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Delay: Let’s Cross Our Fingers

There will be times when it goes unnoticed, such as when the client is not at home during our maid service visit. Whew!  But there will be other times when it throws your entire schedule off and then the dreaded domino effect…where you end up re-routing your entire staff to accommodate ONE very adamant client who NEEDS her service to be performed RIGHT NOW.  She has company coming and her couch cushions have NOT been fluffed. The horror!

We all know that this is truly the end of the world…and it *is* absolutely your fault.

None of us much care for the drama queen customer, but we all have them…they are really the ones that make use who we are…they make us strive for that perfection, and about the only time that they might understand a delay is if the whole city has shut down around them.  For example, I’m down in Texas and nearly every winter we get ONE freeze. It’ll get bad enough that everything closes down and we have to cancel or reschedule our morning clients…most people (except drama queen) will be understanding!

Here are a few tips that you should implement when you are scheduling:

  • Never-ever-ever schedule exact arrival times. Schedule based on a “window” of time.
  • Always plan for make-ready cleanings to exceed your estimated time.
    • You could be walking into a make-ready that looks like a landfill that will either send you running or have you re-arranging your entire schedule to be able to stay on track with your regular clients.
  • Schedule your drama queens for first-thing in the morning.  The 8-9AM slot is the easiest to “guarantee”.  
  • Schedule recurring basic cleanings first, and service all the make-readies last, as these types of cleanings are usually vacant homes. 

Remember…it’s your voice that’ll ensure clients that an arrival window is just that…a window.  While we all want to accommodate our clients and meet and exceed their expectations, we do our best to make it absolutely clear that based on the nature of the business we just can’t guarantee an exact arrival time.

We still get people that will insist that they made an appointment for 11:30 am on-the-dot.  And now it’s 11:45am and we are not there and no one has called, and the world is about to fall apart…My line:

“I do apologize. There must have been a misunderstanding as all of our arrival times are scheduled based on a window of time.  It looks like you were scheduled for a late morning to early afternoon arrival – which is anytime between 11am and 2pm.” .

..or something to that effect…I then quickly glance at the team, the route, and let her know that it looks like the team is about to wrap-up their job and should be heading in her directing within the next 45 minutes. I try to empathize and educate.  But i’ll be honest, there ARE days when all I really want to say is:

“Hey! Lady! Listen. Calm down. Why are you LYING?…We’ve never scheduled appointments like that!” 

But I also recall a time when I was a newbie to the business.  The panic in the voice on the other end of the line would send me into a panic as well….My response was not nearly as calm.  It was more like:

“Ohhhhh, hmmm. Let me check on that for you.  Oh dear, Hmmmmpfff.” 

…and then a long pause I as went searching for information (nobody likes a long pause!)

So long story short, we do our best to keep our expected delays to a minimum, but we all know that forces of nature, accidents, acts of god, and mistakes will cause problems here and there.  Life goes on and we need to try harder to anticipate the unexpected.  In the end, I always like to remind myself that we are not brain surgeons, even though we are sometimes called lifesavers.