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There are times when you’ll encounter a maid service customer who seems impossible to work with. Here’s a three-phase approach when you’re at your wit’s end.

If your customer is constantly complaining about your house cleaning services and causing other problems such as blowing up social media with a customer service complaint, you may be desperate for a solution. 

But it’s tough to take action when that little voice in your head is saying, “The customer is always right.” You don’t want to ruffle feathers, and the idea of losing a client can be pretty frightening.

Thankfully, you’re not the first business owner to deal with a bad client. And there’s plenty you can do to address the problem. Here’s a brief guide to dealing with an unpleasant customer. We also included a script for those times when parting ways really is your best option. (But don’t worry—there are other things to try first.)

Inspect your cleaners’ work.

Some people are impossible to please and always find something to criticize. But if one of your customers simply won’t let up with the complaints, look into it. Their frustrations may be perfectly valid—and thus something you need to address.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Make arrangements to visit your customer’s house right after your cleaning team is done cleaning. Do a thorough inspection and ask the customer to point out areas that are unsatisfactory. You may even consider not telling your cleaners that you’re planning to inspect their work. If they know you’re coming afterward, it’ll be much harder to get a clear picture of their regular performance.
  2. Get pictures of the house right after a cleaning. You could ask your team or the customer for pictures. Look closely for anything that aligns with specific complaints from your customer.

 

You may discover that your customer is upset about a real problem. In this case, it’s on you to communicate expectations with your team and make sure they step it up. Be sure to acknowledge the issues and apologize to your customer, too!

But if your customer is constantly complaining about a job well done, you may choose another strategy.

Raise your prices—just for that customer.

Many Launch27 users like this strategy for dealing with a difficult customer. It’s a great way to filter out the really bad eggs. Many people would rather stop working with you than pay the extra cost. This is hardly worth grieving since those customers were making you miserable anyway.

Some, however, will accept the price increase. The benefit here is that you get some extra money in exchange for dealing with their nonsense. It makes the stress feel “worth it.” Plus, with Launch27’s flexible pricing tools, it’s pretty easy to do.

Don’t be afraid to ask yourself how much extra cash you’d need to make it worth your while. A 10% increase? 25%? Just make sure it’s bigger than a typical yearly increase. Otherwise, you’ll be back in the same boat very quickly.

Fire them.

Virtually every service provider has a story about a nightmare customer. Yelling, nitpicking, and unwarranted rudeness can be incredibly demoralizing to deal with on a regular basis. A little unpleasantness is virtually unavoidable, of course. But some customers simply aren’t worth dealing with.

Ending a relationship with a paying customer can feel counterintuitive to doing business. But you need to ask yourself if the stress and frustration of dealing with that person is worth the money. Also, as a business owner, you need to think of your workers, too. After all, you’re not the only one dealing with your bad customers. Firing a bad client doesn’t just protect you from their toxic behavior. It also saves your workers from a regular interaction that they probably dread.

So how exactly do you fire a bad client?

Like any unpleasant conversation, don’t have it until you’re feeling calm and collected. It’s okay to feel nervous, but if a walk or meditation beforehand helps settle your nerves, make time for that. Speak professionally and kindly—but be firm and stick to your guns.

A “Dear Jane” script example

“Jane, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with you. But I’ve given it some thought, and it seems that you aren’t happy with the service we provide. At [name of your company], we pride ourselves on providing an excellent and thorough clean, but given the feedback I’ve received from you, I’m afraid we may not be the best fit for your cleaning needs. This isn’t an easy thing to say, but I think it’s best if we end our working relationship. I’m happy to provide one more cleaning service on [date], unless you prefer to simply end things now.”

You may need to make a few changes to suit your situation. But this should give you a solid foundation.

Every person reacts to this type of conversation differently. They may be calm and respectful, and they may be extremely upset. Do your best not to take it personally. If you’ve done your due diligence to ensure that you’re truly providing an excellent service, then it’s not about you. You did the best you could, and now you’re simply doing what’s best for your business and your workers.

One final tip: 

You may want to make sure the customer is fully paid up before you have this conversation. Otherwise, you may run the risk of them refusing to pay their dues. However, if you’re really desperate to be done with them, you may simply accept the risk of that loss.

Every business owner hopes that all their customers will be reasonable and pleasant—and pay on time! With these tips, that occasional difficult maid service customer won’t be nearly as disruptive to your business (and personal wellness).