Unappeasable customers

rob allen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 5, 2007
38,561
19,905
113
Va.
www.drynclean.com
Real Name
Robert Allen,Jr.
Business Location
United States
Unpleas-able customers, ever had one? I have almost 1000 5 star reviews with my local CC co across Google, FB & Yelp with only one or two 1 stars. One I remember clearly to this day. She called and said she spilled pumpkin spice coffee and said she tried everything on it.

I kindly told her that with the dye and her use of several DIY cleaners it probably won’t come out. I suggested a repair. But she begged me to come at least give it a try. I said we have a min charge. I was reluctant but being the nice (naive at the time) guy I am I went.

Upon arrival and seeing it I immediately knew it was a lost cause on her nylon cut pile. She had even scrubbed so hard she distorted the pile with tip bloom. I informed her that cleaning won’t make much if any difference. But she insisted I at least try. So I pulled in my hoses and worked on it with my spotters. It didn’t improve much. I told her that is all that I could do. Her demeanor changed.

After I wrapped up my hoses and put everything away I came in to collect my minimum. She now looked angry. I proceeded to write up the bill and she blurted out “you’re not going to f****** charge me are you”? I didn’t show it but I admit inside I was bit taken back. I remember thinking to myself “where did the nice persuasive lady go”? I said “we agreed on the min” and she said “but you didn’t get it out”. What would I do?

So I said “ma’am you are obligated to pay as I did what we agreed on. And I mentioned it would probably not come out. However out of the kindness of my heart I will not charge you”. She huffed and said “are you saying I’m in the wrong”? At that point I realized there was no reason to argue because reason had left the conversation. I leave and lo and behold she wrote a blistering 1 star review. What did I learn?

That some customers are un-pleasable. You could buy them new furnishing or whatever and they still will be unhappy. Why? Because they are miserable people who don’t like being called out for their greed, unreasonableness and just being miserable insufferable people. Sadly, I’ve came across one or two of those times since I’ve started my supply business.

Because of such experiences I have an independent review company for our TMFshop .net store. We have over 5000 5 star reviews, the most in our industry. Daily we strive to over deliver when it comes to knock your socks off customer service and quality. This way when others read the rare low review hopefully a reasonable person can read between the lines and see the unreasonable and the un-pleaseable.

I’d say 99.9% of the time cleaners online have been really a pleasure to deal with. Don’t forget we offer a 100% guarantee on virtually everything we sell. So I’d like to take a moment to thank all of our loyal TMF members and customers. May you all have a great 2021 and thank you for allowing us here at TMF to be a part in your success!

Rob
 

U. S. Vet.

Active Member
Jul 8, 2020
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Real Name
Sanis Sanis
One unpleasant Person I worked for was a paperwork nazi <—— ( good for me, I guess ? ? ? ) • it did teach me good paperwork discipline ?

Anyway, the point is • • • document EVERYTHING !

I had to be certain every • dot crossed / i dotted - including documenting every :
tear / rip, die transfers, etc. • signed & dated • before anything gets underway.
 

sbsscn

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2009
2,793
978
113
california
Real Name
Arm Ben
Business Location
United States
Unpleas-able customers, ever had one? I have almost 1000 5 star reviews with my local CC co across Google, FB & Yelp with only one or two 1 stars. One I remember clearly to this day. She called and said she spilled pumpkin spice coffee and said she tried everything on it.

I kindly told her that with the dye and her use of several DIY cleaners it probably won’t come out. I suggested a repair. But she begged me to come at least give it a try. I said we have a min charge. I was reluctant but being the nice (naive at the time) guy I am I went.

Upon arrival and seeing it I immediately knew it was a lost cause on her nylon cut pile. She had even scrubbed so hard she distorted the pile with tip bloom. I informed her that cleaning won’t make much if any difference. But she insisted I at least try. So I pulled in my hoses and worked on it with my spotters. It didn’t improve much. I told her that is all that I could do. Her demeanor changed.

