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Can you keep your customer who wants to discontinue cleaning service with your company?

Updated on March 29, 2012

Can you keep your customer who wants to discontinue cleaning service with your company?

Some time ago when I was working as an Operation Manager for a cleaning service franchise company, one of our long time customers wanted to talk to me and said that she wanted to discontinue the cleaning service at the end of the following month when the contract ends. The manager did not go into detail but she said she would not be renewing the service with our company.

I did not know what to say because I really did not expect this since she was one of our faithful long time customers. I thought that everything was going ok with the manager. We did our monthly inspection to her facility and talked with her whenever I could to find out if our company’s service was acceptable with her. So I was stunned and stumbled with words, but I had to think quickly to find out why she wanted to discontinue the service and see if I could save this account somehow.

So I asked her if she was not happy with our service somehow.

She said “Not really”.

So I asked her again if any of our employees did anything.

She said “Not really”.

So I asked one more time more directly why she wanted to discontinue the service with us.

She finally said, “I really liked the lady that used come to clean our place, before you changed to the new person that you are sending to our place now. I don’t have anything against this person. She does nice cleaning and etc. But she hardly smiles and she is not friendly. If I ask her to do some small things that the other lady used to do for us as little things like wiping the appliances and etc., she does it but she says it is not in the contract. The other lady just did it with a nice smile and she used say “ok, I will be happy to.” She was not perfect with cleaning our place, but she was so nice to work with. However, this new franchise folks that you have replaced with, I don’t want to work with them any longer.

Now I understood what was happening. Recently we had introduced a franchise owner to her business facility. I told the manager about the coming changes way in advance to make sure that she understood what was happening and she approved the changes reluctantly.

I had to think quickly to somehow save this account not only for the company that I was working with but also for the franchise owner.

I asked her again if there was any way we could try to work this out. I told her that we really appreciated her business and working with our company for many years.

She said reluctantly “Maybe, what do you have in mind?”

I suggested if I could work with this current cleaner and provide more training in customer service. If she could give us just a few more weeks to try to work our issues and improve our service, would she consider staying with our company? She said she would, but she will give us only one week to improve. If there was no change, she would be sticking with her decision to discontinue the service.

I said, “ok, one week is good enough. “ So I talked to the new franchise owner as to what was happening and why the manager wanted to discontinue the service. Once she found out what was happening, she did not want to lose her customer either. In no time, the new franchise owner changed her approach and attitude about doing extra things to keep her customer happy as long as it is not too much out of the contract .

Lessons learned?

When your customer wants to discontinue the service, find out why and try to save the account if possible to do it.

Sometimes, you need to dig in little bit to find the reasons why your customer wants to stop the service. So don’t give up too easily if your customer wants to discontinue the service.

If you have to change cleaners at the facility you manage, make sure that your customer is getting along well with the new cleaner(s) and make sure that the new cleaners receive proper training to match the service that the previous cleaner provided. Without you realizing it, changing people can cause problems.

Excellent customer service is a key to successful business. Your customer will stay with you for a long time because they are happy with your personal interest and care for your customers.

EK Internet

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