How do you deal with a dissatisfied customer? You did a maintenance clean and they are expecting a deep clean. Do you give their money back? Go back to reclean? How do you stay in business (and make a profit) while managing unhappy customers?
Listen: Dissatisfied Customer
Watch: Dissatisfied Customer
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.
How Do You Deal With a Dissatisfied Customer?
How do you deal with a dissatisfied customer? You’ve all had a dissatisfied customer at one point, right? Now, I don’t like dissatisfied customers because I think that we can actually prevent it before it gets to that stage. But here’s a caller that called in and asked this.
“How do you deal with an unsatisfied customer? For example, a first-time customer who paid for a general cleaning or a standard cleaning, but is expecting a deep cleaning, and should we provide a deep cleaning, even though it eats up into our profit margin for that particular job? Or should we explain to them the difference and go from there?“
Set Clarifications Right Away
All right. This is a fascinating question because you said this was a one-time clean, but then you said she was already a dissatisfied customer. So I’m guessing the job has already taken place. Okay, so the first thing that we want to do is we want to set clarifications upfront so that the customer sees the same thing that we see.
So what this means is when I’m bidding a package, what is it that you’re offering, what does the package entail, what is involved, what are you going to do in that package for this price. You might also offer to the customer, there’s another package that we sell, it’s a deep cleaning package and here’s what’s involved in that package.
As you do the walkthrough of the home, you can explain to the customer, “Here’s what we do on maintenance clean. Here’s what we do on a deep clean, and then you have things in your house that are not on either one of those packages that we could put together as a special package.”
Savvy Cleaner Has Programs on Walkthroughs
Now, at Savvy Cleaner, we actually have three programs that talk you through the walkthrough so that you are proficient at what to say. There is one on worksheets and how you work through the worksheet with the customer and that becomes your sales pitch, but it also lets them know exactly what’s going to be done on every cleaning. Then we have a special course on upsells where you can add in extra projects so the customer’s needs are met, but not on maintenance and not on a deep clean.
Okay, so here’s how it works. Let’s say, for example, that you went to the grocery store and you have a certain number of things that you buy and certain brands and whatever, and to you, that means grocery shopping.
Now, somebody comes in and you hire them to do your grocery shopping and you say, “I would like my grocery shopping done,” and you assume they know the items and the brands that you like. They go to the grocery store, they spend $200. They come back and you look at the items and you’re like, “Whoa, that is not what I wanted at all” Then you’re dissatisfied, right?
Customers Don’t Know Exactly What You Do
You’re dissatisfied because there was no shopping list. The brands were not specified. The price you were willing to pay was not specified and the expectations were not met, right? So it would be really easy for the person to say, “Well, I did a good job. I went and I bought all this stuff.” Yeah, that’s true, but it’s not the stuff that the homeowner wanted, right?
The reason I bring that up is that we do the same thing in our house cleaning. In our minds, we know what a maintenance clean looks like, but the customer doesn’t. The customer has had lots of different house cleaners over a period of time and they all did different things.
So the customer has no idea what we do. So it might be that there was a house cleaner that came in, they did a huge, deep clean on their initial clean for the price that you’re charging for maintenance clean. They’re upset and you have no idea why. You thought you did a great job.
It All Comes Down to Clarification With Customers
It all comes down to clarification of the expectations. So if you talk to the customer, and I would always ask this question, “How will you know when my job is done? What will that look like to you?” The customer will give you directives. They will say, “It will look like this. This will be done. The fringe on the carpet will be combed. The blinds will be turned a certain way. Toilet paper roll will be folded a certain way. All the lights will be turned out.”
I mean, they will give you instructions on what their house will look like when it’s perfectly clean. You make a note of that and that goes in their customer file. You do the same regular maintenance clean plus all of these little extras that are just things that visually cue them into I was here and I did my job, right?
Then you at your company might create a series of those. I know we did. We have about 42 things that are on a list that we do at every house. They’re things that we do as we go. It’s not extra work. It’s part of what we do, but it’s our signature.
Being Specific Makes Customers Easier to Satisfy
So when anyone on our team goes out to do a job and they do these signature items, the customer comes home, they have these visual cues around the house. It says, “Ah, the house is done. It looks nice. It’s so great.” It doesn’t matter who on the team goes to do the job, it’s consistent. So they always feel like they got the job they paid for. The customer feeling like they got the job they paid for is where the customer satisfaction comes from.
If you don’t provide that to them, they’re going to want to call you back and have you come back to redo the work that was miscommunicated, okay? So that’s the reason why you have to be so specific. It’s got to be on a checklist so you can check it off as you go. You know exactly what you did.
They know exactly what you did and then there are no surprises, because there will always be, and I say always not to over-generalize, but there will always be a dissatisfaction or a misunderstanding if they’re guessing in their head what your job is, and you’re guessing in your head what they want. There will always be a huge gap in communication and they might let you stay on as a house cleaner, they might fire you, right?
Make it Very Clear What You’re Going to Do
So just right up front, “Here’s how we do things,” and then make it very clear. If they say, “Well, I want something different.” Well, that falls into one of these other packages that we offer. That’s more money. That’s a special series of equipment that we’re going to bring with us. That will require more time.
I’m going to have to call the office ahead and get that added onto the calendar because that’s going to take a whole lot more time than regular maintenance clean, right?
So once you’re clear with your customer about what the expectations are, all of your problems seem to just disappear and then your business becomes fun and the people that work for you want to work for you because you have a fun business where everyone’s playing on the same page.
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