Customer I cleaned for 4 months ago now says I left too much "soap" and demands a free reclean

floorclean

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Mar 31, 2016
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Dale MacDonald
I think I’ll go with everyone else here. How will you ever decide what job you’ll do for free? Just knowing that if someone threatens you, you’ll be willing to do anything to make them happy. Not the best business model. I think you might be judging your value on who complains. You will NEVER make every customer happy. I’m not judging you for going back although I wouldn’t have. But hopping that by reading others thoughts you’ll rethink unreasonable complaints. This guys “complaint” was so outrageous I probably wouldn’t have even addressed him directly and would have only commented on the review.
 

wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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the "pro" said that the carpet has too much "soap residue" in it and it looks bad. Then he said his maintenance man confirmed that there looks to be too much "soap". He then said "I really hope you guarantee your work and can come fix this for us". 4....Months...Later. In a vacation rental, on the beach, that sleeps 6. Sun tan oils, sand, blacktop parking lot. All of these rentals get dirty very quickly. Lots of property managers have me on quarterly and bi-annual cleaning schedules.

I know this post is long, but might be worth a close look.

You've already got a ton of good advice on how to deal with this. I can only add that nobody, no matter how professional they think they are, can just look at a carpet based on how dirty it is and say, "Yeah, there's a bunch of soap residue that's causing rapid resoiling." I've been cleaning over 30 years and I can't do it, not JUST by looking at it. I do have other ways. My best guess is they said that because they thought it soiled too rapidly after you cleaned it. Crunchy carpet fibers are pretty much a dead give-a-way of heavy residue. Carpets that have been improperly cleaned in the past and heavy uses of spotters like Resolve or spray and vac type cleaners also can cause issues that absolutely WILL NOT EVER respond to a normal cleaning. That's why ACID RINSES CAN AND DO help in many instances. Acid rinses are my preferred rinse, but specially if I know there is a residue problem. Clear water may be fine 90 + % of the time, but not always IMHO.

Then we have all the millions of sq. ft. of oil loving polys out there that will soak up oily substances like you mentioned like a proverbial sponge. My best guess is that's what was really going on here and these rentals need a minimum quarterly cleaning. Even acid rinsing will do little if anything to help that situation, but at least you can say with honesty that you've not left a soil attracting residue on their carpets.

I would have quickly, but calmly ask the person who called you exactly how the "pro" and the maintenance man determined there was soap residue? Did they take the ph or do anything other than just look at it and proclaim w/o any evidence that there was soap in the carpet? We all know, or should know, that soapy residues DO cause rapid resoiling. We all should also know that soap residues build up over time from improper cleanings or even improper spot removers. They CANNOT easily be removed by a single cleaning!!! Resolve comes to my mind BIG TIME! Does their house keeping or maid service use anything on the carpets to maintain appearance between cleanings? If so, what? Acid rinsing removes these residues FAR, FAR BETTER than water alone. Don't agree if you want to, but you'll never convince me I'm wrong on this. Perhaps some of this might help to better handle such a situation and not wind up doing a free cleaning OR getting a bad review for no good reason.
 
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Tcoulter

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Apr 18, 2017
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Trace Coulter
BIG MISTAKE! You say you're not going to clean for him anymore? LOL Yes you will, and you will be doing it for free because all he has to do is threaten to give you a bad review. I"m sorry, I know no better way to put this then you need to strap some balls on and man up. You got screwed, and now you're screwing yourself.

Yeah, I'm gonna agree with you on that Johnny. I have let people take advantage of me way too often since I have owned this company. Man up is exactly what I need to do. I will do the recleaning, since I already told him I would. But no, I will not ever clean for him again. And from this point on I'm not going to let a bad review deter me from sticking to my guns if I know I am right. I guess the thought of having a bad review has always seemed absolutely devastating to me. Like I am so 100% focused 70 hours a week on doing a perfect job, that the idea that I could have any negativity about me in the public sphere seems so awful. But I know that is just me making a big deal about nothing. At least I've learned a lesson....
 

North County

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You have to realize that most businesses open to the public will have a small small percentage of customers/PITA people that will try and take advantage of you, costing you time and money. Wether you like it or not, your going to have to deal with it. I think you did ok on your decision....
 

Blain

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Stop losing sleep over it. As you said, you don't plan on reservicing customers who are out of your service area. Kindly inform the customer that you will gladly refund his $230 and he can hire another local company to reclean his carpets. Move on.
 

Johnny Bravo

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Yeah, I'm gonna agree with you on that Johnny. I have let people take advantage of me way too often since I have owned this company. Man up is exactly what I need to do. I will do the recleaning, since I already told him I would. But no, I will not ever clean for him again. And from this point on I'm not going to let a bad review deter me from sticking to my guns if I know I am right. I guess the thought of having a bad review has always seemed absolutely devastating to me. Like I am so 100% focused 70 hours a week on doing a perfect job, that the idea that I could have any negativity about me in the public sphere seems so awful. But I know that is just me making a big deal about nothing. At least I've learned a lesson....

I completely understand your position about not wanting bad reviews. But sometimes when it's blatant blackmail you got bite the bullett. As @Mama Fen advised it's best to talk to the client diplomatically as she gave a fine example of. But going forward I think you're on the right path now. Good luck.

P.S. And thanks for not taking offense to my blunt advise. I didn't mean any harm. I don't have the gift that MaMa Fen does. :)
 
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longkenn

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May 7, 2011
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Kenneth Long
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By all means, jeopardize that perfect rating! Show that you're not a machine, you're a human being and a professional! Customers don't judge you by one bad review - they look at it to see how you handle it.

Handling a poor review well actually makes potential customers respect you as a person and a professional more than a bunch of bland "good job, thanks" comments.

In four months' time, there's been a lot of traffic in that house. And you've had no control over who's done what. In any other service industry, four months after the time of service is far too long to expect a free re-do.

So my approach would be as follows:

"Dear [name],

Thank you for reaching out to me with your concern.

While I always appreciate the feedback of other professionals in my trade, it is difficult for any carpet cleaner, no matter how skilled, to draw conclusions on work that was performed four months ago in a rental unit that experiences high rotational traffic.

My cleaning process does not use soap - the chemical I apply is an enzyme product with citrus oils to clean effectively without the use of potentially harmful butyls or solvents (I will gladly send you the data sheets on my products if you wish.)

I also include both a rinse step and a drying step that would make any residue issues immediately visible before I leave the property.

Because there was no residue of any sort evident during the post-cleaning walkthrough, or for several months after it, I can only surmise that the carpet cleaner who rented the property may have been seeing the buildup of soils common to high-traffic rental carpet. It is also possible that a renter had a spill and tried to clean it themselves to avoid doing damage to your property - it really is difficult to say what has happened since I have not seen the property in several months.

Please feel free to reach me at [number] and I will be happy to assist you in any way I can. I take great pride in my work and want very much for you to be satisfied with your experience."


You're not telling the property owner he's wrong - you're acknowledging his concern, but letting him know that the information given to him by this third party is based on after-the-fact observation and not on reality. Since you don't use soap, it can't be soap residue. But you're glad he reached out and you're willing to talk to him.
Mama Fen nearly always has the correct answer. I would, however, change one word. Don't refer to your cleaning solution as "chemicals." Always refer to it as cleaning solution or cleaning products. It has a less negative connotation.