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Dealing With Cleaning Customer Complaints

A cleaning business owner wrote the following in response to a Tip of the Week article called "Do You Dread Cleaning Customer Phone Calls?"

We have a little over 100 customers in our company and I dread those complaint calls. We fortunately get very few and there is a reason for this. We deal with the same employee problems and quality problems as other companies.

While this info may not be profound it may help some of you. Here's what we do to prevent these calls:

1. We start with good training.

2. New employees require a lot of initial supervision until they are capable of working on their own. Additionally, a supervisor just visiting a site, unannounced, while the employee is working, tells the employee that a supervisor is liable to stop by any night at any time. This goes a long way in not only "keeping them on their toes" but also letting them know we care about them and are available as support for them at any time.

3. We use a checklist/communication log at every site. The employee puts her initials next to every task performed on the list. There is also a communications section for the employee to leave messages for the client and, more importantly, for the client to communicate with the employee and our supervisors. Many minor issues are addressed and resolved right here before they become complaints.

4. Our office Administrator calls our clients on a regular basis, usually about once per month, and solicits their feedback. The most important question we ask our clients is "Are we meeting your expectations?". We also make ourselves available for walk-through evaluations with our clients at their request or convenience.

5. Of course, our supervisors perform periodic written evaluations on each site as well. Typically, once per month. Each site is different; some require more evaluating than others.

6. All feedback is documented and discrepancies are addressed. Discrepancies are addressed IMMEDIATELY, not the next time we service the client; even if it means going to the site immediately.

7. Quarterly we send and email survey of our performance to each client. Again, the most important question on the survey is "Are we meeting your expectations?". 

What do YOU do to deal with customer complaints? Post your comments by clicking on the Comments link below.

Do Your Cleaning Clients Consider You "Referrable"?

In a recent survey at, 50% of the respondents said that most of their business came from referrals and word of mouth. Yet when I talk to cleaning business owners, most don't have a "system" for getting referrals. So how are they doing it? They're simply more "referrable".

What qualities should you possess to become more referrable? Here are the top four:
  1. Trustworthy. People do business with people they trust. If you and your employees demonstrate trustworthiness to your clients, chances are they will refer you to their friends and family. They would never consider referring you if they didn't feel you were trustworthy.
  2. Treat your employees as you treat your customers. We always tell our employees how important our customers are to us, but did you ever stop to consider that your employees treat your customers the way you treat THEM? Think about that the next time your behavior isn't what you'd like your customers to see. Chances are, your employees are mirroring your behavior to your customers.
  3. Create "buzz" about your company. Companies that are "referrable" are good at generating buzz about their business, especially if it concerns great customer service. People who receive exceptional service and are rewarded with WOW moments, love to talk about it. So what are you doing to WOW your customers?
  4. Giver's gain philosophy. When networking, stop thinking about what you can sell or how many customers you can gain by attending this function. Instead, focus on what you can do to help other people - what can you GIVE them to help their business? People who live by this philosophy have all the referrals they can handle.

Is Fear Holding You Back From Succeeding In Your Cleaning Business?

It seems ironic that people would be fearful of succeeding in business. After all, aren't we all in business to succeed? I don't think too many people want to invest time and money into a business that is doomed to fail.

Yet many of us ARE fearful of success, and there are many reasons:

  • the responsibility that goes with success
  • lack of self esteem (I don't deserve to have success in my life so I'll settle for less)
  • fear of making a fool of myself
  • if I make a mistake my business will fail so it's easier to stay on the safe path

Most people consider Michael Jordan the most successful basketball player in history. Yet he's missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, lost almost 300 games, and 26 times he attempted the winning shot and missed. He once said, "I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."

Keep in mind, failing does not mean you're a failure -- unless you fail to learn from your mistakes. It's better to be willing to try new things, even if it feels out of your comfort zone. If you're going to fail, it's better to fail quickly. And if you DO fail, figure out the lesson, learn from it and either don't do it again or figure out how to do it differently so it works.

So what is holding you back? If it's fear, get over it. You never know what success could come from your next failed attempt. Think about what you could do today that you have been putting off out of fear. Then go ahead and give it a shot. You've got nothing to lose!

Share your thoughts, fears and successes by clicking on the Comments link below.