Monday, November 14, 2005

The Maid Man Gets His Hands Dirty

My wife and I kept waiting and waiting for our food. Thirty minutes passed before we realized that our waitress wasn't coming back. The manager had just informed us that she had quit during her shift. He also said that she had never placed our order and our food wasn't close to being prepared. He looked beaten and embarrassed. We left the restaurant. We never returned.

I've told that story a lot over the years. It gets a good laugh every time. Today, we had an employee quit during a housecleaning. She walked out; no notice, no warning. My story doesn't sound so funny now.

Right now, I feel like that beaten and embarrassed manager. Try explaining this to one of your best clients. Try explaining this to a brand new customer. I'm not a good liar, so I told the truth, just like that manager.

The brand new client sighed and declined to be rescheduled for another housecleaning. One of our best clients sighed and declined to be rescheduled for another housecleaning. Just like me several years ago.

Why am I telling you all this? Because there is something to be learned here. At the end of the day, we have rescheduled those two clients. We've turned a terrible situation into a great experience. We've shown both clients why people rave about our company. What did we do?

We did two things. Number one - we told the truth. It wasn't the most politically correct thing to say, but we told the truth because that's what we believe in. Number two - we showed the customer that we care. They know that we care because we proved it by our actions. We cleaned both houses, me and my wife. We were a little slow, but we did it. We made two families happy today. Of course, neither customer paid for today's service. And, they wont' pay for another cleaning this year. They hated us at noon and loved us at 5.

I'm better at leading a team. I'm better at marketing. I'm better at selling our services. I'm better at a lot of things, but I cleaned today because I had to do it. There is no such thing as absentee ownership.

Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty.

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