Customer Service in the Service Industry Stinks!

by January 16, 2009 • 5 comments

We all need them. Plumbers, painters, carpenters and housecleaners. A home needs constant attention and most homeowners don’t have the time or skills necessary to complete every project. So we hire someone else to do it for us.

The biggest complaint that people have with these types of businesses concerns customer service. They don’t return phone calls. They’re late for appointments. They don’t correct mistakes. And some of them decide to not even show up at all. How can an industry that is entirely dependent on customer satisfaction be so bad at it?

Because there’s a lot of great carpenters out there – but not a lot of great managers. A domestic service business is born everyday. John loves to fix things. He’s so good at it that his neighbor hires him to do some side work. He repairs his dishwasher, unclogs his sink, and even paints his office. John’s neighbor is thrilled with the work. He’s so thrilled that he tells everyone at work. Of course, everyone at work has had terrible experiences with previous handymen – so they all call John for help. He agrees and the tree starts growing pretty quickly. This is where it happens.

John can’t keep up with the work. But the money’s good and he doesn’t want to turn it down. So he hires a friend and starts delegating responsibilities. The friend does a decent job but the work keeps pouring in. Finally, John has so much responsibility that he can no
longer spend a day in the field working. Instead, he spends his day estimating jobs, purchasing supplies, coordinating work schedules, answering phone calls, paying bills, hiring employees, resolving problems, and supervising everything. He’s now become a full-fledged manager.

Is John ready to become a manager? Does he have the skills necessary to create customer satisfaction? Maybe, but only time will tell.

This happens everyday. People are fed up with their current service provider and they want something better. It’s a crazy cycle. These great tradesmen have to become great managers overnight. The vast majority can’t handle the responsibilities and that’s why most people complain about their domestic service provider.

So what steps can you take in order to avoid this problem?

  1. Don’t trust your neighbor. That sounds silly, right? You’ve relied on your neighbor for restaurant recommendations, fishing holes and driving directions in the past. But finding a good fishing hole is a lot easier than finding a good maid service.
  2. Hire a landscaper like you’re hiring an attorney. Just because he weeds your flower bed doesn’t mean he can’t be a professional. Expect professionalism and great customer service. And nothing less.
  3. Only hire a domestic service provider that answers your phone call. Answering your phone call may sound trivial – but it’s a symbol of bad things to come if your call goes unanswered. How many times does your doctor’s office phone go straight to voicemail? And if he’s hard to reach when you’re trying to give him your money – just imagine how hard he’ll be to reach once he actually gets your money.
  4. Ask this one question: How can you guarantee me that you will meet my expectations? It’s a simple question for a professional domestic service company. But it’s a very difficult question for an unorganized or poorly managed company. Ask this question and you’ll be amazed at the answers. Most will just promise to be better. Many will promise to perform all the work themselves. And some will not have a clue. Try it. It’s worth a good laugh if nothing else.
  5. Never hire a domestic service provider that is a single person operation. What happens when she gets sick? What happens if she gets too close to your family? What happens if she starts making a bunch of mistakes? What happens if she moves out of town unexpectedly? You wouldn’t hire a dentist if he worked out of his back bedroom. So why is it ok to hire a plumber that works from his truck?

Of course, there’s plenty of other simple things to look for when hiring your next domestic service provider. He needs to be licensed, bonded and insured. He needs to provide workers’ compensation for his employees. He needs to provide you with past customer references.

And his company must be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. There’s a new pool cleaning or house cleaning company opening up right now. Be careful. Finding that bad apple isn’t quite as difficult as you might think.

About Ron Holt.
Holt operates Two Maids & A Mop, a residential cleaning company serving the entire gulf coast from Panama City to Pensacola. Two Maids & A Mop cleans more than 250 homes per week and employs more than 50 professional cleaners. Two Maids & A Mop is the only maid service in the country that employs a pay for performance compensation program. Basically, their employees get paid based on a customers’ satisfaction level. The happier the customers are; the more the employees are able to earn with the company. And it’s for this reason they call themselves, “The Most Customer Friendly Housecleaning Company In The World!”

Contact: Ron Holt
Two Maids & A Mop
(850) 769-6646

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1 Sherry L January 17, 2009 at 12:35 am

We did some ‘major’ renovations to our condo at Dunes of Panama last fall ’07’. We used Classic Carpet on Thomas Drive to totally retile the whole place including balcony (appx.1100 sq.ft.) and received excellent service and quality work. We also refaced all the cabinets, replaced the countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms and had a new cabinet built for the master bath; Kitchen Tune-up did this work and they were awesome! The work was done correct and with great quality; we live full-time just outside Atlanta and all this work was done while we were home. Both companies did wonderful work with great customer service. I would definitely use them again. Just my two/three cents!


2 Jason Koertge January 17, 2009 at 7:20 am

That’s great Sherry – love to hear success stories.

Ron, this is a great article, very informative and well written – thanks for sharing!


3 Mr Condo January 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

Nice advertisement Ron . . . I have had a couple from Brazil clean my house and have NEVER missed a week and are very good. I have also had large companies screw up big time. On the other hand, a good worker seems to be a rare find . .even in this difficult buisness climate.


4 Sherry L January 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

I will also add that I have two WONDERFUL local Panama City ladies who clean my condo (and do a GREAT JOB) and help me so much when there is any ’emergency’ from my guests (and those of you who have rental units know what I mean). I have to admit they have saved my *** from driving to PCB in the middle of the night to handle problems. I’m going to be selfish here and withhold their names and company, they are mine! I know I’m very lucky and wake up grateful each day for all this AMAZING service and our ability to own and enjoy a small piece of the ‘The Worlds Most Beautiful Beach’! We’ll certainly be LOCALS one day!


5 Boston Richie January 20, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Nice article. Glad that there have been some satisfied customers. My brother-in-law and I own Able Lawn Service and we hear it every day…my guy stopped showing up; I called 5 people and you’re the only ones that showed up; somebody was supposed to come yesterday;etc.. Frustrating for the consumer, but the work will eventually trickle down to the dependable, hard workers.