Texting is the new phone call. Or so house cleaners seem to think. House cleaners and maid service prefer texting rather than calling. (Per a recent poll by Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru.)
Are you going to market your cleaning business by texting? Today we Ask a House Cleaner about the old-fashioned phone call and customer service via text.
Every savvy cleaner has a strategy and this tutorial will keep you from getting fired by text.
Listen: Texting – House Cleaners Refuse To Call Clients
Watch: Texting – House Cleaners Refuse To Call Clients
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: Texting – House Cleaners Refuse To Call Clients
Texting your way to customer service; is that even possible? We’re going to talk about that today.
Today’s question comes from house cleaners far and wide. “Can I text my way to customer service? Is this possible?”
Answer: Texting – House Cleaners Refuse To Call Clients
Every day, house cleaners have customers that respond to them via text. They screenshot these texts and email them to me. And they want to know if I can help them decipher what the customer is trying to say. Are you texting your way to customer service? If you are I’ve got news for you; it’s time to back up on the technology.
I Love Technology and Texting!
Now I am the first to admit that I love technology. I love my smartphone because it’s my alarm clock and a calendar. It’s got all my apps on it, and it lets me listen to podcasts and music while I’m out jogging.
There are lots and lots of things that my smartphone will allow me to do. I can text my customers the day before an appointment to make sure that we’re still on for tomorrow.
Human Element Gets Losts in Translation!
But, here’s the catch. When I send a text to my customers, I lose the human connection. I lose the eye contact, the vocal variety, the gestures. I also lose the ability to communicate the nuances that go on in the conversations behind the text.
The texts are just words. In fact, texting has become so popular that they created emojis to try to add the face element back in.
If I add a happy smiley face, you might think, “This is good! She is happy about this!”
If I include an angry emoji in the text, you might think, “Oh, she’s not too happy about that!”
There’s still a human element that gets lost in the texting translation.
Okay, so let’s back up just a step.
What happens if you have customers that are firing you via text? This is a perfect opportunity for you to make a telephone call to reconnect with that person.
You built rapport with this customer from the start. When you went to their house to bid the contract and do the initial walkthrough, you started to get to know each other.
They hired you based on the face-to-face interaction because they liked you as a person. They liked the sound of your voice, they liked the things that you had to say. And so they hired you based on the things that they fell in love with at that moment.
Now, it does not matter if you have been cleaning their house for a long time or a short time. Somehow, something is missing. Either your work did not live up to their expectations or something has changed.
If now you’re only responding via text, there’s a good reason why they fired you. The customer lost that feeling they received when they fell in love with you and they hired you for the first time.
Get on the Phone!
Get back on the telephone and call the customer. Say, “I know you just fired me. I completely I understand that this may not be a good time for you to pursue house cleaning. But we got along so well. I just want to know if I did something wrong? Did I say something to offend you? Did I neglect to do something that you asked? I would like to know so that I can fix that problem, as I move forward in the future.” Approach it with an, “I want to help,” attitude. Then, they’ll be honest with you and candid, and they will share their experience.
“It’s Not You, My Mom Passed Away”
I had a woman who fired me via text. And when I called her up on the telephone, I said, “Listen, we get along so well. I love coming to your house and cleaning. Something’s happened, what has happened? Because I just got a brief text that I’m fired, and I don’t know why.”
And she said, “Oh it’s not you at all. My mother just died. I ended up with her whole estate of stuff in my house, so now I am more disorganized than I’ve ever been. I’m completely overwhelmed. I have no idea what to do with any of the stuff, and I just don’t know that I can move forward with house cleaning yet.”
So, I said, “Oh well. So if it’s not me at all, would it make it easier for you if I brought a professional organizer with me? We could help you find a home for her things, as you sort through them.”
And she said, “Oh my goodness, that would be lovely, yes, let’s do that.”
The Phone Call Made the Difference
So instead of me getting fired from the job, it ended up being that I was able to bring someone else in on the project. Together we were able to help that customer in a way that was of best service to her.
It wasn’t about me at all. It would have been easy to look at that text and make an assumption. I could have said, “Well I don’t know what her problem is. She just fired me via text; I thought everything was fine. Whatever,” and then walk away.
Don’t Just Walk Away
Too often, as house cleaners, we just walk away. Because it’s easier to read the text and just go, “Whatever.”
No! Not whatever! You spent a lot of time building rapport with that customer.
It Is Worth It to Call
They’re already a customer. You’ve already done the walkthrough and have been to their house. You’ve already auditioned for the job, right? They already know, love and trust you. So if they’re firing you now, there’s a good reason why.
