It happened again. Yesterday, to be exact. We were scheduled to clean for a long-time customer. Usually her mother-in-law is there to let us in, but yesterday it was her mother. We’ve cleaned for her before. “Hello,” she said sweetly, “and look at you! Your shirts match and everything.”
Insert the sound of screeching tires, here. We’ve heard this before. This time it was said with the same tone one might reserve for a set of two-year old twins in sailor outfits. Hearing this line or something similar is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
Since we started this company out of our home over four years ago, we have strived to look and act like a professional company. Granted, in the beginning it was low-budget, but now we have uniforms and very professional detailing on our vehicle. We use state of the art cleaning supplies and strive, in our marketing and communications and in every other way, to present a corporate attitude. Statements like this diminish us, in my mind, to a couple (nevermind the employee) who cleans homes for a little pocket cash. And so, I fumed for the rest of the day.
As I relaxed last evening, though, I had a little chat with myself. One of our strongest selling points, I think, is our personable, approachable nature. In our dealings with our customers, we make a sincere effort to NOT be so corporate. We want our customers to feel that they are part of our family, not just a set of account numbers. We swap stories about our children, our pets. We try very hard to make our customers feel as if the cleaning is not just business, but personal.
It seems I need to decide what I want us to be. Are we a corporate entity, like Merry Maids or some of the other big cleaning services, or are we Freedom Cleaning Services, a family owned business that cares about our customers and their families? I guess we are the latter. Aren’t we cute?
Do you know who you are?