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Botched Referrals? What to do When a Referral Goes Wrong

Botched referral. What do you do when a referral backfires on you? As a Maid, you give a recommendation to another house cleaner if you can’t do the cleaning yourself. And a botched referral is not your fault.

You may have a bitter, angry customer or just a miserable client that doesn’t get along with the new maid service.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru defines a botched referral as a customer who loves misery and is yelling and screaming. “Don’t take it personally, don’t explain, just walk away.”

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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. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

What Do You Do When a Referral Goes Wrong?

Botched Referral woman holding moneyToday’s question is from a house cleaner we’ll call May. May had a customer that she did not get along with; she didn’t like the lady.

She decides she’s going to quit the customer. Then she refers her friend, Karen, to go clean this customer’s house. Well, Karen really needed the business and she said, “Sure, I’ll do it. I get along with everybody,” and she went to clean the customer’s house.

Karen, who can do no wrong, goes over to the customer’s house. She and the customer get in this huge argument. They’re throwing things at each other and cursing at each other. They yell and scream, and it was all about a job and money paid.

The customer has decided, on her own, she’s going to change the price of the house cleaning.  She will only pay half of what she agreed to on the walkthrough with Karen. So Karen gets upset.

So now she goes back to May and she’s telling May this story and May feels horrible. She says, “What do I do when the referral that I gave Karen goes south?” That’s a fair question.

That particular situation could have led to legal trouble for both parties.

Botched Referrals Happen, Let it Go

Botched Referral sad woman sitting on couchOnce you give them the referral, it is out of your hands. Of course, you feel bad.  Whatever happened between Karen and the homeowner is between Karen and the homeowner. If they want to file a lawsuit, that’s between them and the judge.

It’s easy to feel terrible. May even thought about paying Karen to make up for it. That’s not May’s responsibility.

She did her job by recommending a customer to a friend. That’s all. She gave a recommendation.

So, your friend got the job as the result of the good recommendation. Friends referring friends is a big help in the house cleaning business The customer was miserable and hateful and shouldn’t have any house cleaner. It is clear she doesn’t know how to treat people.

There are Two Sides

Botched Referral happy and angry womanIf Karen has never had problems with customers and everyone loves her, it may be the customer’s fault.  They love her. She’s amazing. We don’t know what happened because we have only heard May’s story from Karen.

In all fairness, the customer probably has their side of the story as well. From our view, it’s a complex story. The reality is this: if you give someone a recommendation, you’re done.

Don’t feel guilty or bad. Don’t offer to pay or make amends. You can’t fix the problem. You made a recommendation. Your job ends there.

Some Customers are Just Difficult

Botched Referral woman looking skepticalThere are hateful customers. No one knows why. There are people that choose misery. It doesn’t serve them in any way, but that’s their choice. So, when they choose misery and to fight and argue with people, and that’s on them.

They keep trying to hire people. Those people never work out because the customer creates a negative workplace.

You have to pick up on that. As you’re doing a walkthrough, you will pick up on clues.

Maybe They’ve Been Through 45 House Cleaners

That should be a signal to you that this is not a positive workplace. They keep running off house cleaners. So, if you hear things like that, turn and walk away. Just say, “We’re not a good fit for each other.” Don’t explain or get into any details. Just walk away.

Sometimes, there are customers that you can’t work with. They make everything difficult, no matter how hard you try. If that happens, and you need to let them go,  do not recommend your friends to them.

That will reflect on you and you don’t want to put any house cleaner in that situation. In building relationships with your customers, you learn a lot about them. Use that information to help your business, not become a burden to you or another house cleaner.

Try to Be Polite Even with a Botched Referral

Botched Referral grumpy old lady isolatedSome customers will not give up. They continue to harass you and ask for you to recommend a friend to clean their home.

If you refuse to give them a referral they may be upset.

They may try to fool you, and when that doesn’t work, they will give you bad reviews and stalk your business. Those unhappy people will also say negative things about you. It can get very ugly.

But, if you’re a customer that just doesn’t get along with anybody, then you need to change your game.

The world is full of people who want to bring their services to you, and they want to make your life easier. But if you’re hard to work with and arguing and say mean things to them, no one will want to help you.

If you are a miserable person, please stop what you’re doing. It’s not serving you. Work on being a more positive person for the sake of everyone around you.

Don’t Refer Your Friends to Miserable People

Botched Referral woman holding up hand, stopIf you are a house cleaner, and you have one of these customers, please don’t recommend any of your friends.

If you have a miserable customer, please leave them alone in their misery. It is their freedom of choice and if that’s what they choose, please leave them alone.

The ones you walk away from may keep coming back. They’ll say, “Oh, you’re the best house cleaner we ever had.” That feeling won’t be mutual. They’ll beg for another try. Don’t do it and don’t send your friends.

Don’t Engage when a Referral Goes Wrong

Botched Referral ask a housecleaner websiteIf you feel unsafe get out of the house. Don’t be afraid to just say no. Then, if you have to block their phone number, block them. If they contact you on social media and try to leave you negative ratings and reviews, it will reflect on them. Their hate and their venom will come through.

People will ask, “Who is this miserable person?” Then don’t even engage. Don’t feed the bully, as they say. Don’t give them material because they can screenshot and share everything you say and do. They can blast it all over social media.

Your Reputation Depends On How You Handle a Miserable Customer

This is your character, and so it is just really important that you focus on being the best version of you.

If there’s a hater that comes along, let them hate and just walk away and don’t engage with them.

Eventually, they will get bored from the lack of drama, and they will go away. Go on with your life and continue marketing in a positive way to attract positive business.

If you are the one that referred this type of customer, please don’t do that again. It’s not healthy for you, and t’s not healthy for your friendship with Karen.

So, that’s how you handle that in the future. Don’t recommend miserable clients because no one wins. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention –

Endless Referrals –

The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself –

The Referral of a Lifetime: Never Make a Cold Call Again! –

7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals –

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