Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Choice Is Always Yours

Breaking Up With Your Maid

"I just had to fire my cleaning lady. Or she fired me, I can't tell. She charges me $80 per visit every two weeks. Last week, she wanted to bump it to $100. What! A 25% increase? Well, I thought about it and it doesn't work for me.

I talked to my husband today to understand the situation and to figure if there was a way to work it out. He kept telling me about the cost of materials and gas and stuff. But a 25% increase is too high. So I said that we should just agree to separate."

The choice is always yours. Your decision:

Is the extra $520 per year worth taking the chance that your next maid will perform at the same level as your current maid?

Of course, if pricing is the only reason that you're using your maid-then you're paying too much already. It doesn't take a lot of work to find a cheap maid. They're all over the place. Just look in your local classified ad section. Or look in Craigslist. Or just pull one of those flyers from your local grocery store bulletin board.

Time will tell if your decision is correct. The great thing about time is that you always wake up. You wake up and realize that you get what you pay for. That's when you have another decision. Your decision:

Should I pay extra for a more professional maid? Or should I just keep letting this maid get away with her mistakes? Or better yet, should I just save all the money and clean the house myself?

The choice is always yours.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hiding The Maid

Every now and then we get involved in sticky domestic situations. After all, we are working in your house. So witnessing an argument or seeing something you shouldn't see is bound to happen.

Just last week we were caught in a sticky situation. We walked into the home ready to clean. However, the husband didn't know that we were supposed to be there. And he definitely didn't know that he was supposed to pay us for the work. So he told us to leave because we were at the wrong house.

Now we knew we were at the right house. We had been going there for weeks. But the husband was never home. He was always working. But he was home for lunch this day. And his wife wasn't.

It turns out that his wife had been hiding the maid from her husband. And now we have one less customer. And now his wife has one more chore to add to her list.

This isn't the first time. It's happened a few times before and it always ends the same way. We lose the customer. And it has nothing to do with our work.

There's no real moral to the story. It just stinks because we earned the business. And we kept earning it every time we cleaned the house. Life isn't fair all the time.......

Friday, June 22, 2007

Meet Dorothy

From the desk of Colleen comes this awesome review of one of our star employees.....

Dorothy has been at our Pensacola office for just over a year now. She has been one of the most dependable and dedicated employees to this office. In fact, I can count on one hand how many days she has requested a day off in the time she has been here. And not once has she ever called out sick or just not shown up. She is the model for what an employee should be.

Aside from being so dependable and dedicated, she is also a top quality cleaner. Her clients enjoy and look forward to her top-notch service. She is very much requested by many clients. The clients love how she always does just a little extra more than what’s required.

I can say that Dorothy is a huge asset to our company. She has been here through a lot of changes and has stuck around to see what dedication and hard work can do.

Thank you Dorothy for everything you have done for this company and we hope you continue it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Staying Connected....

Imagine that your favorite band is coming to town next week. You've been following this band for several years now. You know all the words. You know all the band members. You even know their story- how they got started- why they're popular now, etc.

The band is planning on playing in the amphitheatre downtown. On your way to the concert, you notice a flyer posted on a light pole. It's an advertisement for a cover band that plays all the same songs as your favorite band. And they're playing right across the street from the amphitheatre. And of course, the tickets for the cover band are a lot less than tickets at the amphitheatre.

So what's your decision? Do you save the money and listen to the same songs across the street? Or do you cross the street and see the real deal?

Only you know the answer. Economics doesn't normally get weighed as heavily when you have a connection with something. Of course, economics gets weighed heavily when you are not connected to something.

That's what happens every day with our customers. They see the ads on the light poles. They know that we're not the only game in town. And they know that our rates are higher too. What keeps them coming back is the connection.

We're connected because our customers know that we care. They know that we listen. They know that we want to communicate. That's keeps us connected.

And as long as we're connected we'll have customers. And as long as we have customers we'll keep trying to stay connected.

Friday, June 15, 2007

And The Beat Goes On

Dear Annie: I've had the same cleaning lady for over 20 years, with no problems until the last two. Lately, I have been missing jewelry and blouses. My husband couldn't believe "Corinne" was taking anything until one of his expensive gadgets went missing.

We are both in declining health and must have help in the home, as we cannot do it ourselves. I know Corinne is taking advantage of this. She is an excellent worker, but she always carries a large purse and it's easy to walk out with things.

What should I do? I'm afraid if I confront her about these missing items, she will quit. I've hidden my expensive jewelry, but even so, things continue to disappear. Any suggestions? — No Name, No State

Dear No Name: It's possible you are mistaken about the stealing, so first approach Corinne and say, "I can't seem to locate my pearl earrings. Can you find them for me?" This gives her notice that you are aware things are missing, and it provides an opportunity for her to "discover" them without making accusations. If she doesn't do so and things continue to disappear, it's time to find a new cleaning person or hire a cleaning service. We know you are accustomed to Corinne, but apparently, she costs more than you intended to pay.

