Signs Of A Looming Problem

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by Tom Watson on July 9, 2010

During the course of your career you will become well versed in the warning signs that indicate trouble is brewing with an account.

When you are new you may lack the ability to read the tea leaves. This lack of knowledge can result in you learning many costly lessons.

There is nothing worse than going through the trouble of acquiring a new customer (both the cost and time involved) only to lose the account shortly down the road. So the goal is simple for you…

look for warning signs and address them promptly.

With that said, I will pass what I have learned over the years down to you. These signs are common in many businesses, but particularly the cleaning business. Some are self-inflicted while others are not.

Without further ado here we go:

  • An increase in complaints. I know this sounds obvious, but it is easy to miss. The complaints may be spread out a bit or may come in a cluster. Either way they all need to be taken seriously. Customers don’t take time out of their busy day to complain about nothing. If they think there is a problem, then there is a problem. Let them know you care and are taking their complaints to heart.
  • The same complaint over and over again. The same issues just keep resurfacing over and over. It just might be time for you to get out to the job ASAP and do it yourself! You are real close to losing the account at this point so bear down and get it fixed.
  • New management took over. You have employee turnover and so do the customers you work for. You have to re-earn their trust all over again sometimes. It may not be fair but that’s life. Introduce yourself to them and let them know they can count on you.
  • New ownership took over. This is even more serious than new management. Make sure you follow the work schedule to the letter. Introduce yourself as soon as possible. Ask them if there is anything that needs to be done differently. Earn their trust by holding up your end of the bargain.
  • The customer wants a new cleaner (or crew). This means they are willing to work with you, but to play along you are going to have to give them their wish. Keeping the same person, or crew, there against their wish shows them you don’t care. This can be a difficult problem to address because your employee may be doing a good job (or may not), and it could just be a personality conflict. For some reason your happy go lucky cleaner rubs them the wrong way. I have learned the hard way (lost several accounts) that it is best to get someone new in there. Even if that means you incur the added cost of running a help wanted ad. At the end of the day it is your job to make them happy. Do what needs to be done.

Very few lessons I write about will put more money in your pocket than this one. Taking the warning signs I spoke of seriously will save you money. Probably thousands (if not more) over the course of your business career. The money is better in your pocket than some other cleaning companies pocket.

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