By Jeff Cross, executive editor
We all have them — high quality customers who have you clean for them on a regular, scheduled basis and listen to your advice. They stick with you for years and years and provide you with valuable referrals.
We all have them — those crazy customers who call you sporadically, usually when they are in desperate need because the in-laws are coming over or they have a party tomorrow. But next time, they toss you under the bus with glee because another deal came their way.
We always talk about the former. It’s the latter that I want to talk about this month.
In conversations with cleaners all over the country recently, I was asking about some of the crazy things customers do that can be really irritating to business owners and their techs.
For me, one that really stood out was a customer who used oven cleaner to remove some spots from the carpet. Yes, the spot came out. So did the carpet, the padding and some of the subfloor, I think.
What about you? Do you have crazy customers?
Rick Smith, Hurricane Cleaners in Skowhegan, ME cleans a local Pizza Hut that also likes to use oven cleaner, even on the walls of the restaurant. You would think a commercial setting would know better, right?
Chuck Martin, owner of Martin Professional Cleaning & Restoration in Pittsburg, KS had a customer inform him she uses meat tenderizer to remove blood spots from her carpet. Maybe she ran out of paper towels and peroxide, I don’t know.
Andrew Somers with Inside-Out Cleaning Services in Blockhouse, Nova Scotia has to wonder about one of his customers who uses cleaning products made from crushed sea shells, not to mention the one who was removing spots with Windex as he arrived for the job.
Finally, a few cleaners commented about how many of their customers get out anything with bleach, because “Bleach makes things bright and clean.”
Now, here’s a business building tip. When these things happen, we have to watch our reaction. We might be tempted to exclaim, “You did WHAT?” when we should just listen to them and then calmly explain a better process.
We are the professionals. We know how to get the job done right. Your customers? They need to stand back and let you do your work.
But convincing them of this… that’s a different challenge altogether.
That’s my rant for the month. Get busy, have fun and remember that Cleanfax is always here for you.
When to Toss in the Towel.
It happens all the time in a typical household. You grab a paper towel — or two, or three — to wipe up a mess when something is spilled. That’s what paper towels are for, right?
But something else you might have experienced using paper towels is for polishing your nice granite countertop, rubbing and scrubbing but still seeing streaks on the surface. You keep going until you have exhausted not only your stock of paper towels, but your own energy as well.
And what about the mirrors and windows in your home? Have you ever sprayed them with window cleaner and no matter how much you rubbed and scrubbed with a paper towel, you still saw those little swirly marks?
Of course. Happens all the time!
We have nothing against paper towels. We all use them and need them. But there is a better choice when it comes to cleaning many of the surfaces in your home.
What’s that better choice? A “microfiber” cloth or towel, and it solves all kinds of cleaning challenges.
Microfibers are amazing things. They are normally made from polyester, sometimes with other fibers added, and can be reused again and again and again with normal laundering. (Just don’t use fabric softener as that leaves a residue on the towel.)
The word “micro” is key: Tiny filaments that act like thirsty grime-seeking sponges. Microfibers are soft and eagerly grab dirt, spills and more, leaving the surface sparkling clean. Those shiny surfaces in your home are perfect for microfibers.
Bonus: Anyone who believes in cleaning “green” and recycling should consider using microfibers. They are environmentally a superior choice. You can purchase them from virtually any store that sells cleaning products. Try them out.
So toss in the towel — the paper one, anyway.
Keep ’Em Fresh!
Fresh is always best, right? And that’s especially true of something special and valuable in your home — fresh, cut flowers.
Flowers make a great gift and everyone enjoys them. What’s frustrating is how quickly they begin to wilt and look tired and… then they look more like weeds than flowers.
There are a lot of tips and tricks you can try to keep flowers fresh longer. No scientific evidence, but easy things you can try at home.
You know those little packets of powder that comes with fresh cut flowers? The little packet your florist includes for free? It’s basically sugar – so if you don’t have some of those packets, just dump in a tablespoon or so of white sugar. The powdered sugar variety might be best since it will dissolve easier in water. Even cut flowers need a little nourishment, and who doesn’t like sugar?
Keeping the water acidic is also a tip some pros endorse. Acidity is vital to plant growth, so adding an ounce or two of white vinegar might make those flowers look their best longer.
The Clorox company recommends ? teaspoon of bleach for each vase of flowers, saying the bleach disinfects and keeps the water clear and free of that smelly slime we all experience after a few days on the counter.
Another way to make flowers look better longer is kind of cheating. Some florists say to use hairspray on the underside of the petals and leaves. Obviously, this keeps them from drooping too much.
No matter which tip, trick or urban legend you use for your flowers, the best advice is simple: Change the water in the vase daily, and enjoy those fresh, cut flowers as long as you can!