise Awards, picked up a whopping three awards in the A Great Place to Invest, Customer Service, and Great Place to Work categories.

I sat down with Debbie following her win(s) to discuss her formula for success and how she feels about having built a thriving Merry Maids franchise in this, her 20th year in business.

How does it feel to be a multi-award-winning Merry Maids Franchise?

“[I’m] so, so proud. Which is what I said to my team when we celebrated the day after.”

“I’m so proud of the team and of the business. Somewhat overwhelmed that we’d won three. A hat trick can’t be bad, can it?”

How did you celebrate with your team?

“I got the team together the next day and told them about what we’d been entered for, what the categories were and what we’d won, and explained to them how important that was and how very much they, as a team, helped to gain those awards.”

“And there was spontaneous applause from the team, [which was] rather lovely. “I was quite choked when talking to them about it. They were delighted. I think it’s that: ‘We’ve done that!’ It’s a real feel-good factor.”

“I think it’s also easy to forget that your staff are fundamental to what you do, so to me, they needed to be part of the celebration and recognised for their achievement. We bought all the staff a celebratory bottle of wine and an individual card.”

“What was also lovely was Nicky Morris at Merry Maids of Fylde and Blackpool sent us a beautiful big box of chocolates, which the staff are enjoying.”

In your view, what has been the basis of the success that you’ve had recently?

“An awful lot of hard work, not just on my part, but on the whole team.”

“We have 28 staff focused on doing their best work.”

“I also very much see that we have a wider team. People like our accountant, Wirehouse, whom we use for our health and safety, yourselves at ServiceMaster and the marketing team and brand manager Vikki, who have all been instrumental in giving a lot of support to the business and enabled us to keep fresh and constant.”

“I think it’s easy when you’ve been in business for nearly 20 years as we have to sit back on your laurels and think: ‘Well, we know how to do it.’”

“There are many things like social media that didn’t exist when we set up the business. But I think you’ve constantly got to embrace new ideas and technology, whatever they may be.”

How do you plan to keep up your momentum of customer service and all of those things going forward?

“I’m reassessing our quality management program to ensure we deliver our best service.”

“We are also looking at our management and administration structure to ensure that we have a broad breadth of knowledge across the team. This will free more time to support our recruits, who need thorough training and encouragement to integrate successfully.”

“We’re looking at an internal restructure to focus on different aspects of the business that I think are important moving forward because I think you have to be a bit like Madonna: You have to keep reinventing yourself.”

“I’ve not got the moves that Madonna’s got, though…”

Well, there’s still time.

[Laughs]

What makes Merry Maids of Croydon a great place to invest for your customers?

“Going back to [my] previous career, one role was working within the community with elderly and disabled clients.”

“I took what I learned there about the value of community and community support and brought it into my business.”

“It’s super important because we need to differentiate from other cleaning businesses and find our niche.”

“I think the world has changed for the better as a real value is placed on what companies do within a community. We want to be part of our community and a business with a heart.”

“Hopefully, it means that individuals looking to purchase from Merry Maids of Croydon appreciate the work ethic and the core values that we have within business and want to align with that.”

In your view, what is the value of customer service?

“Service is paramount, whatever organisation you’re in.”

“It goes from the initial contact, through the sales process to the delivery point where you’ve got staff going out to see the clients.”

“But it doesn’t stop there. Customer service moves on through the customer experience.”

“We still speak to the clients that have been with us for years to ensure we understand and meet their evolving needs.”

What makes Merry Maids of Croydon a great place to work?

“I think it has to be friendly and fun.”

“There is no doubt about it: cleaning is hard work. There must be a great team spirit, and that has to be built from the centre of the business. So, we’re very much about rewarding and recognising our staff for what they do well.”

“Every day, staff receive communication from us, whether they’re in the office or not. And it’s always uplifting. We try very hard never to be negative.”

“To me, both staff and customer experience are about understanding. That’s understanding people’s problems or what may affect them daily.”

“For staff, personal situations impact hugely on work life. If we can help in any way, that’s vital.”

“If we can be a listening ear and they feel that they can come to work, leave their troubles behind them, and have a happy, cohesive environment, that’s super important.”

“It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it’s a new member of staff who’s only been with us a few weeks or 16 years, we want them to feel they’re valued, and that’s how we try to go about it.”

Want an award-winning and caring cleaning service?

If you are local to the Croydon area, contact Debbie and the rest of the Merry Maids of Croydon team today by calling 020 8663 3268.

If you would benefit from regular or one-off cleaning services from one of our teams across the UK, contact your local cleaning experts today by finding your nearest Merry Maids business or book online through our online shop.

Q&A with Merry Maids Award Winners Helen Bielby and Becky Hewitt

We sat down with Helen Bielby and Becky Hewitt of Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield, who were recently awarded the coveted Merry Maids Award of Excellence.

During the recent Merry Maids awards ceremony, we recognised many of our franchisees for their successes and hard work.

Possibly the most coveted award of the ceremony was the Award of Excellence, which awards franchisees who exemplify brilliance in our network.

This was awarded to Helen Bielby and Becky Hewitt, who own and operate Merry Maids of Sutton Coldfield.

