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You Didn’t Clean That Well – How To Deal with Cleaning Customer Complaints

Posted On: January 28th, 2020 Author: Stephen Matthews

No matter how thorough your commercial cleaners are, there will come a time when you will get a complaint from a customer. The fact is, cleaning is a perception. One may find a space clean when the other completely disagrees with it. In the professional commercial cleaning business, responding to a customer’s complaint plays a vital role in a company’s success.

Your business needs to have a strong foundation and system on how you will handle complaints and issues that may arise. These challenges need to be handled promptly and effectively. This article will share how we work our way through these types of things and how are we able to succeed with it. We hope to impart our knowledge to help you grow your commercial cleaning business.

Things You Need To Do When Facing Complaints

Listen Attentively

Do not jump into judgment. Listen to whatever it is that the complainant has to say. In listening, you will have a full grasp of understanding of what is going on and where the complaint is coming from. Do not interrupt and let the other person speak their mind out. Never question the validity of the claim because you will put your relationship with your customer at risk. Give your feedback only when you had fully understood the whole situation.

Check Your Understanding

Once your customer is through with what he is telling you, paraphrase the issue in a way you understood it. This will gauge if you fully understood what has been conveyed to you. Repeating the problem back to your customer will also ensure that you are on the right track. Identifying the issue will ensure proper resolution.

Empathize

Make your customers feel that you understand that their feeling is valid without compromising your employee or putting the blame to someone else. Be neutral but be sincere when you empathize. In general, most irate customers diffuse anger once they see a display of strong assurance.

Respond Promptly

Make the turnaround time for each complaint reasonable. Do not make your customers wait. Never let them do a follow up for the same claim. This will make them feel unimportant. When a complaint is thrown at you, acknowledge it right away and assure that this will be looked into. Once the investigation is done, submit a written report or call the customer about the resolution.

Tips in Turning Complaints To Positive Learning Opportunity

Criticism helps grow your business. Each criticism has to be taken constructively to get the best benefit out of it. As a business owner, you cannot be hands on to every complaint that will come along your way. You can hire a dedicated staff that will take care of the customer’s issues and complaints.

Emotion plays a big part in handling complaints. This is also the reason why customer service jobs are sometimes exhausting. People tend to deliver negative feedback in many ways. Some people can be diplomatic, but some can be insensitive. Here are helpful tips on how will you convert complaints to a positive customer’s experience.

Do not take the complaint personally

Always separate your emotions from the complaints. Do not look at the customer as if they are attacking you personally, regardless if they have been rude on the phone. Some people cannot express themselves easily. Maybe your customer’s only way of expressing dissatisfaction is by shouting or cursing. Give your customers some time to vent out and listen attentively. Do not apply selective listening, as this will affect your decision making.

Listen Attentively and Validate the Issue

No business is perfect. With this, you need to understand that you and your employees can make mistakes. As the person in the front line of customer service, do not get yourself overwhelmed with the negative emotions that you are getting from the one who is complaining. Always listen with an open mind and do not be influenced by all the unnecessary emotions being displayed. Filter out the feeling so that you can magnify the complaint.

Know Your Customer

Close your eyes as you listen. You already talked with this customer in the past. Is this person in charge? Is he or she in the position to forward or nudge a complaint? Does he or she see the area where the complaint originated? Your customer is not well versed in cleaning as you are. Most of the time, they do not know what process did you use. All they know is that it is dirty.

Ask Probing Questions

Cleaning is a perception. When your customers call in to say that their office is dirty, ask them how did they say it is dirty. Ask which section or area was missed. Make them describe to you how dirty looks like. By asking questions, you will understand what took place. You will also know if this is a valid complaint or not.

Offer Solution

After identifying the challenge, make sure to offer a way to remediate the situation. Do not let a complaint go unattended. This will leave a negative impression on your customers. Offer the best possible solution and do it promptly. An excellent customer service personnel will always think out of the box in offering solutions. Do not be afraid or get intimidated when using your creativity in solving the issue.

