Friends often ask me: “What is the toughest thing about being a professional carpet cleaner?” My answer usually surprises them. It is not dealing with nasty stains or heavily smothered floor coverings; it is not trying to save a flooded carpet, covered all over in mould. The toughest thing is to deal with customers who have unrealistic expectations.
They come in two forms – people expect us to roll back the clock entirely and present them with a brand new carpet, or they expect to pay close to nothing and get top-notch performance for it. Either way, you are faced with an unpleasant conversation and even less satisfying professional experience.
So what can you do about it? It depends on my mood – if I am my usual sceptical self, I would say you cannot do much. Just take a deep breath and delve deep into your reservoir of patience. If I am in a good mood, however, here is my tactics to avoid potential problems.
Always start with the price first. Make sure people understand what they are about to pay, and what they will get in return. Once you discuss the numbers, you take away much of the sting of the conversation.
Also, do not promise things you know are beyond your cleaning reach. Give your customers honest and realistic opinion on the condition of their carpets and what you can do about it – 90% of the people will appreciate the candour.