After I wrapped up my hoses and put everything away I came in to collect my minimum. She now looked angry. I proceeded to write up the bill and she blurted out “you’re not going to f****** charge me are you”? I didn’t show it but I admit inside I was bit taken back. I remember thinking to myself “where did the nice persuasive lady go”? I said “we agreed on the min” and she said “but you didn’t get it out”. What would I do?

So I said “ma’am you are obligated to pay as I did what we agreed on. And I mentioned it would probably not come out. However out of the kindness of my heart I will not charge you”. She huffed and said “are you saying I’m in the wrong”? At that point I realized there was no reason to argue because reason had left the conversation. I leave and lo and behold she wrote a blistering 1 star review. What did I learn?

That some customers are un-pleasable. You could buy them new furnishing or whatever and they still will be unhappy. Why? Because they are miserable people who don’t like being called out for their greed, unreasonableness and just being miserable insufferable people. Sadly, I’ve came across one or two of those times since I’ve started my supply business.

Because of such experiences I have an independent review company for our TMFshop .net store. We have over 5000 5 star reviews, the most in our industry. Daily we strive to over deliver when it comes to knock your socks off customer service and quality. This way when others read the rare low review hopefully a reasonable person can read between the lines and see the unreasonable and the un-pleaseable.

I’d say 99.9% of the time cleaners online have been really a pleasure to deal with. Don’t forget we offer a 100% guarantee on virtually everything we sell. So I’d like to take a moment to thank all of our loyal TMF members and customers. May you all have a great 2021 and thank you for allowing us here at TMF to be a part in your success!

Rob
thank you for sharing Rob.

Only thing I saw wrong and im sure you can now see it is:

Before the work was done you should have clearly communicated to her that you can try to remove the spot but that there is a charge and that even though you would do your very best to remove or reduce that there would still be a charge regardless of the result.

That usually stops them dead on their tracks and of course if they say "go ahead and try" you need to clearly stated it in your written work order with a signature.
 
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OxiFreshGuy

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2016
3,090
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Boris Johnson
Business Location
United States
thank you for sharing Rob.

Only thing I saw wrong and im sure you can now see it is:

Before the work was done you should have clearly communicated to her that you can try to remove the spot but that there is a charge and that even though you would do your very best to remove or reduce that there would still be a charge regardless of the result.

That usually stops them dead on their tracks and of course if they say "go ahead and try" you need to clearly stated it in your written work order with a signature.
And in todays world then suffer their wrath on all the review sites...I'm still sitting at 4.8 stars for my second location due to a trashed out poly in the "East" side of town. Pulled straight mud from this guys carpet. Spent an hour on 400 sq ft of carpet. Looked a million times better but not new. $100.

That bad review has probably cost me more than $1,000 because the location is so new and 4.8 stars looks bad.
 

mrotto

Well-Known Member
Sep 1, 2009
3,002
2,034
113
Wisconsin
Real Name
Paul Ottensmann
Business Location
United States
Yep, I agree. Dont remember having a bad customer like that but I did get a 1 star review. I just put my website up and went on google about 2 years ago. Seems a lady I cleaned for had an appointment 7 years ago and she left a 1 star review saying I never showed up. So I searched my records and that is when my Dad passed away. It was a crazy time and really dont recall why I missed calling her to reschedule. Anyway its the world we live in.

Rob, I would have one suggestion. I would have given the customer an invoice PRIOR to work and said *here is the invoice. It will be the same price if I can get it out or not*. If you would have done that (especially if you knew it was going to be the minimum) she could have complained then and would have no recourse if she didnt. I know you told her several times, but as Mack Clark says *Clearly Stated Expectations* Being persuasive would have been a red flag and had me extra cautious.
 
