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February 2014
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April 2014

Keeping Your Cool with Un-Cool Cleaning Customers

Being a cleaning business owner, you are well aware of having to deal with unhappy customers. They may be upset about poor service, a door left unlocked, lights left on, garbage missed, and so on and so on. But what happens when the tables are turned? Our customers can try our patience as well. How many times has a prospect or customer showed up late for an appointment or not at all? What about a customer constantly being late on a payment, asking for additional cleaning without an additional charge, or just plain rude or obnoxious with you or your employees for no apparent reason? Instead of emotionally reacting to them, keep your cool and try to resolve the situation in a friendly manner.

It would be easy to just cut these customers loose and move on but as a business owner, you are well aware of how difficult it can be to find customers in this highly competitive cleaning industry and these tough economic times. Of course, you don’t want to allow these people to take advantage of you but you also don’t want to lose these people. The last thing you want to do is blow your stack and risk the chance of not only losing the customer, but blemishing your business name and brand. Anger is a completely normal human emotion and everyone has experienced it. It’s when this anger gets the better of you, causing you to lose your temper, which results in an abrupt, unpredictable and unfavorable response that quickly becomes detrimental for you, your customer, and your cleaning business.

Here are some tips on keeping your cool.

  1. Wait to respond. When your blood pressure begins to boil, delay your response until you have cooled down, especially if you need to contact the customer. This will allow you time to examine the issue and respond with a professional attitude.
  2. Focus on something positive. Go to your happy place! By focusing on something positive or visualizing a happy experience you had, you will redirect your anger and you will be able to get over it more quickly.
  3. Predetermine your desired outcome. Our first reaction when someone gets snappy with us is to snap back. After all, you want to make them feel as lousy as they made you feel, right? Wrong. This will only escalate the situation and in most cases, cause you to lose a customer. Always treat your customers the way you would want to be treated, not the way they may be treating you.
  4. Relax. Simple relaxation tools such as deep breathing will help to calm down your angry feelings and relieve tense situations.
  5. Reason with yourself. When you’re angry, your thoughts become exaggerated and dramatic. Remind yourself that getting angry isn’t going to fix anything and may only make the problem worse.
  6. Listen and pacify. Just accept the fact that this person may be having a bad day, week, or month for that matter and is taking it out on you. You never know what is going on in someone’s life. Don’t be defensive, but rather try to calm them down and soothe the situation out. After all, we are all human.
  7. Use humor to derail your anger. Think of something you read or heard that made you laugh. Maybe a funny email or joke from a co-worker. Remember to never take anything too seriously.
  8. Take a break. Give yourself some personal time off. Take a walk or grab a quick snack, but whatever it is, try to remove yourself from your immediate surroundings. 

When you do lose your cool, and we all do, remember to just say you’re sorry. It’s OK to skip the blame game, take responsibility, apologize, and move on. Follow these tips and you will feel better about yourself when you handle heated situations in a professional manner.


Top Three Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Cleaning Technician

I recently participated in a webinar through G & A Partners, the PEO Company we use for our business. They offered some very useful hiring information I would like to share with you.

There are three important qualities you should look for when hiring a cleaning technician. 

The three main areas you will want to assess in your candidate include ability, willingness, and manageability. If the potential employee has a strong showing in all areas, you more than likely have a great hire on your hands.

You should structure interviews using these three main criteria for selecting the best cleaning technician for your cleaning company.

Hiring-criteria

Ability: 

What abilities does the candidate possess that will be useful for this position? This includes such things as knowledge, skills, experience, and capabilities. These are mainly behavioral based and are the things you are probably most familiar with.

How did they perform these types of abilities in the past? These can best be assessed by tests or questions about their past job performances. If possible try to direct the question so that it pertains to the position you are hiring for, or just make a generalized question for the candidate. For example, you may want to ask the question “tell me how you dealt with a particularly difficult problem at your last job?” Discuss with them the problem, the experience and the outcome. This information will provide you with some insight into their ability to handle problem situations and help you to determine if they are resourceful and possess problem solving skills.

Willingness:

How willing are they to perform the job required of them? Is the candidate self-motivated? What reason do they have for wanting this job? What has motivated the employee in past jobs?  Look for a candidate who is passionate about life; that type of individual is more likely to be passionate about their work ethic, quality of their work, and their performance on the job as well.  

Ask the question “what motivates you on the job and what keeps you motivated?”  The response will be revealing and help you determine if they are well-suited to the position. It is important for you as the employer to know how people will look at the job you are offering. Is it a stepping stone position or a long term position?  Look for someone who is determined, enterprising, and self-motivated. That is the person who will possess the willingness to complete assigned tasks and make on the job decisions.

Manageability:

How manageable will the new hire be? A few questions you may want to ask during this part of the hiring process would be “tell me about your favorite supervisor and what made that person so great to work for?” This can be a useful clue on their manageability.

Another question you may want to ask is “what would you tell a previous supervisor about what he or she could have done better or should have changed about themselves?” This response can sometimes throw up a red flag about that person’s character and manageability in regard to taking direction.

Once you make the hire, the supervisor will need to direct, manage and work with them. Training is key and should continue throughout their tenure with your company. The supervisor will need to determine how to best keep the employee motivated and adapt to each individual’s unique character.

Two out of three ain’t bad:

There is no perfect candidate and you will interview people that may be strong in some areas but fall short in another. When this happens, you will need to compensate for their weaker areas. For example, if you realize that the candidate is strong in ability and strong in willingness, but weak on the manageability side, you will need to compensate by setting boundaries and through sound pro-active management practices.

Now, they may be highly capable and willing to work with you but weak in motivation. In this case, you will need to respond by being a better motivator for them. This could be accomplished through recognition when a job is done well, more one-on-one coaching, or perhaps providing extra attention. And finally, they may have the willingness and are easy to work with but just don’t know how to perform the job. In this instance, you will need to compensate through better training and education.

Consider the job you are hiring them for and what you can do to compensate for their weaker areas. This will help you decide if this person is a good hire. What it all boils down to is how well this new hire will fit into the position you are hiring them for. You want to look for a cleaning technician that will fit your company’s culture and goals. You want to retain and nurture that new hire so they can grow along with your company.  By structuring your interviews to using these three criteria, you will favorably narrow your candidates to those who fit your needs.  If the candidate can effectively communicate these three qualities to you during the interview, you can feel confident that you have selected the best possible person to fill your cleaning position.