Entitlement is a problem with house cleaning customers. You go to bid a job and they’re like “clean my space, I’m a VIP, and I need special treatment.” They reek of entitlement with expectations of speed cleaning and they deserve a discount.
The entitlement starts with the promise of rewards and a license to be rude. They expect you to stay longer than the job requires because they deserve it all.
They have special rights, expect favors, and the rules don’t apply to them.
Angela Brown in today’s Ask a House Cleaner talks about freedom from entitled and demanding customers.
Today’s sponsors are Savvy Cleaner (House Cleaning Training.) HouseCleaning360 (A place to list your cleaning service and find cleaning customers.) And My Cleaning Connection (a hub for cool cleaning resources and stuff.)
Listen: Entitlement – House Cleaning Customers Acting Entitled
Watch: Entitlement – House Cleaning Customers Acting Entitled
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.
Entitlement – Gets on Your Last Nerve – What Do You Do?
Entitlement. What do you do with a customer who thinks the rules don’t apply to them?
They think it’s okay to cancel on you at the last minute. Or switch your schedule around, and to throw things at you at the last minute? Drives you bonkers right?
Today’s question comes from a house cleaner who is furious. She’s upset and irritated and aggravated. She’s frustrated with entitled customers who think that they are above everyone else. “They treat the service or the help like they are lesser than.”
She wants to know “where on earth does this come from? And how am I supposed to deal with it as a professional house cleaner?”
Entitlement – There’s A Whole Society of ’em!
Well, that is an excellent question, and the answer is this. There is a whole society that thinks that they are better than everyone else. And they are special, and the rules don’t apply to them. They walk into stores and they demand attention. They demand help, yet they are no different than any other customer.
We have customers in house cleaning, they demand special attention. They demand special projects, and they expect that they can cancel at the last minute. Oh, and there is an expectation that you will rebook them to the following day. Or whenever it’s convenient for them.
You’re Not Entitled and You’re Not Special
Now the truth of the matter is they’re not so special. They’re just like everyone else. If you have a roster of 40 clients and all 40 of them believe in entitlement then guess what? You have a small problem.
But yes, that’s the society that we live in. Understanding that you have a couple of options. As a house cleaner, you can create some boundaries and let customers know that you are only able to do so much.
What Do You Think is Fair?
When you are dealing with an entitled customer ask them, “What do you think is fair?” They can’t come up with an answer because fairness suggests equality.
It suggests that we are all equal, and they have to take their turn in your schedule. That’s not what they want. They want you to drop what you’re doing and you come clean when it’s convenient for them.
You Can’t Run a Business from Entitlement Demands
From the beginning, you have to set the ground rules. And you have to say, “I am only one person, and I have to work on a 24-hour schedule like everyone else.
After 5:00 pm, that’s time for my family, and so I don’t take business calls after 5:00 pm.
But I work from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm every day, and these are the available slots that I have open. Which slot would you like?
When you chose a slot in my schedule, I respect your time enough that I will honor that particular time each week.”
Entitlement – You Can Resolve it with Respect
Now the key word here is respect, because people that act entitled, want to feel important. They are saying “I want to be special and I want you to respect me.”
But by them throwing impossible tasks at you, to demand respect they are saying “I don’t respect you, or anyone else.”
“I expect everyone else to cater to my schedule.”
If you fall for the manipulation and you let your clients push you around, you enable and encourage this bad behavior.
If you cave into that, you send a message that says: “As a house cleaner, I don’t respect myself. And I don’t respect my other customers. You can push me around and I’ll cater to your crazy whims.”
Kill the Entitlement with Kindness
From the beginning, you’ve got to lay out the ground rules. “I respect you, and I’m going to reserve this time slot for you. And I’m not going to let anyone else push you out of that time slot. And out of respect to my other customers, you don’t get to push them out of their time slot either.”
You set the ground rules from right up front, and you let them know what the rules are.
Now, if they call and they cancel, and they say, “Hey, I want this time slot tomorrow. Something came up.”