If you turn and walk away because you lost a job via a text, you will repeat the same errors over again. You won’t know what you did wrong, so you will not be able to fix your mistakes. (If there are any.)
If you didn’t do anything wrong, you would just spend a lot of time spinning your wheels. You will be reinventing the marketing cycle so that you have new customers coming in.
The reality is this. A conversation might shed a whole new light on the situation. It might reconnect you with that moment when you did your initial walkthrough.
I Got Fired Again via a Text!
I had another customer that fired me via text.
This is not cool; I don’t like this. Don’t fire me via text, just pick up the phone and call me and tell me why.
My Telephone Conversation
So, I called her up. I said, “Listen, something happened, I don’t know what it is, but something happened. How did we get here? You love my house cleaning and give me tips. Now I’m fired via text? There is a missing link here that I do not understand.”
She said, “No, no, it’s not you at all. I’m just getting divorced, and I can’t afford house cleaning any longer. I didn’t want to go into my personal problems about the divorce and all these things. But I don’t even know if I’m going to have this house. So, I need to stop the house cleaning; I need to reserve my budget, all these things.”
“Wait a Second, Are You Okay?”
She said, “No, I’m not okay. My whole life is completely displaced.”
“If that’s the case, maybe you would consider starting a house cleaning business. You could get back on your feet and get your own money and start over again?”
And she’s said, “I never thought of that.”
She went from being my client to being a house cleaner and starting her own house cleaning business.
Finding out the Unknowns
There are things that you don’t know. But when you get back in touch with the customer, you will reconnect back to the moment that you built rapport. You will find hidden nuances, either about their lives or your business.
When this happens, they could share with you and say, “Wow, you screwed this up.”
Your response might be this. “Okay great, thank you for telling me. Now I won’t screw it up again at all my other customer’s houses.”
You have to be willing to pick up the phone. Let’s go back to a time when people talked to people on the telephone.
Calling Is Better Than Texting
Our lives revolve around texting. But should they?While it’s convenient, it’s not convenient for the human element. So much gets lost in the translation.
While it’s convenient, it’s not convenient for the human element. So much gets lost in the translation.
Always Leave a Message
So, if your go-to communication style is texting, I’m going to encourage you to expand your options. And if something is not easy to understand via text, call the person up on the phone. If they don’t answer, just leave a message.
“Hey, this is Angela, I just got a text from you, and I’m super confused. I hate misunderstanding you because you and I have always been so great with communicating. Please give me a call back at your earliest convenience. I’d like to know what is going on. Because I feel like I might have screwed something up and I don’t want to leave things this way.”
They will call you back and say, “No, here’s what happened.”
If they’re not positive about it, and they do hate you, they’ll tell you that too. “Man, I hate your guts, get lost.”
“Great, thank you so much, now I know.” At least now I have closure, and I can go away a better person.
So, Should You Use Texting for Customer Service?
There are ways you can. But always have the telephone or an in-person conversation as your backup. Because that will save you so much hassle, and so much heartache moving on.
All right, that’s my two cents and until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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Resources For This Episode
Text Appeal – For Guys! – The Ultimate Texting Guide – http://amzn.to/2ykP1dY
How To Win Friends and Influence People – http://amzn.to/2xUdLIV
The Science of Likability: 27 Studies to Master Charisma, Attract Friends, Captivate People, and Take Advantage of Human Psychology – http://amzn.to/2yjMIIc
Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High – http://amzn.to/2yUnZHK
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships – http://amzn.to/2xXlTJ3
Bulletproof Confidence: The Art of Not Caring What People Think and Living Fearlessly – http://amzn.to/2xc6BRl
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World – http://amzn.to/2xTQuqv
Improve Your People Skills: Build and Manage Relationships, Communicate Effectively, Understand Others, and Become the Ultimate People Person – http://amzn.to/2ykNIf8
Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time – http://amzn.to/2fMAOiq
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Communication Skills – A Must Have for House Cleaners – https://youtu.be/UsbUcCB6zYw
Texting vs. Calling – https://youtu.be/rTvOYIii28A
Why I Fired My Maid – https://youtu.be/XPz4d24xLk4
Should I Stay or Should I Go? House Cleaner Confusion – https://youtu.be/Op3QCHB9PeA
Stack the Deck – Set Yourself Up to Win – https://youtu.be/Y14sTyn0HeE
Nagging Boss – Cleaning Client Nit-Picks and Complains – https://youtu.be/nYAwNHfaWW0
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