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John Rockwood

Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2012
2,378
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Oregon
Real Name
John Rockwood
She made everything worse when she played carpet cleaner. In her mind you were the savior and had already exceeded your realistic expectations in her mind. I think you did what you could short of saying "no".
I've had a few of these over the years and when it's a small job in size I will bring out the spotter machine vs TM and explain that if I can improve the appearance then she will pay my min charge and if I can not make a difference then there will be no charge.
Had some want to give me something for my time even though I said "no charge".
I feel that once I tell them what is going to happen it defuses the situation.
 

wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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Nov 12, 2008
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Randy Dockins
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Sometimes you have to try and do the customer a favor and protect them from themselves. I got called for an estimate yesterday of a single flooded bedroom with a clean water flood from an outside faucet that evidently froze this winter. They lied through their teeth on the phone and the primary problem was they were unwilling to remove the bed from the room which is something I refuse to do. Sorry, I don't dismantle beds, period. It was literally impossible to do the job with that bed in the room. Moving the bed around was not an option. I refused the job and suggested they plan on getting new carpet. I even measured the room for them and told them how much they're going to need! I could go further on some of the stupidity that I encountered, but I'll leave it to your imagination.

I rarely encounter something I really don't think I can clean, but when I do I make it clear I cannot and will not guarantee the results and expect to be paid regardless. Occasionally I have to INSIST on not doing the job and suggest they perhaps call another service. I might do that once or twice in a year. I'm getting off to a good start this year!
 
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U. S. Vet.

Active Member
Jul 8, 2020
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43
Real Name
Sanis Sanis
This could be a thread on its own - lol, but • •

this week I spent 4 + hrs ( blew out a cap head from heat / wet steam pressure ), on 1800 sf because the carpeted areas were miles apart. I had to protect ALL of the flooring ( wood ), from heat damage. $386.00

Yesterday, all I could think about was the thread about the upholstery cleaning gone wrong & t client also gone wrong - lol.

The client asked t have her sofa cushion cleaned • going on to explain the exact circumstances described in t thread. Blood was the problem, coupled w her
“home remedy” that had shifted color FROM the fibers
• now dyed, with the remaining rust.

I offered to clean it w just super hot water • & nothing else. It turned out better than we both expected & she is now a cheerleader • no tip for my efforts.

PS: Yes I know .21 / sf is cheap • this is another long time client • I’m honoring previous pricing.
 

John Rockwood

Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2012
2,378
497
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Oregon
Real Name
John Rockwood
This could be a thread on its own - lol, but • •

this week I spent 4 + hrs ( blew out a cap head from heat / wet steam pressure ), on 1800 sf because the carpeted areas were miles apart. I had to protect ALL of the flooring ( wood ), from heat damage. $386.00

Yesterday, all I could think about was the thread about the upholstery cleaning gone wrong & t client also gone wrong - lol.

The client asked t have her sofa cushion cleaned • going on to explain the exact circumstances described in t thread. Blood was the problem, coupled w her
“home remedy” that had shifted color FROM the fibers
• now dyed, with the remaining rust.

I offered to clean it w just super hot water • & nothing else. It turned out better than we both expected & she is now a cheerleader • no tip for my efforts.

PS: Yes I know .21 / sf is cheap • this is another long time client • I’m honoring previous pricing.
Rob had a thread on the lifetime value of of a client some time ago. It was very interesting that a lot of people in our industry never consider this value. You did the right thing, she's a long term client and also one of your cheerleaders. Just think of all the many times you've been in her house and add up the invoices not to mention the people she has referred to you. Some would say try to get another $100 or more on the ticket. Penny wise and dollar foolish.
I will always go with a long term client vs a few extra $ today and potentially ruin a wonderful relationship that didn't just happen over night.
 

MikeHawley14

Active Member
Oct 21, 2018
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Peoria, Arizona
Real Name
Michael Hawley
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United States
I would have looked at it and said patch from what it sound like the tip blooming no shot at all. If she says no then she has to think about well the rest of my carpet is just dirty I’ll call him back for a patch and clean. But from what it sounds like better be a good repair and the cleaning better be an extra scoop of Black Label maybe some Crb. Working under pressure sucks but sometimes those are your best work. But then again you made Black Label unchained Groutmaster so what does that lady know.