I’m sorry, then you lose your time slot for the next two weeks until your time slot rolls around again. Don’t try to fit them into another time slot, because again, then you are enabling that entitled behavior.
Entitlement on a Case-by-Case Basis
Now if there’s some unusual reason you have to bend a rule do it on a case by case basis. And you will know which ones you have to bend on. (i.e. somebody cancels because of a death in the house.) This is not a recurring scenario and your customer is not abusing you.
But for the most part across the board, the rules are the rules. Here’s the reason why. If you have a waitlist, and if you work it, you’ll fill a vacant time slot in minutes. But what you’re doing is you’re telling your customers that, “I play by the rules. I’m fair with everyone, I treat everyone with the same respect, thus I’m able to run my business.”
Train Your Employees to Handle Entitlement
As you expand and grow your business your employees need to recognize and follow these same rules. These are the rules that your company has established. If you and your employees follow the same rules, the customers learn where the boundaries are. Your company sends the message “the rules apply to you.”
I have a friend whose son is in prison for a vehicular manslaughter because he thought the rules did not apply to him. He thought he could hop in a vehicle and drive while intoxicated, and the rules did not apply to him. He has the rest of his life to think about how the rules do apply to him.
The Rules Apply to You
And the rules apply to you. They apply to your customers, and they apply to your employees.
It’s the reason that we have speed limits, it’s the reasons that we have red lights. If you run a red light, you might get in a car accident.
The smashing up of your car, it doesn’t make you special. It doesn’t make you different. You broke a rule, and there was a consequence.
If in that accident, it’s deemed your fault and someone else dies, yes you go to prison for the rest of your life for vehicular manslaughter. There are so many things that come back to the concept of your not so smart.
You’re Not Smarter Than the Rules
I love this book. You’re Not So Smart I stumbled upon it a couple of weeks ago and I read it from cover to cover. And it hit me that as a society, we do, we think we’re smarter than everyone else, yet we are just like everyone else.
We forget our car keys. We turn our clothes inside out on accident. There are things that we go to do, and we get in the other room and we can’t figure out why we’re in there. We’re not so smart, we’re just like everyone else. We’re not entitled to anything.
VIP Treatment Within Limits
Business 101 teaches us to treat our customers like V.I. P’s. (Very Important Person) and that’s cool.
As a customer, you are a very important person when you follow the rules. There is no special treatment outside the rules.
“I’m going to put you on a regular schedule and I’ll show up on time. And I’m going to bring my supplies every single time. I’m going to collect a paycheck every single time. And you get to enjoy your fabulous and clean house – every time.”
They don’t get to delay their payment because they’re so special. They don’t get to keep adding tasks at the last minute to your “to do” list. Canceling on you seven times in a row doesn’t ensure their time slot. That’s not how it works.
It’s Not Being Ugly – It’s About Running a Business
You have to create boundaries that say: “We don’t tolerate bullies or verbal abuse. We are not harassed by our customers. And we get paid on time because we are a business.”…And we love what we do. Because we love what we do, we’re going to go out of our way to make you feel special. We want you to feel like a million bucks. And we want you to tell your friends and social media about us.”
Have a Process People Can Count on
By having the ground rules in place, it’s awesome because your clients can count on you. They know they can’t push you around, and they know their friends can’t either.
That makes you a reliable commodity, that they can sell to their friends. “Hey, you need to hire Angela’s company because she has ground rules. Because she is consistent, and she is fair. She makes you feel like a million bucks and your home sparkle.”
Little kids do this to us all the time. They push and push the boundaries. And once they know where the boundaries are – and they know you will enforce the rules, they learn to obey.
Kids do better with structure. So, do customers.
Entitlement, it’s up to you, to guide your customers in a direction that serves you and your business – so you can, in turn, serve them.
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Resources For This Episode
You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself – https://amzn.to/2qBJ6Mj
If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? – https://amzn.to/2HAq00c
The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way – https://amzn.to/2JQiL5g
The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership – https://amzn.to/2H4P7vi
Perfect Phrases for Customer Service – https://amzn.to/2H2A6tO
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Permissions To Share
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My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.