A Housecleaning Customer Service Adventure

homeguides-articles-thumbs-cleaning_guide_for_busy_mom.jpg.600x275_q85_cropA housecleaning company manager sets up an appointment with a customer for a walk through of their home to learn how big the space is and what the customer would like to have cleaned specifically.

Since the home is that of a friend of a friend, the initial deep cleaning is discounted from $300 for three hours to $150 for three hours.

During the walk through, the manager asks questions about the home and specific areas that they’d like the focus to be put on. She also discusses what is included in the 3 hour deep clean versus what is not. Each time they’d talk about an area, it would be notated on the agreement and the customer would initial next to it.

After a full walk through of the home, the agreement is read one more time, with the customer, to ensure that everything is agreed upon. It is done with patience, care and organization–because well, this is their home and the cleaning company wants to do it right.

For example, cabinets are not typically included in an initial deep clean and cost extra if cleaning of the inside is desired. The customer discusses this with the representative and initials to confirm they do not want them cleaned.

After all is finalized, the cleaning begins the following day.

Two cleaning representatives have a check list with their responsibilities of the house and the level of cleanliness for the desired areas.

After the three hours is up, the customer then takes their copy of the agreement and does another walk through with the representatives who just cleaned the home.

In this particular situation, the customer began stating that the cabinets were not cleaned and began raising his voice. He then claims other objects are not cleaned. When the representatives point out the copy of the signed agreement, the customer becomes very irate and says, “That doesn’t matter.”

The representatives call the manager over to the home.

When the manager arrives, the customer is even more irate and demands that he have more areas cleaned.

The manager is able to calm the customer down and assure them that everything will be taken care of. They do another walk through of the home to see what loose ends need to be tied up. After more discussion, about another 3 hours of work is set and the charges for the extra fees are brought up to $225, which is still cheaper than the normal standard deep clean. The customer continues to demand free service, but the manager stands strong stating that he is receiving these services at a discounted rate.

The manager and the two representatives clean the remainder of the home, as notated on the check list.

After the extra 3 hours of cleaning, the customer does the final walk through again and demands that the areas that are clean are done well but there are still other areas of the house are to be cleaned (this is a big house, mind you). He then demands it for no cost, stating this is horrible service. He becomes irate again and is demanding not to pay anything for the service.

The manager, after trying to hold a discussion with the customer again, put her foot down, and states, “We’ve agreed on $225 for services. Will that be cash, check or credit?”

The customer throws the cash at the manager and scoffs off. The cleaning crew gather their items and leave.

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How would YOU choose your customer service adventure for this situation? What would you have done in this scenario? At what point do you stop trying to please your customer if their requests are not what was agreed upon? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

[custom_author=jenny]

 

 

Jenny Dempsey is currently the the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. She has worked at tech startups since 2005. She's the co-founder and regular contributor over at CustomerServiceLife.com. She's a certified health coach, but not the kind that forces you to only eat cardboard and deprive yourself of ice cream. JennyDempseyWellness.com, the company she started, was designed to bring a new type of wellness into the workplace, one that gives you permission to look deeper into yourself, rather than just on the healthy snacks in the break room. She is the mother to a toothless rescue cat named Chompers. Avocados and veggie tacos are the way to her heart. She's also a Hanson fan for life.

3 comments

  • I have said this a million times, YOU have the right to fire a client. The customer/service provider exchange is a relationship, not a dictatorship. Sounds like the customer in this case has some issues other than a dirty house. I would love to use this scenario in an upcoming workshop I am doing to initiate some conversation with my group. Permission requested…great blog post Jenny. You really know how to get my brain working in the morning.

    • Doug,

      First off: Permission granted! That’s quite an honor. I hope it stirs up some great discussion.

      I actually was wondering how you would respond to this! How do you be nice while still firing the client? What would you have said to them?

      • Great discussion guys! It’s funny, my brother hired a house cleaner before I stayed with him this week and apparently that person put a bunch of his appliances in garbage bags and also worked and unauthorized extra hour. After telling him he wouldn’t be charged for it, he was charged for it. Now the company won’t return his calls. Isn’t that awesome? Who knew house cleaning could be such a touchy subject?

        I too am interested to know where Doug draws the line. I would probably let the customer push the line a long, long ways.

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