Click here for the full article

Corinne may not have stolen the jewelry. However, the fact that the customer can't even quiz her employee on the disappearance proves that something is terribly wrong. I wonder if all those years of paying $10 less makes up for the lost jewelry today?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Customer Application

We've always joked about the idea of forcing customers to apply for our service. Sort of like our employees have to do when they want to work for us. Of course, we've never really applied the concept to our business. But the idea isn't such a bad idea.

Here's what our customer application would like....

1. Have you ever hired a maid service company or personal housekeeper?
2. If so, what was the worst thing about each of your past housekeepers?
3. On a scale from 1-10, how important is it for you to receive the same exact cleaning crew each time?
4. How often will you be able to provide feedback on your housecleaning?
5. Why do you need to hire someone to clean your house?

There are specific reasons for each question. Think of it like a flow chart. Each answer takes you in one of two directions. At the end, you have one final conclusion.

What we're looking for in a customer is someone that has hired a maid before. She has had bad experiences in the past with her housekeeper. She realizes that we will send different people from time to time. She wants to provide feedback on our service. And she needs us because she doesn't have enough time in the day to take care of everything.

That's our perfect customer. That's who we make the happiest. Everybody else dislikes a little something about our company. It could be that they think our rates are too expensive. That's because they've never been burned by an unethical housekeeper in the past. It could be that they really want the same people in their house every time. That's because they're home every day and they critique our work too stringently. It could be that they just want to pay us to clean and then be done with us. That's because they don't really understand why they hired our company in the first place.

The customer application is still a mere joke right now. But the time may come for the joke to become reality. We want to make everybody happy. And we can't make you happy if your idea of happiness is different than our idea.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Merry Go Round

Imagine if an employee for a clothing store decided to sell lesser priced clothing in the clothing store's parking lot?

Imagine if an employee for a grocery store decided to sell lesser priced food in the grocery store's parking lot?

The answer is obvious. The employee would be fired. And the employee may even be sued or arrested.

That's what happens when a customer of a maid service company decides to hire an employee at a cheaper rate. The employee steals business earned by the employer.

Here's what the employee is thinking....

"Why not just charge this customer a little less than what the maid service is currently charging? I'll make more money, plus the customer will be getting a deal. There's no way that the customer will say no because she loves my work."

Here's what the customer is thinking....

"Why not just hire the employee rather than the company? Her rate will be cheaper and I'll get the same service that I'm currently getting."

And so the deal gets done. Until the former employee gets another job. Or until the former employee gets a higher paying gig. Or until the former employee steals from the customer. Or until the former employee just decides that she wants to sleep in one morning.

It will happen. Nobody cleans forever. They always quit. And if they don't quit, they get used to you. They get used to making the same mistakes over and over again. They get used to eating breakfast with you every time. They get used to taking a break on your couch every time. They get used to you paying them no matter if you're happy or not.

And then you remember why you hired the maid service company in the first place.

And then you hop right back on that merry go round.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Why Not To Hug Your Maid

We hear it all the time. It's one of the main reasons people decide to use our service. It's also one of the main reasons that people decide to stick with their current housecleaner.

Click here to figure out what I'm talking about.

"But what to do? She's been in my family longer than my dog. Longer than my kid, for that matter. She has a key to my house – a sign of trust I haven't even bestowed upon my mother. So firing her is out of the question."

We hear this almost every day. At some point, you are going to have to fire her. Because she's become too friendly to you. And unfortunately, this is business. And in business, productivity is expected because money changes hands.

Of course, it's really not your current housecleaner's fault. She's just getting away with what you allow her to get away with. So here's my suggestion.....

Fire her and never look back. Hire Two Maids & A Mop. Yes, you'll get different people from time to time. But it's the lesser of two evils. Because you won't ever need to discipline one of our employees. This will be business. And our job will be to consistently satisfy your needs. And if we don't, you can fire us too.

Our job is to make you happy. Sure, we wouldn't mind becoming your friend. But our job is to earn your money.

Stop being a friend and start being a customer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Panama City CAB Notes-2007

We held our first ever customer advisory board meeting in Panama City last week. Seven of our customers had to cancel at the last minute. Look to the right to see what you missed. That's right, you're eyes aren't deceiving you. That's beautiful St. Andrews Bay in the background and that's also a cool breeze flowing through our hair. What a great night!

Panama City Customer Advisory Board Meeting Notes-2007

Monday, June 04, 2007

Remembering The Janitor

Who says that your cleaning company has to be faceless?

Click here for proof that you don't have to be a doctor in order to be appreciated.