Monday, December 01, 2008
The REALLY Unhappy Customer
Two Maids & A Mop has finally done it. We've made one person EXTREMELY upset. Take a look at this blog and you'll see how unhappy she is......
1. For a deep cleaning, we charge $75 per hour for a team of two maids. We typically provide a rough time estimation for the deep cleaning and that estimate is correct 90% of the time. We make every attempt to tell the prospective customer that we don't know for sure how long the cleaning will take - after all, we're just talking over the phone. But history usually serves as the best example - so we use historical examples of similar sized homes as our guide. We're correct about 90% of the time; which means that we're wrong 10% of the time. That's why we strongly suggest that the time estimation is just that - an estimation based on our best guess.
In this case, we needed two days. Yet, we stopped after just seven hours because the work day had ended. However, we were more than willing to arrive the next morning to continue our work. Unfortunately, we weren't called by the customer until 9 AM the next morning (the day before Thanksgiving). That left us in a bind because all of our employees time had been allocated for the day. In addition, the problem was compounded by the holiday because we were not open Thursday or Friday.
2. The fact is that our deep cleanings are SLOW. They should be slow and we will not ever change the pace of our deep cleanings. The very definition of a deep cleaning infers the pace of the cleaning.
3. This cleaning cost a lot of money to the customer. No doubt about it. In fact, it may be the most costly cleaning ever since our inception. When I heard about the cost, I was immediately concerned because I knew that someone had just paid a ton of money and their house was still not completely cleaned. The perfect recipe for disaster.
What Should Have Happened:
1. Once we saw the mountain that we had to climb, we should have informed the customer that we were going to require at least two days of cleaning. That was our fault and we accept responsibility.
2. We should have responded to this customer's complaints well before today. We can blame the holiday, but the real blame lies with me. I should have checked into our email system periodically over the break just to make sure that everything was ok. It wasn't.
3. We should have been open and honest with the customer about the cost implications and the time requirements. We can defend our time quote, but once inside - we should have alerted the customer to the possibility of an extremely expensive cleaning.
What We Have Learned:
1. We will no longer charge by the hour for a deep cleaning. Too many people think we're working to simply inflate our price. Too many people think our pace of cleaning is slow. And too many people just sit there calculating the final total. This isn't the first time and it won't be the last - so from this point forward - we're going to charge flat rates based on the number people living inside the home and the home's total square footage. This should alleviate this problem forever.
2. We need to check our email during holiday breaks.
What We Will Do To Make This Customer Happy:
1. We'll do whatever she wants us to do. It's a hard lesson, but we're willing to learn from our mistakes. We've never claimed to be perfect and we'll probably make another mistake just as serious as this one down the road. But for now, we've learned our lesson. And we'll pay for it.
This won't happen ever again. The formula for this type of disaster is now dead.
P.S. There's a reason our customers selected us for this award. And this one too.