Management / Web Exclusive Features

Ask Steve: What’s the Best Way to Deal with Flirtatious Clients?

When you become intimate with an unknown customer, you open a whole can of worms.

July 11, 2013

FlirtSteve,

I’ve got a bit of a weird question and trust me, no matter what you may think, this isn’t one of those wild erotic Penthouse fantasies. I’m a 30-year-old male and over the years women (including my lovely wife) have told me I’m good looking. OK, whatever!

However, occasionally I do find my female customers becoming uncomfortably frank in chatting with me. They bring up topics like their marital problems or love life (or lack of it!) or their fading attractiveness, etc. No one has outright propositioned me yet (at least that I’m aware of!) but what did you do, Steve, to keep the relationship “professional?”

-Concerned in Philadelphia

 

Wow, Concerned, oh to be 30 and “good looking” again! (Of course, my SFS co-instructor Billy Yeadon will tell you I never had that problem!) And yes, you are correct to be worried and not just for moral reasons of fidelity to your spouse.

When you become intimate with an unknown customer, you open a whole can of worms including the old “I was assaulted in my home by a carpet cleaner” accusation. After all, a customer who is willing to have casual sex with a service technician probably is not the most stable person mentally or emotionally!

On the other hand a key concept we teach in SFS is that “80% of how a customer decides if you did a good job or a bad job is based on the relationship they have with the person actually doing the work.” So you are sort of, as my mother used to say, “between the Devil and the deep blue sea!”

Here is your challenge, Concerned! You want to develop a professional relationship and yet if the customer takes it to an inappropriate level then you risk offending them and creating a negative cheerleader. (And trust me - in this online age of social media you do not want a keyboard happy customer mad at you!) So a few suggestions on your challenge of “overly intimate” clients…

1. Hire an assistant:Many of our SFS members find they more than pay for the cost of a helper with the extra efficiency two people bring. Even better, you’ll make more up-sells because while your tech is cleaning you can be explaining your additional services to your clients. And you’ll have a witness in the event of a false accusation against you!

2. Keep control of the conversation:After introducing yourself, ask for a tour and then say, “As we go could you please show me any areas of special concern?”Then keep the discussion focused on the actual cleaning.

NOTE: For a step-by-step “pre-cleaning inspection” outline just write me at stoburen@StrategiesForSuccess.com and put the word “pre-inspection” in the subject line.

3. Pre-orient the customer that you are already “taken”:I really like this one! Feature your family in your “About Us” section on your website. Include a family photo on your home page. And yes, why not have a family photo on the business card you hand the client as you introduce yourself? (The extra benefit here is that all your clients will be reassured and/or charmed since you are a “family man!”) And finally, if all else fails…

4. Take your wife to work with you!Actually, I’m only half kidding here, Concerned. If (and it is a big “if”) you can keep from killing each other, spouses working together can be a great team. And a husband and wife team obviously creates a warm and safe feeling for a solo female home owner concerned for her personal safety alone in the house with a strange tech. (Even though this apparently is not your problem!)

Best wishes,

Steve 


Steve and ICS want to consult for you! For a personal reply write Steve HERE with your questions, problems, struggles and challenges! Your help is on the way!A new “Ask Steve” will debut each Thursday in the weekly ICS eNewsletter. Register to receive it here.

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Sometimes it is just a misreading

Peter Hewel
July 11, 2013
I run into this problem from time to time. Other times it is just lonely people who need to chat and I understand that I may be visiting you chat as much as to clean. Always stay on topic of the work. Never get into anything like politics, relationships, etc. The only off topic chat I engage in is about the weather. I don't even like to talk sports.

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