As professional carpet cleaners, we more often than not concentrate on the spots and stains, on the mould and dirt smothering. We try so hard to revive the carpet that we forget we also have to deal with its owner.
If you are a successful carpet washer in London, you likely meet dozens of customers every week. And while we say that we should treat every person and peculiar case individually, we cannot escape the clients’ classification. I have learned to admit that fact and to turn it to my advantage. Moreover, I can recognise the type of customer when I first meet them and react accordingly.
Here are the most common customer types you will encounter in your daily work and how best to work with them.
The Hassle-free Customer
These are usually bachelors or young women in their late 20s and early 30s with busy careers, 60-hour working weeks, and a fast lifestyle. They live in nice modern flats in fashionable residential areas like Putney, Winchmore Hill, Kentish Town or Victoria, and pay good money to delegate as many of the housekeeping chores as possible to professional cleaners.
The last thing these people want is to know what you do or why and how you do it. They are looking for a hassle-free customer experience – a five-minute phone call to book an appointment, 30 seconds of polite talk on the first meeting, and then they leave you to your duties. In most cases, such customers even give you keys to their apartments so that you can clean their carpets while they are at work or having a round of golf on one of the post suburban courses near London.
The hassle-free side of the exchange cuts both ways – the customers are not interested in the service (except for the overall results), but they do not give you much trouble as well. There are a few things, however, that you should always keep in mind.
These are young professionals who enjoy the high-end lifestyle, know good quality when they see it and aspire to do the good things in life. They do not make compromises with quality and expect top-notch results for the money they pay. Do not ever let your performance slip – they will cut you immediately and look for someone else to do a better job.
The Apologising Customer
These are usually people with too much on their mind – too much work, too little time, too many chores, too many kids. They try their best to keep the household in order, but carpet cleaning proves too much, and they hire someone to do the steam washing.
I feel great compassion and sympathy for these housewives (usually), who almost feel embarrassed that they haven’t managed to keep their carpet in better shape. The irony is that in most cases, the hot water extraction delivers excellent results, and these are some of the easiest jobs you will ever have. The customer sees a terrible dirt-smothered carpet, a constant source of anxiety – you see a perfectly normal floor, a bit worn-out from the kids running around, that will look like brand new after the shampoo.
An added bonus – these clients often feel obliged to offer you a piece of cake, a fresh-baked cookie or a glass of excellent homemade lemonade before you start the job. Well, how bad could one more cookie be for your waistline?!
The Professor In Carpet Cleaning
They have read dozens of articles on removing wine stains, the best natural cleaner for mould, and why dry carpet cleaning is better than steam washing. They are better prepared to clean a carpet than your veteran NCCA instructor. They will hover and hum around the house while you do your magic, throwing a sceptical glance in your general direction.
These are the “professors in carpet cleaning” or, as one of my colleagues call them – “the eye-rollers”. I know, I know – you will ask if they know so much and have read a volume on carpet fibre treatment, why wouldn’t they do the cleaning themselves? A perfectly legitimate question, my friends! I am often tempted to ask the same, but I wisely bite my tongue.
So how do you deal with such “armchair” carpet cleaners? First and foremost, be patient. The worst thing you can do is start an argument, even if you know they are blatantly wrong. It’s much better to keep silent and politely nod than to cause an earthquake by pointing out that baking soda and lavender oil will not be enough to remove the deeply embedded dirt.
Second, go the extra mile on the first job if they have booked you for regular treatment. Show them that you are on top of your game and their property is in safe hands.
Last but not least – if they book you a second time, bring the heavy guns. Nothing shuts the professors up like the sight of a heavy-duty RotoVac or a Karcher steam washer.
What about your experience? What is the most common type of customer you meet in your daily rounds?