Back in the olden days (I never thought in my 40’s I’d be able to use that phrase, but here goes,) they had newspapers. Large printed pages folded neatly together and delivered to our doorstep every morning. The newspapers were filled with news, local stories, advertisements and obituaries.
The first thing I read every morning was the obituaries. Pages of people – both young and old who had died. There were pictures of the deceased and a brief life story of where they worked, or how they served, and mentions of the family they left behind.
What the Obituaries didn’t tell me was how did the people die? The result was printed – they are dead. But how did they get that way? I spent a great deal of time playing detective trying to figure it out. Did they have cancer? Were they in a car accident? Was it a suicide? How did we end up with this result? Sometimes there would be clues such as “Donations are being received at the Alzheimer’s research foundation” and I would assume the deceased suffered from Alzheimer’s before passing.
What do Obituaries have to do with House Cleaning?
Flash forward to my 24 years in the house cleaning business – frequently I would get calls to come replace a current house cleaner. Of course the house cleaner didn’t die – but the result was an obituary of sorts – the relationship with the client died. The result was pretty clear – but how it happened was not.
Was it a cancer that slowly deteriorated over time with the client tolerating less than spectacular work from the house cleaner? Was it like a car accident where everything was working out just fine between the housekeeper and the customer – and then one day Bam! Something big happened and suddenly it was over? Or was it a suicide of sorts where the house cleaner couldn’t take the customer abuse any longer and ended it all?
My job was to look for clues, what was the story behind the business obituary? The weirdest part is that the families hiring me often didn’t want to say. I just had to make sure that moving forward my customer service was healthy, happy, filled with communication, and far from surprise endings.