Let Your Cleaner Know About the Issue

Make sure that your in-charged cleaner is aware of the situation. Awareness will prevent future issues and constant challenges. We always have this tendency to be defensive and protect the image of our company. For cleaner’s welfare, we must make them aware of the situation regardless if it is good or bad because their morale strongly depends on the quality of their work.

Do not Harbor on the Negative Feelings

Again, the customer service job is very challenging because 70% of the time, you will be dealing with unhappy customers. Always set aside your feelings and do not take as a personal attack on your end. At the end of the day, your job is to give them the best positive customer experience possible.

Suggestions on How Your Customer Service Staff Handle Customer’s Complaints

We all know that your Customer Service Staff filters and handles all the stress that is handed down to them by the unsatisfied customers. As the owner of the cleaning business, you have to equip your employees with the necessary training. You should set their expectations straight so that they can manage their stress effectively. Managing an angry customer is not an easy task. You can have your customer service staff apply the following approaches in dealing with customer’s issues.

Visit the customer and have them show you the area where the complaint came from. This is very basic, as a person in charge of customer service, you need to know where the complaint came from. How else can it be more precise apart from seeing it yourself? A quick call with the customer and telling them that you will go for a visit will pose confidence. Your customer will feel valued because you are interested to see the actual problem. Once you have seen the area that needs improvement, you can simply take care of it right there and then or you can show the cleaning team later part of the day. It will be easy for you to demonstrate how to fix the issue because you already know where to point your team at.

Avoid the issue of miscommunication

As much as possible, the challenge should not come from miscommunication because this may imply unprofessionalism. Eliminate this issue by talking to the customer directly. Do not be intimidated in asking questions. Maintaining excellent communication with your customers will make your life easier.

Do not be afraid of asking about underlying issues

Customers do not want to be tagged as constant complainers. Some customers are not good at expressing their complaints because they thought that you know better. They hired you because they know that you are professional enough to handle their cleaning needs and deliver the highest quality of cleaning possible. By asking them questions like, “Is there anything else I should know about?” breaks the conversation. This question displays authority and confidence. As soon as the customer cracked this question, you will find all the answers helpful, and you can use those insights to strengthen your relationship with them.

Take responsibility and do not play the blame game.

Missing or forgetting an area will always surface in the cleaning business. First, you need to own the mistake. Always talk to the customer as a representative of the company. Never point fingers to other departments just to save face. After all, you are just under one roof, working under one management. If your cleaning department forgets to do a task, then your company as a whole forgets the job. Learn to admit the mistake and formulate an effective action plan.

Checklist – helpful tool

A lot of things in different areas have to be addressed in one cleaning schedule. Help your cleaners to remember everything that they need to address by creating a comprehensive checklist. The checklist will ensure that you are on top of the game, and it will serve as a reminder of the tasks that are lined up.

Documentation

Always file paper works that talk about complaints. It easy to keep track of customer’s behaviour if we keep a comprehensive report of them. This will help us review all the challenges that we had with them and what are the resolutions given in the past.

Let us admit it, and there is no perfect cleaning because the definition of clean is based upon each and everyone’s perception. In the cleaning business, complaints are part of the daily challenges. We need to understand that it is essential for us to overcome this. We hope this article helps you in understanding and devising your strategy in handling complaints. Do not hesitate to drop your comments below if you had experienced an extraordinary demanding customer and how did you handle the situation. We would love to hear all your best practices.

Category: Cleaning Tips

About the Author

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This is Stephen from Clean Group. I work as a full-time commercial cleaning manager and part-time writer with Clean Group - a commercial cleaning company based in Sydney, Australia. I have over 10 years of experience in working with different cleaning companies around Sydney, providing as well as managing office cleaning, carpet cleaning and other commercial cleaning jobs for both households and individuals in Australia. I also share cleaning tips and write about my experience on this website.

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