Their dedication to the brand and to providing excellent service shines through at all times and makes them worthy winners of this award.

When delivering their award, Brand Leader Vikki Donnachie said of the business:

“They have fully embraced all of the support given to them. They’re a fantastic advocate and have seen some great results.”

“They get involved in network events and their community, and have had some brilliant results and have won a couple of awards from it.”

“They’re always looking to innovate and rise to new challenges. I think we all welcome the congratulations for these two.”

Following their win, we sat down with Helen and Becky to discuss what it meant to them.

Congratulations on your award! How does it feel to be a Merry Maids Award winner?

“We were so happy to win the award! We have worked tirelessly this year to develop new innovative ways to build our business and gain new customers, so having the recognition for this is incredible!”

Have you done anything to celebrate your win?

“We plan to have a team night out in September as soon as the summer holiday ends.”

How did your staff react to your win?

“They were all delighted to hear the news. It is down to their hard work, dedication and willingness to try new things that we have won this award.”

In your view, what has been the basis of your recent success?

“The development and marketing of our online booking system has made an incredible change to the business. We appreciate that people are busy. So, developing a way for customers to book their clean online in just a few clicks has been incredibly successful.”

“We have also worked hard to establish business connections and relationships with local estate and letting agents, which has meant we have been able to grow the business further.”

How do you deliver excellence to your customers?

“All of our team undertake a rigorous 6-week training programme when they start. This training continues throughout their employment.”

“We also spot-check cleans to ensure our standards are being met. We provide a great customer relationship experience from start to end.”

“We also make sure we retain our incredible team. They care about our customers and the service we provide to them.”

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

“Always listen to what your employees and customers need, and you won’t go far wrong!”

What do you think sets you apart from other cleaning businesses in the industry?

“We are professional and reliable. Very few cleaning businesses have been established as long as we have (24 years). So, whilst we will never rest on our laurels, we know we are getting it right 100% of the time.”

Want an excellent cleaner?

You have more important things to do than cleaning.

If you’re in Sutton Coldfield and need an excellent cleaning service, call Helen and Becky on 0121 313 1005 or book online today.

Or, nationwide, get a free quote on our services today by finding your nearest Merry Maids business.

Father’s Day: Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield

We sat down with Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield for Father’s Day.

In honour of Father’s Day – we’re spotlighting the father/daughter business Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield – co-owned by Helen Bielby and Becky Hewitt – but has been in Helen’s family for many years.

Helen’s father still works within the business and so the pair still enjoy sharing their professional lives as father and daughter.

We spoke to Helen about what it was like to work with her father and the history of this particular family business.

The history

In August 1980, a month before Helen was born, both of Helen’s parents were made redundant around the same time.

“They decided to create their own destiny, get out of engineering and purchase a franchise pooling their redundancy money,” Helen says.

They purchased a ServiceMaster franchise – ServiceMaster North Birmingham – which included both the ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Clean brands under one umbrella.

The business was a family affair, with Helen, her brother, and Nan helping out doing the cleaning.

Her dad ran to the physical side of the business, whilst her mum handled the running and operation.

“ServiceMaster was run from home until 1999 – (ironically when I left home!) so we had no choice but to be part of the business from a young age,” Helen jokes.

“From cleaning fire-damaged items in our back garden to cleaning hotels, cleaning up flooded or fire-damaged homes with our Dad, Mom, Nan etc or dropping leaflets – me and my brother did it all – and occasionally got our pocket money too!”

Then, in 1999, Helen’s mum decided that she wanted to buy a Merry Maids franchise as well.

At the time, Helen was at university and would still help out with the cleaning on her break days, and after university, she would help with the books alongside her job.

When Helen’s mum passed away suddenly in 2010, Helen found herself having to handle both businesses.

They found Becky Hewitt, who was working part-time as in conveyancing at a solicitor’s office.

Helen and Becky hit it off from the start and “became best friends very, very quickly”.

When, in 2011, Helen’s dad decided he wanted to sell the Merry Maids, business, he suggested that Helen and Becky take it over together.

Helen says her family experience and the skills passed down by her dad stood her in great stead to manage the business and that she knew from years of experience that being a part of a ServiceMaster franchise and the Merry Maids was a no-brainer:

“My dad has taught me lots – how to deal with customers, how to work hard and most importantly to have a good brain for numbers!

“I know the brand so well I wouldn’t have thought to look elsewhere – the solidarity the other franchisees have with each other is also very important.”

Helen and Becky have now been running it for the last 13 years alongside working other jobs and raising young children.

Helen says that being a multi-generational business owner is very important to her and the fabric of the business.

“ServiceMaster has been a part of my life since I was a month old – I’m 42 now and very proud to continue to uphold our family traditions of providing reliable and professional cleaning services.”

As a parent herself, we asked Helen if she is hoping to leave a legacy behind for future generations.

“I don’t know to be honest,” she says.

“My children are too young right now – but both the 6-year-old and 4-year-old do love to clean so who knows what their future may be!”

Need help from the cleaning experts?

If you’re in Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding areas and would benefit from over 20 years of cleaning expertise, contact Helen and Becky today on 0121 313 1005 or book online for one-off or deep home cleaning.

Or, nationwide, find your local Merry Maids business today.