Why do clients hover and follow their house cleaners around? How do you handle a helicopter client or a homeowner who micromanages you while cleaning?
Listen: Why Do Clients Hover?
Watch: Why Do Clients Hover?
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.
Why Do Customers Hover and Follow You Around?
Why do customers hover and follow you around when you clean? Why do they do that? Well, there are house cleaners who will argue, and they say, “Well, they’re trying to steal my job. They’re trying to watch how I clean, and then they’re going to steal my job because they’re going to do the cleaning themselves.”
Guess what? That is not what’s happening. That is not what’s happening. What is happening is they hired you because they don’t want to clean. They don’t have time to clean. They don’t want to clean it, or you wouldn’t be there. Okay? They hired you because they want you to clean.
Now, the reason that they are hovering and they’re following you around, and they’re watching, and they’re spying on you, and they’re micromanaging is because, in the past, they’ve had some really bad experiences with one or many house cleaners.
House cleaners come in, they do the job, and then they over-promise. Can you do this, this, this, and this? Oh, sure, no problem.
But then when it comes time to do the job, they forget what they promised, or it’s not on the checklist, or it’s not on the priority list. What happens is it gets skipped or it gets slopped through and it does not meet the customer’s expectation.
Find Your Customer’s Priorities
If a customer says, can you do such and such, your question should be, how important on a scale of one to 10 is that for you? Is this a priority that you want to be done every single time, or you just want it done this first time and then we maintain it thereafter?
If I have to skip something on the list, is this something that can be skipped, or you never want this skip? Let’s make sure we understand so there are no surprises. When the customer says, “No, this is super important to me,” make a note of that and then never skip it, right?
Customers Hovering Causes Problems
But if a customer is in your personal space and they are hovering and micromanaging, and they are doing your job for you, that creates a problem that we haven’t addressed yet.
And the issue is, if you’re in my personal space and I’m cleaning and I take two steps backward to get better leverage or to grab a cleaning solution or something and I move my arm around, if you’re right there, I might bang into you, right? Now, that’s considered physical assault.
Being Too Close Can Cause Issues and Accidents
If I take two steps back and you’re right behind me and I step on your toes, well, you’re going to lose your balance then as the customer and you’re going to fall backward and you’re going to hit your head on something.
And again, that could be assault, or that could be a lawsuit, or that could just be an injury of some sort, right? It is an issue we don’t want to have to deal with as a business owner.
If you are the homeowner and you are in the house cleaner’s personal space, there’s a problem.
You Need to Make Sure They Can Not Hover
And I don’t know if the problem is that you want to watch because you just want the confidence of knowing the job is done correctly. The reality is this, though, as a house cleaner, you need to make it okay. You need to make it okay for them to go in the other room and with confidence knowing that you’ve got this covered.
What I’m recommending to you is to have some words, okay? Word tracks that you use that say something to the effect of, “Oh no, I’m in your way.” And the customer usually says something like, “Oh no, I’m in your way.”
So, what we do at Savvy Cleaner is we say, “Well, let me take a step aside here. You can do or get whatever you’re getting in this space. Let me know when you’re done, and I’ll come back to cleaning that area.”
What you’ve let the customer know is I value this is your home. You chose to come in this space right on top of me while I’m cleaning for whatever reason. It must be important to you. Let me step aside here. You do what it is you’re doing, and then I’ll get back to cleaning.
What to Do If They’re Talking to You
If they are talking and they’re standing not in your personal space, but they’re talking nearby and they’re chatting, I like to just drop what I’m doing, give them my undivided attention, give them my eye contact, smile, and listen to what they have to say.
And I preface it by saying, “This sounds important. Let’s make an agreement that when you come to talk to me while I’m cleaning, because this is your home, that I value what you’re going to say. And so, I will stop cleaning. The clock is still ticking. You’re still paying me, but I will stop cleaning and I will listen to what you have to say. And if you keep talking for a long period of time or whatever, I won’t be able to get to the last two or three rooms of the house. It’s your choice.
But if I’m here on the clock and I’m cleaning, then I can’t be chatting at the same time. When I’m chatting, I’m not cleaning.” And when you make that really clear to the customer, oftentimes they will say, “Oh, oh, oh, yeah, yeah, my bad. I’ll go to the other room.”
Make Them Know That You Have This Covered
But we have to make it okay for them to know that you have this. Okay? They hired a professional and it’s you, and so you have this. When they come in and they’re hovering and all this stuff, let me ask a quick question.
Are you trying to make sure that I do the job correctly because I’m afraid I might’ve missed something last time I was here? No, no, no, no. I’m just checking things out.
Okay, great, but you hired me so that you don’t have to manage my job. You hired me so that you are buying your free time back so that you can go do what you need to do.
You Both Have to Stay Out of Each Other’s Way
I don’t want to get in the way of you doing what you need to do. Otherwise, you don’t need me here, right? Let me let you get back to work. I’ll get back to my work, and then I won’t be in your way. It doesn’t have to be mean, but it has to be direct.
And there are a lot of house cleaners that get in the trap of assuming that the customer knows that, and they assume that the customer will interpret that. And so, they’re not direct and they don’t say, “I’m in your way. Let’s create some space here. Or you paid me to do this job.
Go do yours. I’ll do mine.”
You have to figure out how you’re going to word it so that it sounds organic to you and so that it sounds diplomatic and not mean, like, “Hey, get out of my face.” Do you know what I mean? You don’t want to say that. What you have to do, though, is you have to make it clear. It is clear communication. It is an agreement. If there are no agreements in place, that customer’s going to hover for as long as you give them permission to.
Every Time You Allow it You’re Enabling Them
And every time you let them stay and chit chat and visit and hover and micromanage, you are enabling them to do that again. And it makes your job very difficult, because like I said, it becomes a safety issue. If you take one step in the wrong direction and you knock them over, now you have a different set of problems, right?
We want to encourage the homeowners to stay in a different room and not chit chat and visit and micromanage the job. And we want to encourage the house cleaners to make those rules very clear upfront so that there are no surprises on either side.
These good karma links connect you to Amazon.com and affiliated sites that offer products or services that relate to today’s show.
When you click on the links and buy the items you pay the exact same prices or less than if you found the links on your own elsewhere. The difference is that we make a small commission here at the show for sharing these links with you.
The Soul-Sourced Entrepreneur: An Unconventional Success Plan for the Highly Creative – https://amzn.to/2MlRZHu
Customer Centered Selling – https://amzn.to/3pOmxQP
Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away) – https://amzn.to/3hEo60E
The Cult of the Customer – https://amzn.to/355pepf
The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service – https://amzn.to/3b09OGx
Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner Training – House Cleaner Training and Certification
My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.
HouseCleaning360 – A hub connecting homeowners with house cleaners
Savvy Perks – Employee benefits for your employees.
Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts